Monday, January 20, 2014

'Cleantech Crash': CBS Lesley Stahl 'exhausted' after listing nine Obama-backed green energy failures, try 32 and counting


Two weeks ago (January 5, 2014), CBS aired "The Cleantech Crash," covering the fact that "despite billions invested by the U.S. government in so-called 'cleantech' energy, Washington and Silicon Valley have little to show for it."

Lesley Stahl opened with this...
About a decade ago, the smart people who funded the Internet turned their attention to the energy sector, rallying tech engineers to invent ways to get us off fossil fuels, devise powerful solar panels, clean cars, and futuristic batteries. The idea got a catchy name: “Cleantech.”
Silicon Valley got Washington excited about it. President Bush was an early supporter, but the federal purse strings truly loosened under President Obama. Hoping to create innovation and jobs, he committed north of a $100 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks to Cleantech. But instead of breakthroughs, the sector suffered a string of expensive tax-funded flops. Suddenly Cleantech was a dirty word.
Well, at least CBS got the $150 billion of taxpayer money that the Obama administration is spending on cleantech right. However, they didn't even scratch the surface on the massive amount of green energy failures, of which I'll be tackling in this post. These include the most current stats on the projects and companies that were awarded tens-of-billions of taxpayer money (both stimulus and other clean-energy funds), but also the green jobs debacle and the "green energy outsourcing."

For an added bonus, I'll briefly set the record straight on Vinod Khosla, also featured in the CBS piece, who is labeled as "one of the most influential venture capitalists in Silicon Valley."

Midway through the segment in an exchange with Steven Koonin (former Undersecretary of the Department of Energy that was involved in many of the loans), Stahl, reminded, "Well, Solyndra went through over half a billion dollars before it failed. Then I'm gonna give you a list of other failures: Abound Energy, Beacon Power, Fisker, V.P.G., Range Fuels, Ener1, A123. ECOtality. I'm exhausted."

I wonder how fatigued Ms. Stahl would have been had she read the entire Obama-backed green energy list of just the ones that have gone bust –– an area that Marita Noon (Townhall.com energy columnist) and I have been compiling since October 2012, which included a May 2013 update. At that time we had tracked 25 that had gone under, with an equal amount troubled, the majority having financial woes, and ironically, numerous with environmental issues –– which marked a grand total of 50. These included project/companies that secured "green" loans, grants, and/or special tax breaks. Even after we excluded the three troubled "nuclear deals" that were approved by President Obama ($11.6 billion), our new tally is up to 59 and counting (updated February 1, 2014).

Keep in mind that although I've been tracking the clean-energy deals (green, clean, renewable, alternative, etc.) since 2010, I'm only one concerned citizen; so I'm confident that with a team of researchers, the figures I'm about to present would be much higher.

Today I'm unleashing my new research, which reflects the fact that 32 Obama-backed green energy companies have gone under, costing taxpayers over $3 billion. Meanwhile, I have compiled what I call the "Obama-backed Green Energy Troubled Watch List," which will be presented in three categories, starting with the five bailouts (half by taxpayers and half by foreign-owned entities), of which American taxpayers have already spent $7.5 billion. Furthermore, other than the bailouts that we've been tracking, there are 22 green energy companies/projects, which includes three on the brink and 19 that have been problematic for some time, placing that figure at over $6.7 billion. In full disclosure, there are predictions (both personally and otherwise) that a very small percentage profiled in this report may survive –– although most wouldn't have if not for taxpayer support. However in the coming months, we'll be adding to these lists "green" deals that still need to be flushed out. Nonetheless, our "troubled watch list" means that currently and approximately (yet conservatively) $14.2 billion of taxpayer money is still at risk.


THE LIST 
Obama-Backed Green Energy Failures
 
NOTE: Bust as February 2014 includes bankrupt, shut down and sold, placing the taxpayer money lost thus far over $3 billion.

  1. Solyndra: $570.4 million 
  2. Beacon Power: $67.4 million  
  3. Abound Solar: $494.3 million 
  4. Vehicle Production Group (VPG): $50 million 
  5. Fisker Automotive: $160 million 
  6. A123 Systems: $390.1 million 
  7. Amonix: $29.6 million 
  8. Azure Dynamics: $119.1 million 
  9. Babcock & Brown: $178 million 
  10. Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: $400,000 
  11. Cephas Industries: 500,000
  12. ECOtality Inc.: $135 million 
  13. EnerDel, subsidiary of Ener1: $182.8 million 
  14. Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD): $110.3 million 
  15. Evergreen Solar, Inc.: $84.9 million 
  16. Flagbeg Solar U.S.: $20.2 million 
  17. GreenVolts: $500,000 
  18. Konarka Technologies Inc: $55.7 million 
  19. MiaSolé: $101.8 million 
  20. Mountain Plaza, Inc.: $400,000 
  21. Nordic WindPower: $8.6 million 
  22. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company: $10.8 million 
  23. Range Fuels: $162.3 million  
  24. Raser Technologies: $33 million 
  25. ReVolt Technology: $10 million 
  26. Satcon Technology Corporation: $17 million 
  27. SpectraWatt: $20.5 million 
  28. Stirling Energy Systems: $17.4 million 
  29. Suntech, subsidiary of Suntech Power: $2.1 million 
  30. Thompson River Power LLC: $6.5 million 
  31. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group: $12.7 million 
  32. ADDED February 1, 2014 –– Xtreme Power: at least $600,000 in stimulus grants. Plus tied to two major projects that also received hundreds of millions in stimulus grants and loans. 

THE RESEARCH 

Due to the fact that this  report is focussed on the money, I'll only provide a snippet into each of the green energy deals. The funds awarded by the Obama administration are marked in red, and I have attempted to separate stimulus vs. non-stimulus funds. Also, the Heritage Foundation's Green Graveyard (November 2012) gives an in-depth look at the government's "bad bets" on 20 now-bankrupt companies, of which I'll be using those figures at the end where applicable.

Since the Heritage Foundation calculates the loans, grants and special tax breaks that were doled out by President Obama, as well as the small amount of funds that were awarded under the Bush administration, I'll use that same formula in order to give an accurate figure on the amount of money that American taxpayers have lost with just the 31 green energy companies that have gone under. However, in the cases of the Energy Department loans, I've factored in the amount of funds that were drawn versus the amount of taxpayer money that was awarded. 

Later I'll be diving further into the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program; so I've kept them in the beginning of each list. Due to the pervasive cronyism and corruption inside the clean-energy deal making, I've marked those with an asterisk, but I'll briefly underscore, within the DOE loans, the meaningful political connections. However, this area is well documented throughout our work that we've been chronicling since the summer of 2010 –– picking up the pace in April 2012.

Lastly, considering its relevance to the CBS segment as well as its impact to the president's promise and our economy, I'll be highlighting the "green energy outsourcing."

Obama's Green Energy Failure & "Troubled Watch List" Stats Summary
  • Bust as January 2014, which includes bankrupt, shut down and sold = 32, with at least $3 billion of taxpayer money lost 
  • Bailouts (taxpayer-funded and otherwise) as of January 2014 = five, which have cost the American taxpayers over $7.5 billion. As stated in my intro, half were bailed out by taxpayers and the remaining by foreign-owned entities, yet two were stimulus deals, which is a clear violation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
  • As stated, our "troubled watch list" that we've been tracking since December 2012, is currently at 22, which means that approximately $6.4 billion in green energy funds are still at risk. However, I've separated them into two categories: "on the brink" (three) and "problematic," of which at least two are predicted to make it. But here are some key notes to keep in mind when considering these calculations: 
  1. While the $6.4 billion figure includes First Solar, it does not take into account the $3 billion that they bagged for three large stimulus loans, of which they sold (yet are still involved) to larger companies. However, we are keeping tabs on those three projects.
  2. This does take into account the $1.4 billion in green energy funds that Nissan received from the ATVM loan program for their all-electric LEAF vehicles as well as the green energy stimulus funds that General Motors received for their Chevy Volt. 
  3. We've excluded from this green energy report, President Obama's three "nuclear deals" (currently costing taxpayers $11.6 billion and counting) that have been having financial and other issues. The AREVA and Southern Company 1703 loans (labeled as clean energy by the DOE) and their political connections, White House Pressure, and more dirt can be found in my July 2013 Green Corruption File: "Nuclear Disaster: $10.33 billion in energy loans pressured by the White House and POTUS approved, now at risk." Details on CH2M Hill can be found in my June 2013 "Nuclear Crimes and Misdemeanors" story, which highlights not only the cronyism, but the fact that about two years after they secured the $1.3 billion in stimulus funds, CH2M Hill announced it would lay off more than 1,300 workers when funding for the cleanup dried up (1600 total at the Hanford site) and they, and this environmental mess, has been consistently hemorrhaging jobs ever since. Also, in June 2013, CBS News reported that this costly project is plagued with problems, "delays and billions over budget."
  4. Last but not least, not in our stats, but detailed in this report, are some of the stimulus-created and/or funded programs that also flopped, costing taxpayer billions of dollars. One example is the $5 billion Home Weatherization Program, which ended up complete with waste, fraud and abuse. 

Bust as January 2014, which includes bankrupt, shut down and sold: $3B

  1. Solyndra*: In September 2009, Solyndra received $535 million 1705 DOE stimulus loan despite its "junk rating," as well as $25.1 million in California tax credit. At some point before 2011, Solyndra indirectly bagged another loan, but this time from the Export-Import Bank, which was obtained by a third-party company to the tune of $10.3 million. According to The Center for Public Integrity, "That money financed a project that put Solyndra solar panels on the roof of the Delhaize supermarket chain’s distribution center, outside of Brussels." Bankrupt: September 2011 –– and Solyndra "required a big hazardous waste cleanup after it went bankrupt and abandoned its property." Solyndra, once the poster child for the president's clean-energy success now has its place in history: an art exhibit at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, at the price tag of half a billion taxpayer dollars. Taxpayer money lost: The DOE loan drawn was $528 million, recovered is $0. Furthermore, there was an October 2012 analysis by the Institute for Energy Research regarding the Solyndra damage that predicted that the loss [to taxpayers] could be as high as $849 million. In the meantime, the Heritage Foundation places the Solyndra bad bet at $570 million. Cronyism: Solyndra is tied to 2008 Obama bundler billionaire George Kaiser as well as Steve Spinner, a two-time Obama bundler and DOE insider, Goldman Sachs and others. Also, "the chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank, Fred P. Hochberg, bundled at least $100,000 for Obama."
  2. Beacon Power*: In the summer of 2012 I covered the Beacon Bust story, which leads to two additional taxpayer-funded bankruptcies: Vehicle Production Group (VPG) and Evergreen Solar, both profiled later. Before its demise in October 2011, Beacon Power snagged over $240 million stimulus funds, staring with the $43 million 1705 DOE stimulus loan (along with its dismal credit rating), which as offered in July 2009, and finalized in August 2010, to create a 20 megawatt flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York. Nonetheless, like Solyndra and others listed in this report, Beacon had the nerve to pay their executives bonuses in the midst of their fall. This was documented by ABC News,  "In March 2010, the Massachusetts energy storage company paid cash bonuses of $259,285 to three executives in part due to progress made on the $43 million energy loan” –– and the ink wasn’t even dry yet. Additionally, Beacon was awarded a $24 million Smart Grid stimulus grant in 2009 to build the Hazle plant, and Pennsylvania kicked in an additional grant of $5 million. Also, in November 2009, it was reported that Beacon was "awarded a stimulus grant to Beacon Power Corp. valued at $24 million, for use in the construction of the company’s second 20 MW flywheel energy storage plant, to be located in Chicago, Illinois." And, "separately, the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy approved $2.2 million for Beacon research, reported the Washington Post in 2011. While the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) was created in 2007 under the Bush administration, the funding was increased under the Obama administration. Beacon went bankrupt in October 2011; however, Forbes, in May of 2013, reported, "Beacon found help in Rockland Capital. Rockland, a private equity firm, bought the flywheel developer last year [March 2012] and agreed to pay back $30.5 million, or about 70% of the federal loan Beacon had drawn." So, it seems that the taxpayer-funded energy storage project –– now Stephentown Spindle (Beacon Power) –– is still active, and so far we've only lost about $13 million, but that was just the DOE loan. "Beacon expects to complete the Hazle project and bring it online in the second quarter of 2014. The project will cost just over $50 million, which will come from Rockland as well as two grants from the federal government and Pennsylvania," noted Forbes as well. Taxpayer money lost: With all these loans and grants for various projects that flowed toward Beacon Power, and its subsequent bailout, its hard to say how much money the taxpayer lost; yet the Heritage Foundation, with a few different numbers than my report, places the Beacon bad bet at $77 million. Cronyism: Beacon Power is tied to Obama bundler and VP Hunter, the infamous Washington fixture, James A. Johnson (also a Goldman Sachs board member that supported Obama in 2008 and 2012). Mr. Johnson's former firm, Perseus, is where he served as the Vice Chairman from April 2001 to June 2012 –– with Perseus officers also Obama donors.
  3. Abound Solar*: Abound, formerly known as AVA Solar, won part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration ($27 million in DOE funding for the Photovoltaic Module Incubator projects), as well as $3 million from the SunShot Initiative. On January 7, 2010, Abound Solar Manufacturing, LLC was awarded $12.6 million from the Advanced Energy Project Credit (Section 48C Tax Credits), which was enacted by the 2009-Recovery Act, providing $2.3 billion in tax credits that were allocated to "clean-energy manufacturing projects that would create jobs and products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."  Still, in December 2010, despite its "highly speculative" credit rating, Abound was granted a $400 million 1705 DOE stimulus loan. Additionally, Abound was awarded a $9.2 million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011. Worse, "before announcing bankruptcy in June 2012, Abound was promised an additional $374.6 million from the Obama administration," documented the Heritage Foundation –– leaving in its wake a criminal investigation, and "a huge toxic mess from unused panels and abandoned chemicals at Abound’s former facilities," of which the clean up is expected to cost $3.7 million. Taxpayer money lost: The DOE loan drawn, as of January 2014, is at $68 million, and the recovered amount is listed as "pending." The Heritage Foundation places the Abound bad bet at total at $790.3 million. Cronyism: Abound Solar is tied to Democratic politicians (some key) at the federal level and the state level in Colorado. Pat Stryke was an investor in Abound, and was also an Obama bundler in 2008; a donor to his 2009 inauguration as well as the 2012 Obama Victory Fund. In the mix, Invus Public Equities Advisors LLC, tied to Republicans, also backed Abound Solar. 
  4. Vehicle Production Group (VPG)*: In the summer of 2012, I covered VPG's March 2011 $50 million DOE ATVM loan, due to the fact that this green car was (is) part of Perseus Energy & Technologies Portfolio. In May 2013, it was reported, "Obama-backed natural-gas van company shuts down" –– and I'm assuming that was at the location where the vehicle was be produced (the Mishawaka, Indiana AM General Plant). Taxpayer money lost: In August 2013, the Energy Department placed VPG's bad loan up for auction, yet who knows how that went. Currently the DOE loan drawn was $50 million and the amount recovered is pending. Cronyism: Listed under Beacon Power. 
  5. Fisker Automotive*: We covered the April 24, 2013 Congressional Hearing on the "failing" Fisker Auto and their $529 million DOE ATVM loan, which revealed that that this was another "junk loan" (awarded in April 2010) that never should have been approved (bailout). Along the way, the state of Delaware made its own investment into Fisker, as documented by the National Legal and Policy Center: "They committed $21 million in public money to the California-based company, in exchange for a promise to take over a former General Motors manufacturing plant to build its second electric car model, the Atlantic." Part of the money was for a $12.5 million loan from the state, and get this, Delaware got stuck paying the utility bills for the empty plant –– a tab that ran up to $7.4 million. Bankrupt: November 2013. The same month that Fisker flopped, the DOE sold off their $192 million loan guarantee to Chinese billionaire Richard Li for $25 million, which adds them to the long list of green energy outsourcing –– a topic I will revisit in more detail later. By the end of December 2013, a lawsuit followed, claiming, "the founders and top managers of now-bankrupt Fisker Automotive never told potential investors that the green car startup lost access to federal funds that were crucial to the company's financial strength." The money lost: The DOE loan drawn was $192 million, which as of January 2014, the amount recovered is at $53 million. However as you can see, who knows how much money Delaware taxpayers will lose on the "Fisker Flop." Cronyism: Fisker Auto was a well-know investment of Obama cronies Al Gore and billionaire John Doerr via the Venture Capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers (both Gore and Doerr were huge winners of cleantech funds from the Obama administration). Fisker backers were heavily involved in lobbying the Obama administration and Congress on green energy programs as well as the fact that Doerr shaped what went into the energy sector of the president's 2009 stimulus package.
  6. A123 Systems*: In 2009, a battery manufacturer A123, was awarded a $249.1 million stimulus grant from the $2.4 billion Electric Drive Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative –– another DOE program created by the 2009-Recovery Act. Meanwhile, the Michigan government provided A123 with another $141 million in tax credits and subsidies, bringing the total to $390.1 million in federal and state subsidies. Still with all that loot, A123 filed for bankruptcy on October 16, 2012, and in December 2012 was purchased by the Chinese firm Wanxiang Group Corp. (a large auto parts maker), which renamed the lithium-ion battery company B456 –– another case green energy outsourcingTaxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the A123 System bad bet total at $377.1 million.
  7. Amonix*: The Amonix solar manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas was subsidized by millions in federal tax credits and grants, which began under the Bush administration when they snagged a total of $15.6 million in grants. Under President Obama, Amonix, in January 2010, were winners of two of the stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits at the tune of $9.5 million. In September 2011, Amonix was awarded $4.5 million for a project in California –– from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the SunShot Initiative, of which we know that the EERE received $16.8 billion from the 2009-Recovery Act for programs and initiatives. Bankrupt: July 18, 2012
  8. Azure Dynamics*: In March 2011 Azure was awarded $5.4 million from the DOE and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits. Plus, in June of 2011, Azure Dynamics received a four-year contract from the Government Services Administration for about $112 million. Bankrupt: March 27, 2012Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places Azure's bad bet total at $119.1 million
  9. Babcock & Brown: The Australian company –– as the project owner –– in December 2009, received $178 million stimulus grant for a wind project in Texas, four months after it went bust. This came from the 1603 Grant Program, which was funded through the 2009-Recovery Act. Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009 –– also part green energy outsourcing.
  10. Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: Received $480,000 through the stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits. In January 2009, President-elect Obama's toured Cardinal Fastener and used it as a platform to push renewable energy and rush his Recovery Act –– in order "to save our planet," our economy and create jobs. Ironically, during this speech, again, we find those infamous promises: "good jobs that pay well and can't be shipped overseas." However, just two weeks after the Obama visit, Cardinal laid off 12 percent of its staff, and in June 2011, they filed for Chapter 11-bankruptcy protection. In January 2012, Germany’s Wurth Group acquired Cardinal Fastener for just $3.9 million –– another green energy outsourcing case. Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the Cardinal bad bet total at only $480,000, whew.
  11. Cephas Industries: A Richmond company received a $500,000 stimulus grant to build a recycling plant that was touted as a jobs creator. The stimulus funds were initially given to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, and that agency awarded the grant to Cephas Industries. According to the Washington Free Beacon, "When ground was broken in April 2010, Mayor Dwight Jones, Rep. Bobby Scott (D., Va.), and City Council members Reva Trammell and Kathy Graziano posed with hard hats and gold shovels." Needless to say, NBC 12 reported in May 2013, three years later there was "no business and no jobs." In fact, NBC 12 only found "a padlock, a 'for sale' sign, and an empty lot." There was no building and no comment from Richmond Virginia government officials –– all the way from the City Hall, to the mayor, to the city council members. 
  12. ECOtality Inc.*: According to the Washington Times, "Ecotality received $135 million in total funding from the federal government over the past eight years, including $35 million for two projects that were approved in 2005 and 2011 [awarded by the DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program for a total of $35 million], and a $100 million grant from the Obama administration’s 2009-Recovery Act. The San Francisco-based green energy company declared bankruptcy in September 2013. A month later, the Inspector General released a report admonishing: "Energy Department officials kept quiet about their knowledge that a government-backed electric car charger company was sliding toward bankruptcy and putting taxpayer money at risk," documented the Times and the Washington Free Beacon.
  13. Ener1 (EnerDel, subsidiary): In 2009, the DOE approved a $118.5 million stimulus grant for lithium-ion battery production in Indianapolis  –– which it's parent company, EnerDel, had also received more than $4 million in federal grants under the Bush administration. The larger grant was part of a $2.4 billion stimulus effort to jump-start the electric car industry. This came from the same program (estimated at $5 billion in taxpayer funds that Obama put into the electric-car industry), which gave money to bankrupt companies like A123 and others along the way that have gone under or were having issues. Two and a half years later, on January 26, 2012, Ener1 went bankrupt. Along the way (in 2011), the Chinese firm Wanxiang Group Corp., signed a joint venture agreement with Ener1 to make lithium-ion battery cells and packs for vehicles in China. After the 2012 bankruptcy, Ener1 was sold to a Russian tycoon, which again adds to our list of green energy outsourcingTaxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the Ener1 (EnerDel, subsidiary) bad bet total at $182.8 million.
  14. Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD)/Uni-Solar: Uni-Solar was a maker of thin-film solar products for commercial rooftops. Energy Conversion Devices, the parent company of Uni-Solar, was a solar-laminate supplier. Both represented "hope for the future" of Greenville, Michigan. While ECD, in January of 2010, snagged $13.3 million in federal tax credits from the stimulus created Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit. According to the Heritage Foundation, Energy Conversion was also given $97 million in state and local incentives and credits.  However, in November 2011 500 hundred employees from that firm were laid off, and by February 2012, both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protectionTaxpayer money lost: Heritage Foundation places the ECD bad bet total at $110.3 million.
  15. Evergreen Solar, Inc.*: This was one of President Obama's pet projects that received stimulus funds, grants, tax credits, low-interest loans and subsidies, yet the transactions are a little trick to track. What we do know is that in 2008, Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick made a speech to congratulate the expansion of Evergreen Solar in his state –– which they had collected a "$58 million financial aid package from the Patrick-Murray administration to support Evergreen’s $450 million factory."  In April 2009, the White House announced Evergreen as a “green jobs creator," claiming that the Recovery Act was working. It had been reported many times that Evergreen was a beneficiary of federal "stimulus funds,” as dug up by David Mastio at the Washington Times. The problem with tracking just how much stimulus funds Evergreen Solar (Massachusetts) bagged is that at the time their bankruptcy was publicized in August of 2011, the data went missing from federal records. However, according to USASpending.gov, Evergreen Solar, in June 2009, received a $25 million loan from the taxpayer-subsidized Export-Import Bank. Evergreen was also awarded two $650,000 grants from the Department of Commerce: National Institute of Standards and Technology. With all that cash, Evergreen went bankrupt on August 15, 2011. Adding to the insult were reports of 800 USA job losses, while moving their "green jobs" and entire company to China –– another case of green energy outsourcing. Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places Evergreen Solar's bad bet total at $84.9 million.
  16. Flagbeg Solar U.S.: In April 2013, the Washington Free Beacon divulged an interesting solar story: "The American subsidiary of a German mirror manufacturer, Flagbeg Solar produces mirrors for “concentrating solar power projects” and “other solar technologies,” according to its website. It lists two ongoing solar projects, one in California and one in Nevada, as its customers." In August and September of 2011, both projects won large DOE loans from the stimulus-created 1705 Loan Guarantee ProgramNextEra Energy Resources, LLC (Genesis Solar) for an $852 million partial loan guarantee and SolarReserve, LLC (Crescent Dunes) for $737 million. Flagbeg was awarded nearly $20 million in state and federal tax breaks and grants, of which $10.2 million came from stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits. On or around April 3, 2013, Flagbeg filed for bankruptcy, and there is a possibility that this move will have a negative impact (as is the case of A123 and Fisker) on the two solar projects listed here, of which both project spokespersons deny. We'll see about that. 
  17. GreenVolts: In March 2009, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) –– the federally funded lab of which in 2009, got $300 million in stimulus funds –– partnered with GreenVolts to commercialize the Inverted Metamorphic (IMM) advanced multi-junction solar cell design, which was awarded $500,000 through the DOE's Technology Commercialization and Deployment Fund. Sometime in September 2012, news broke that GreenVolts, "the California startup that makes concentrating photovoltaic systems," shut down
  18. Konarka Technologies Inc*: Konarka, the thin- film solar panel manufacturer, is tied to Good Energies where we find another DOE insider, the Under Secretary of Energy (Acting) David Sandalow. By 2009, it was reported that Konarka secured "$20 million in government agency research grants from the U.S. and Europe," of which I think $10 million came from here in the U.S. However, some reported that they were "allotted some $24 million in loans from the Massachusetts renewable energy trust fund." It turns out that they were awarded $1.5 million grant during Mitt Romney's time as Governor of Massachusetts, of which apparently there is a lot of discrepancy not just over the amount but the timing of that loan decision. Nevertheless, sometime in 2003 Konarka got special attention from Governor Romney. And there is no disputing the fact that Konarka had quite a bit of activity under the Bush administration: in 2004 was selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to receive a contract in excess of $6 million; in 2005 they got $1.6 million US Army contract; and in 2007 $3.6 million from the DOE (via the Solar America Initiative (SAI). Meanwhile in January 2010, they were allotted $4 million in tax credits through the stimulus-enacted Section 48C, and in February 2009, they secured $5 million loan for "manufacturing and job creation" from the state of Massachusetts. Bankrupt: June 1, 2012Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places Konarka Technologies bad bet total at $13.6 million (Heritage’s calculations), $20 million according to Konarka’s website, however, I see much more here. 
  19. MiaSolé*: In January 2010, MiaSolé was the recipient of two large stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits at the tune of $101.8 million. In October 2012, the "struggling" and "desperate" MiaSole was sold to China's Hanergy Holding Group for $30 million, which is considered to be dirt cheap. Not only does this mean that if MiaSolé becomes profitable, it will be at the expense of taxpayers, but worse, in March of 2013, Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) approved a loan to an Indian developer who wants to buy solar panels from MiaSolé, recorded the Washington Free Beacon. This is contrary to more of President Obama's green energy promises, pledging to compete with the Chinese for markets in green energy technology. In fact, The Beacon points out that "Hanergy’s acquisition of MiaSolé brings it into direct competition with American thin film solar panel manufacturers such as First Solar and SoloPower." Ironic, eh? Quite the green energy outsourcing case here.
  20. Mountain Plaza, Inc.: In a convoluted green corruption case, Mountain Plaza –– with its owners long track record of financial woes and alleged criminal activity –– was awarded $424,000 in a stimulus fund grant "which was approved (December 2009) by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for the construction of electrical hookups at a truck stop in Dandridge, TN" –– "so that truckers wouldn’t have to burn diesel fuel while resting.” To add insult to taxpayer injury, the TR Auto Truck Plaza in Dandridge (with Mountain as the owner) declared bankruptcy on June 3, 2010, with the stimulus money awarded 12 days later, as documented by CSP Daily News in October 2011. Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places Mountain Plaza bad bet total at $424,000, whew again.
  21. Nordic WindPower*: In July 2009, Nordic WindPower was offered a conditional commitment for $16 million from the stimulus created, section 1705 Loan Guarantee Program in order to support the expansion of its assembly plant in Pocatello, Idaho. However, that loan did not materialize, but according to Idaho state records, and other documents, in January 2010, Nordic WindPower was allotted $3 million in tax credits from the stimulus-enacted Section 48C –– only to go bankrupt in October 2012Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places Nordic WindPower's bad bet total at $24.6 million, however, in subtracting the $16 million DOE loan that would equal $8.6 million. NOTE: This and many other wind stories can be found in my January 2013 post: "Big Wind Energy Subsidies: A Hurricane of Carnage, Cronyism and Corruption." 
  22. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company: In January 2010 (after Olsen went bust a first time in January 2009), then-Democratic Senator Herb Kohl announced "stimulus funding" under the USDA's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program." It turns out that $64 million went to 9 rural businesses, of which Olsen's Mills Acquisition Co. LLC and Olsen's Crop Service LLC got "$10 million each." Another intriguing green energy demise story came out in May 200, by AGWeek, with headlines that read, "Two Wisconsin brothers who pioneered ethanol production in the state are left with outstanding debts totaling more than $100 million after their agricultural empire imploded." But it seems that the "Olsen family's" financial troubles started as early as 2009, and according to AGWeek report, "David and Paul Olsen filed separate bankruptcy protection petitions on December 16, 2010, under Chapter 11, but the cases have since been combined because of the commingling of their assets and debts." It turns out that the brothers at that time "owe [d] money to several banks, attorneys, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and their mother." Hmmm Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the Olsen Crop bad bet total at $10.8 million. 
  23. Range Fuels*: In 2007, the Colorado-based Range Fuels (formerly Kergy Inc.) was awarded a $76 million grant from the Energy Department under the Bush administration to build a cellulosic ethanol plant. Then in January 2009, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded Range Fuels a conditional commitment for an $80 million loan guarantee to assist construction of Range Fuels’ commercial cellulosic ethanol plant near Soperton, Georgia –– through the USDA Biorefinery Assistance Program. More on the biofuel mess later, but this loan was awarded despite financial and technical difficulties, and opposition inside the USDA. Also, Georgia taxpayers kicked in $6.2 million. Bankrupt: Sometime in December 2011, and in January 2012, the Range Fuels facility in Soperton, GA was sold to the New Zealand-based LanzaTech for $5.1 million. Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the Range Fuel bad bet total at $162.3 million
  24. Raser Technologies: In February 2010, Raser received a $32.99 million grant for the company's Thermo No. 1 geothermal power plant. These funds came from the Section 1603 renewable energy grant program created by the Recovery Act of 2009, and it was reported that the funds would "go to retire debt and obligations relating to the Thermo No. 1 Project." Bankrupt: May 2, 2011 / Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the Raser Tech bad bet total at $33 million
  25. ReVolt Technology: In June 2010, Revolt was awarded a $5 million grant from the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), of which even though it was a Bush administration program, the ARPA-E "remained unfunded until Obama injected $415 million into the program as part of the 2009 stimulus bill." Revolt also benefited from Business Energy Tax Credits, while Oregon chipped in with $5 million in taxpayer-backed loans. Revolt, a Portland-based company, which specialized in developing zinc-air flow battery systems, "earned its place in the Heritage Foundation's "Green Graveyard" when it declared bankruptcy on October 17, 2012. Taxpayer money lost: This was despite the fact it had been offered a whopping [at least] $10 million in funds from federal, state, and local governments," noted the Heritage Foundation in November 2012, when they also placed ReVolt's bad bet at $10 million.
  26. Satcon Technology Corporation: In September 2011, Satcon was awarded $3 million for a project in Massachusetts –– from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the SunShot Initiative (as stated, the EERE received $16.8 billion from the 2009-Recovery Act for programs and initiatives). In January 2012, Satcon also received another grant for $2.7 million, but this time from the ARPA-E, which as mentioned earlier, was funded by the stimulus package.  According the Heritage Foundation, "Satcon also received smaller federal payments for various solar initiatives at the DOE." Then October 17, 2012 they filed for bankruptcyTaxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the Satcon Tech bad bet total at $17 million.
  27. SpectraWatt*: In 2009, SpectraWatt, a closely held solar cell manufacturer backed by units of Intel Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group, was awarded a $500,000 National Renewable Energy grant along with an additional $20 million in public subsidies, which included state funding. SpectraWatt went bankrupt on August 23, 2011, but not without handing out big bonuses to "five company executives." Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the SpectraWatt bad bet total at $20.5 million. NOTE: Due to the fact that the federally funded National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in 2009, got $300 million in stimulus funds, address them later.
  28. Stirling Energy Systems: In January 2010, Stirling Energy Systems, Inc. were winners of two of the stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits at the tune over $10.4 million. However, the Energy Policy Center, in late 2011, reported that the Arizona-based Stirling Energy Systems out of Scottsdale was part of a massive project in California called the Imperial Valley Solar Project –– a project which, in 2010, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had put on a fast-track approval, and announced that it was expected to "secure approximately $638 million through the Recovery Act." Meanwhile, in October 2010, the UT San Diego reported that The Imperial Valley project relies on Stirling engines, and was "getting $273 million in federal stimulus grants in lieu of a 30 percent tax credit, and that it was "also getting federally backed loans." However, there was no DOE loan approved for this project, and most have reported that the Imperial project or Stirling directly received $7 million in federal grants. Yet I found within the 1603 stimulus grants (docket #782), that on November 8, 2012, there was a grant given to Imperial Valley Solar Company (IVSC) 1, LLC for $23.7 million. Nevertheless we can confirm that Stirling filed for bankruptcy on September 28, 2011. NOTE: Stirling was also part of another large solar project in California (the Calico Solar Project), and also that the Imperial Valley Solar (Formerly called SES Solar Two Project), was terminated on August 17, 2011. Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the Stirling Energy Systems bad bet total at $10.5 million, yet I found much more.
  29. Suntech: In early 2010, Suntech was given a $2.1 million credit from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit, which was enacted by the 2009-Recovery. Then on March 21, 2013, CNN Money reported: “China’s Suntech Power has put its largest subsidiary (Suntech) into bankruptcy.” –– and again more green energy outsourcing. Even so, in April 2013, due to the fact that Suntech –– another Goldman Sachs investment –– was the contractor to the Mesquite Solar project in Arizona, which in September 2011, was the recipient of a DOE $337 million "junk loan," I exposed much more to this green corruption case. 
  30. Thompson River Power LLC: According to 1603 Treasury Grant records (a 2009-Stimulus created program), Thompson River received $6.5 million of free taxpayer cash on June 28, 2010 for a biomass project in Montana (docket #4091). Bankrupt: July 2, 2012 / Taxpayer money lost: The Heritage Foundation places the Thompson River bad bet total at $6.5 million.
  31. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group*: According to Paul Chesser of the National Legal and Policy Center, "Reports posted at the Recovery.gov Web site, which discloses information about funds dispensed out of the 2009 Recovery Act (AKA the “stimulus”), shows a $6 million award to the Ohio Department of Development for its “Energizing Careers” project. Of that, according to a department press release from January 2011, $700, 981 grant went to Willard & Kelsey." Moreover, WK Solar Group got a handful of high-powered Democrat endorsement, which included a special visit by Vice President Joe Biden. Despite money woes since 2009, they bagged millions of dollars from Ohio taxpayers: "Willard & Kelsey is on the hook to repay more than $12 million in state loans, which it defaulted on last fall [2012], and owes millions more to suppliers. It also faces a slew of lawsuits, as documented by OurTownPerrysburg.com in May of 2013. Along the way, there were claims of corruption and misuse of taxpayer funds. And in the end, the Perrysburg solar-power company ran out of money and officially shut down on June 30, 2013 –– though it had largely stopped production in April 2013. 
  32. ADDED February 1, 2014 –– Xtreme Power: received at least $600,000 in stimulus grants. Plus they are tied to two major projects that also received stimulus grants and loans. First the Kahuku Wind Power, LLC, a project of First Wind in Kahuku Oahu, HI, was granted a $117 million DOE stimulus loan in July 2010, estimated to create a whopping 200 jobs. And then on February 3, 2012 this same project received a 1603 grant­ for over $35 million [docket #2594 –- $35,148,839]. Sadly, in August 2012 a fire that destroyed First Wind’s battery storage facility (built by Xtreme Power) and sent toxic fumes into the air, which left ratepayers in the dark over costs and safety. This was one of the wind projects featured in my Big Wind story in January 2013. Also, Xtreme Power built the energy storage system for Duke Energy's Notrees wind energy farm in Texas –– a project which, in late 2009, Duke snagged a $22 million DOE grant from the 2009-Recovery Act. Duke Energy, another big winner of stimulus funds, in June 8, 2010, Notrees Windpower LP also received a 1603 grant worth over $90 million for “wind in Texas” [docket #7812 –– $90,354,625]. January 23, 2014: "After ambitious plans, Xtreme Power runs out of cash, files for bankruptcy," reported Gigaom.com as well as Hawaii Free Press: "Company Behind Kahuka Windfarm Fire Files for Bankruptcy." 
Now, I'm exhausted; and I'm just getting started...

Obama-backed Green Energy Troubled Watch List

Bailouts (taxpayer-funded and otherwise) as of January 2014: Five @ over $7.5B
  1. NRG Energy, Inc. / BrightSource (Ivanpah project)*: Despite the low credit rating, in April 2011, the Energy Department awarded a $1.6 billion partial loan guarantee from the 1705 stimulus created program to BrightSource Energy and its partners –– NRG Energy and Google — to build the Ivanpah Solar Project in the Mojave Desert. By the way, to be clear, sometime in October 2010, during the time of their DOE loan review process, “NRG became the lead investor ($300m) in Ivanpah solar project of the 392 MW Ivanpah project. Meanwhile, on April 11, 2011, the day that the DOE had finalized BrightSource's DOE loan, Google announced its largest investment in renewable energy to date: $168 million into the Ivanpah project. Cronyism: Marita Noon and I have exposed BrightSource's shady $1.6 billion DOE deal several times, including its ties to a slew of President Obama cronies as well as ties to Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Harry Reid, of which I revisited in my latest Green Corruption File on the Majority Leader. This story comprises of big donors, political cronies and connections such as BrightSource, VantagePoint, Google, NRG Energy, PG&E, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, George Soros, the former Commerce Secretary John Bryson, McBee Strategic Consulting, and others –– with DOE officials, Obama’s Green Team, and several in Congress from the Democrat side involved. Adding to the corruption, this billion-dollar DOE deal was a bailout, which is a clear violation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As Peter Schweizer puts it in Throw Them All Out, describing the financial issues they were having: "BrightSource badly needed this infusion of taxpayer cash" –– a fact that we elaborated on many times. Troubles continued: Still, BrightSource has been plagued with financial issues despite securing taxpayer funds (with "rumors" that they also bagged a huge loan from the taxpayer-subsidized Export-Import Bank) –– even into 2010 and 2011. With BrightSource's plans for an initial public offering cancelled in 2012 (it seems now pending), citing adverse market conditions, and CEO John Woolard leaving the company in June 2013, and having to shelve projects due to permitting issues, it's unclear how bright their future is. Nevertheless, the Ivanpah project has been dealing with environmental problems, including putting endangered desert tortoises at risk of being murdered. And, BrightSource's "green executions" of animals are far from over. In November 2013, USA Today reported that they (and possibly other taxpayer-funded solar projects) are currently in the hot seat for burning and killing birds; however, almost three years after getting $1.6 billion from taxpayers, the Ivanpah solar project is still not ready; so, we'll keep an eye out on both BrightSource Energy and the Ivanpah project.
  2. Nevada Geothermal Power Company, Inc. (Blue Mountain project)*: Despite the fact that the DOE was aware of Nevada Geothermal and its “well-documented” financial difficulties, and a grim credit rating for the project they were seeking taxpayers to fund, in September 2010, the Energy Department moved forward with the $98.5 million DOE loan guarantee from the stimulus created 1705 program for the Blue Mountain project to build a geothermal power plant in Nevada. In fact, the March 2012 Report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee labeled the loan a “bailout.” Then, on July 6, 2011, NGP Blue Mountain I LLC won a $65,741,725 stimulus grant from the 1603 Grant Program. More troubles: A year after the loan was approved, Nevada Geothermal, again, was facing turmoil (“operational and financial problems with the Blue Mountain plant"), as documented by the New York Times. Needless to say, problems persisted after the $165 million U.S. taxpayer bailout. In April 2013, EIG Global Energy Partners acquired (another bailout) the Blue Mountain Geothermal Project –– with Nevada Geothermal Operating Company LLC (Opco) "continuing as the project operator of the Faulkner 1 geothermal power plant during a cooperative transition period of up to twelve months," reported Canadian Private Equity News. And, in April 3, 2013 NGP changed its name to Alternative Earth Resources Inc. Still, as of November 2013, the DOE states that the Blue Mountain project is operational (yet we'll continue to monitor), and it also claims 200 construction and 14 permanent jobs. Wow, over $164 million for 14 jobs –– 214, if we count the temporary. Cronyism: The Nevada Geothermal deal is just one of five DOE stimulus loans directly linked to Majority Leader Harry Reid, costing American taxpayer over $3 billion –– a massive and disturbing Green Corruption File exposed in November 2013, which also includes the $1.6 billion BrightSource deal detailed above. 
  3. SunPower Corp.* (the California Valley Solar Ranch project was purchased by NRG Energy*): In January 2010, SunPower Corp, the San Jose, Calif.-based designer and manufacturer of solar panels and systems, received four of the stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits totaling $10.8 million. Then despite SunPower's well-known financial issues and the fact that it was under a shareholder suit alleging securities fraud and misrepresentations, just days (September 2011) before the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program’s deadline, along with four other solar companies, a "non-investment" grade $1.2 billion stimulus loan was approved –– to support the construction of the California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) in San Luis Obispo County. This is a project, by the way, that will help create 15 permanent jobs, "which adds up to the equivalent of $80 million in taxpayer money for each job.” The conditional loan to SunPower was announced on April 12, 2011, and shortly thereafter (April 30, 2011), the French oil conglomerate Total committed to buying a $1.37 billion controlling stake (60%) in SunPower Corp –– confirmed in June 2011 (bailout). Now, SunPower never directly got the cash, because on the final closing of the DOE loan guarantee, they sold the California Valley Solar Ranch to NRG Energy –– a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company, of which they and their subsidiaries were the recipient of most of 1705 stimulus loans: at least $5.2 billion of taxpayer money. However, SunPower continued on as the developer and Bechtel as the primary contractor building the project. While the CVSR project faced its own environmental issues, it was successfully launched in October 2013. Nevertheless, this is another case of green energy outsourcing and taxpayer bailouts –– and SunPower will stay on our "green energy troubled watch list."  Also, behind this billion-dollar DOE deal, crony capitalism once again, ruled the day –– both SunPower and NRG Energy have meaningful political connections to President Obama and other high-ranking Democrats, of which we've documented a few times: First in my October 2012 report (troubled green energy projects); then in my February 2013, "Citigroup’s Massive 'Green' Money Machine;" and later in my March 2013 Green Corruption File on the left-wing billionaire, George Soros.
  4. Ford Motor Company:  In late 2008, "Chrysler and General Motors told America that they were in danger of folding" –– which lead to Chrysler filing for bankruptcy in May 2009 and GM following in June 2009.  However, a bailout process began under President Bush, who "handed the auto companies' long-term future over to his successor, President-Elect Barack Obama." Obama then shepherded a comprehensive bailout of the two companies: over $80 billion ($17.5 billion under Bush and $63.4 billion from Obama), of which reports claim that taxpayers lost at least $14 billion –– many heralding this as a success. Needless to say, at that time, Ford Motors went along for the ride: They went to Congress with GM and Chrysler in 2008 to call for a federal rescue. While, at that time, Ford appeared to be in better shape than GM and Chrysler, they were part of the "Big Three" seeking $34 billion in government aid, yet, according to the Los Angeles Times, "Ford didn't need the money itself –– it had previously arranged a multibillion-dollar line of private credit. But Ford believed that "GM and Chrysler threatened to drag the entire country into a depression." Now, IF they didn't need the cash, then why was Ford Motor Company asking for "a $9 billion line of credit from the government and a $5 billion from the Energy Department program?" Nevertheless, in September 2009 (announced in June 2009), the DOE finalized  $5.9 billion loan from the ATVM Loan Program (not stimulus) to Ford, which the Energy Department states, "[is supposed to enable] Ford to upgrade factories across Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio, and that the project is converting nearly 33,000 employees to green manufacturing jobs." "While not characterized as a 'bailout' by any means, let’s be honest: Ford’s loan – received at a critical time when other sources of financing weren’t available to automakers or their suppliers – no doubt helped the carmaker survive the industry crisis and contributed to its strong market position today, especially after the Obama administration finalized tougher fuel economy rules this week [August 2012]," wrote Joann Muller of Forbes in mid 2012. By the way, "both Ford Motor Company and Nissan [$1.45 billion ATVM loan winner, also in this report] were heavily engaged in negotiations with the Obama administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012- 2016 at the time DOE was considering their applications," as we discovered in the March 20, 2012 House Oversight Report on the DOE's Loan Guarantee Program. To be fair, Ford Motor Company has many years to pay off the loan (June 15, 2022), and the odds of the Energy Department losing large amounts of money from this $5.9 billion loan is low. But it's not impossible.  Partial bailout? Possibly, but as of late, and "for some unexplainable reason," during a visit to the Detroit Auto Show on January 16, 2013, in a conversation with Bill Ford, Jr., the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, Vice President Joe Biden reportedly said, "Thank you for saving our ass." 
  5. Smith Electric Vehicles: In July 2010, President Obama made a special visit to Smith Electric’s new factory in Kansas City, Missouri, touting the success of his 2009-Recovery Act –– a stimulus bill that had awarded Smith Electric Vehicles $32 million in federal grants to develop future all-electric vehicles ($10 million in August 2009 and $22 million May 2010). However, since 2009, the Kansas City electric-truck manufacturer has been burning through cash; has racked up millions in losses; and in 2012 scrapped its IPO. Along the way, (February 2011), Smith Electric Vehicles partnered with Wanxiang Group Corp, which included a "$25 million equity investment" –– obviously a bailout and more green energy outsourcing. And as of late (November 2012), Smith Electric Vehicles plans on opening an electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Chicago –– a deal that comes with, under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel (President Obama's former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who served as the White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2010, a comprehensive, $15 million incentive program from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).

On the Brink as of April 2013: Three @ $281.5 million 
  1. SoloPower*: First off, SoloPower was part of a slew of companies that received $27 million in DOE funding for the Photovoltaic Module Incubator projects, under the Bush administration, However, on April 1, 2013, I had ranted about SoloPower, which enjoys bipartisan cronyism, and its $197 million DOE "junk loan" from the stimulus-created 1705 program to "support the retrofit of an existing building to operate a thin-film solar panel manufacturing facility in Portland, Oregon.” This loan, despite its dismal credit rating, and against the advice of James McCrea, the DOE's Senior Credit Advisor of the Loan Programs at the time, was finalized on August 19, 2011. Troubles: SoloPower has been struggling ever since. It turns out that the first production line was never completed, and in January 2013, the company gave its employees pink slips. By April 2013, news emerged that SoloPower was "powering down" in Portland: closing its factory and "pulling back from its ambitions of building hundreds of megawatts of PV in Portland, Oregon," wrote GreenTechMedia.com. Sometime prior to October 2013, the Energy Department finally pulled their funding ($197 million DOE stimulus loan) for this project, stating, "[SoloPower] never met the requirements to initiate the guarantee." The DOE also acknowledged that SoloPower "has since closed facilities, laid off workers and missed separate loan payments to the state of Oregon," as documented by POLITICO. Also, news has been circulating that SoloPower never dipped into the $197 million. Oregon Taxpayer Money: Still, despite the early and ongoing warning signs, SoloPower snagged millions of Oregon taxpayer money, of which some reports place the state and local amount spent at $58 million. This included a $10 million state Energy Department loan in July (2012), a $20 million manufacturing Business Energy Tax Credit approved by the state sometime in 2012, as well as the fact that the city of Portland issued SoloPower a $5 million loan along with other tax incentives. How bad will Oregon taxpayers get soaked? Who knows, but what we do know is that in September 2013, the latest news comes from the Oregonian, "Though SoloPower operates now as a new entity –– SoloPower Systems Inc. –– its future remains in peril." 
  2. Serious Material; now Serious Energy*: On March 23, 2009, Paul Holland, a general partner at Foundation Capital (huge winner of green energy funds), and at that time, Serious Materials Vice Chairman was part of a special gig at a White House "green energy event, of which President Obama gave Serious Materials a "shout out": "Paul's company, Serious Materials just reopened ... a manufacturing plant outside of Pittsburgh. These workers will now have a new mission: producing some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world." The President also stated, "...And It [the Recovery Act] includes a 10-year commitment to make the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit permanent. This is a tax credit that Serious Materials has used to grow its business..." In April 2009, Vice President Joe Biden visited Serious Materials’ Chicago windows plant –– formally Republic Windows and Doors, which declared bankruptcy in December 2008, but Serious Materials acquired the assets of the factory in February of 2009, and in early March, just weeks after the stimulus package went through, they re-opened “thanks to spending under the Recovery Act.” Then in April 2009, we discovered that the stimulus package included “$8 billion in weatherization and energy efficiency grants for things like new windows in office buildings, as well as tax credits for homeowners who buy new, energy efficient windows.” It’s hard to say how much of that $8 billion business Serious got, but we do know that they snagged government contracts via their QuietRock products. And in January 2010, “Obama announced a new set of tax credits for so-called green companies, of which Serious Materials, Inc. received 548,100 Section 48C Tax Credit –– enacted by the 2009-Stimulus bill. Serious also benefited from the HOMESTAR program, also known as cash for caulkers. Cronyism: Other than Foundation Capital, Serious has many key political ties to the president and the Energy Department, but worse is that Kathy Zoi –– a DOE insider at the time that the sustainable green building materials company benefited from the green funds –– role a the Energy Department was a major conflict of interest. Troubles: By October 2009, Serious was in trouble, and by May 2010, it was clear that Serious Energy was a mess. It wasn't until February 2012 that Serious finally admitted defeat: according to Greentech Media, “Serious has decided to close its green window factory (in Chicago), which it rescued from closing in 2008. About 46 workers lost their jobs. Serious troubles continued through July 2012, as reported by Green Tech Enterprises as well as the San Francisco Chronicle: "Over the past several months, Serious has been bleeding talent, losing roughly half of its top executives, including key players in its energy efficiency software development team and sales team." In April 2013, it was announced that "Serious Energy sold its Pennsylvania vinyl window and door plant." 
  3. Solar World Industries America: The German-owned company SolarWorld is a solar-technology producers and U.S. solar panel manufacturer, who operates factories in the United States and Germany, with its U.S. headquarters is in Hillsboro, Oregon. In 2009, the Export-Import Bank, a taxpayer-funded federal agency, approved $61.0 million in loan guarantees for SolarWorld to sell solar panels in South Korea. In January 2010, SolarWorld was allotted an $82.2 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, which as mentioned many times here in this report, was enacted by the 2009-Recovery, as section 48C. Then, in September 2011, SolarWorld was awarded $4.6 million for a project in Hillsboro Oregon. This was funded through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the SunShot Initiative (again, the EERE received $16.8 billion from the 2009-Recovery Act for programs and initiatives). Furthermore, Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner divulged that just weeks after SolarWorld announced it was ending all manufacturing in its California plant and laying off 186 of its 300 employees there (September 2011), "the Obama administration gave the company another hand out: the DOE awarded a $2.3 million stimulus grant to SolarWorld to study new manufacturing techniques for solar panels." Also in September 2011, Ex-Im approved an $18.9 million direct loan, at a low 2.63% rate, to an Indian power company buying SolarWorld panels. The Heartland Institute noted that at some point, "[Ohio] state officials invited the company [SolarWorld] to apply for up to $100 million in [taxpayer] subsidies and the company accepted at least $27 million in subsidies." Troubles: Besides its California shutdown, SolarWorld has been struggling for quite some time, and in early 2013, it was reported that they laid off Oregon workers and that the taxpayer-subsidized factory in Hillsboro, may face sale or bankruptcy. By the summer of 2013, with "the company's revenues and employment sliding, and its share price in a tailspin," SolarWorld's future was looking dark.

Problematic that we've been tracking since December 2012: 19 @ $6, 476, 300,000

Besides those on the brink of death, there are additional Obama-backed green energy companies and projects that we've been watching since 2012. Here is a brief overview and we'll be digging deeper with a full report next in the following months.
#1. First Solar*: First Solar, an Arizona-based manufacturer of solar panels, in August and September 2011, won three of those 1705 DOE "junk rated" stimulus loans totaling over $3 billion. Prior to these DOE loans, in 2010, First Solar snagged $16.3 million "to expand its manufacturing facility to produce fully completed thin‐film solar modules," in Ohio, which was part of the 2009-Recovery Act via the DOE / Treasury, Clean Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits (48C). According to reports, "The Ohio Department of Development also lent First Solar $5 million, and the state’s Air Quality Development Authority gave the company an additional $10 million loan" –– marking First Solar's Ohio facility as taxpayer-funded with over $30 million.
But it gets better: First Solar, in 2011, "also scored $547.7 million in loan guarantees [by the controversial taxpayer funded Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im)] to subsidize the sale of solar panels to solar farms abroad," as documented by Veronique de Rugy (senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center) in her stunning assessment of DOE's Loan Program. Ms. de Rugy goes on, "More troubling is the fact that some of the Ex-Im money [$192.9 million] went to a Canadian company named St. Clair Solar, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar, meaning that the company received a loan to buy solar panels from itself."
Cronyism: We first covered the "First Solar Swindler" in the summer of 2012, which began by documenting how seven solar companies received fast-tracked approval by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to lease federal lands in a no-bid process: Abengoa Solar, BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, NextEra Energy Resources, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve. Since then, we've tracked First Solar's woes, beginning since the finalization of the three large DOE loan guarantees, of which they sold to more Obama cronies just after they snagged the taxpayer funds (yet First Solar remains involved). 
We also chronicled the cronyism, starting the fact that First Solar was an early investment of Goldman Sachs. This Wall Street giant was as a top 2008 Obama donor; two Goldman executives sat on Obama's 2008 Finance Committee; and a slew of executives bundled for both Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns –– and they ended up a huge winner of green energy funds that goes beyond First Solar, some of which I've shared in the past due to Goldman's connection to Kleiner Perkins, the VC firm whose "Greentech Portfolio" secured billions in loans, grants and special tax breaks, with the majority from the 2009-Recovery Act. Still, there were (are) a myriad of Obama billionaire cronies that were also investors in First Solar that also bundled for his campaign. Other wealthy First Solar investors include (d) Generation Investment Management (GIM), which was co-founded in 2004 by former chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management David Blood, and former Vice President Al Gore.
Meanwhile it should be noted that Carol M. Browner –– with quite the "green" track record –– was also an Obama bundler, served on the Obama-Biden Transition Team, and was later promoted to President Obama's 2009 Green Team as the "Climate Czar," only to abruptly resign in early 2011. But not before being heavily involved in the DOE deal-making. Adding to the suspicion, Browner, a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress (a driving force inside this green energy scheme, and a bombshell story that I am currently working on), is also a well-known Al Gore acolyte. Browner may have left her "climate" post, but she serves on the Advisory Committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States –– the same bank that has given Firs Solar hundreds of millions dollars. 
Troubles: Besides the thousands of First Solar workers (here in the U.S.) that lost their jobs in 2012 and those that were furloughed at the taxpayer-funded Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One, as well as First Solar closing factories and cutting production at other plants in Germany Malaysia, during my May 2012 coverage of the brutal House Oversight hearing, it was revealed that First Solar was sending the majority of their jobs overseas. More compelling is that the CEO of First Solar Michael Ahearn was dumping his own stock between 2008 and 2012, a period when First Solar’s stock value dropped by almost 95 percent. Later, I discovered that others like Al Gore's GIM were engaging in the same type of activity. Then, George Soros, who also bought into First Solar sometime in late 2007, was also buying and selling First Solar stock until about May 2011, as recorded at GuruFocus.com. What's most concerning is that these "stock shenanigans" occurred during the Energy Department loan review process. 
Needless to say, on May 6, 2013, CNN Money predicted "Brighter days for First Solar." But January 6, 2014, "Goldman Sachs downgraded First Solar to sell and the stock plunged as a result" ––– with some predicting its a dying company, as is the solar industry in general. Nevertheless, we'll keep an eye First Solar as well as the three projects that were given $3 billion in DOE loans: 
#2. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (the Genesis Solar Project)*: In August 2011, the Energy Department finalized an $852 million partial loan guarantee (from the stimulus-created 1705 section of the loan program) to support the development of the Genesis Solar Project, located in Riverside County, 20 miles west of Blythe, CA (Mojave Desert). 
Cronyism and Troubles: As noted above, the Genesis Solar Project was part of president Obama's fast-track approval from the DOI, which we expanded upon in our summer research: "Third Largest Power Company in the World is the Third Largest Recipient of Risky Loans" (Genesis and the Desert Sunlight Project they bought from First Solar, listed above) –– connecting Lewis Hay, the CEO of NextEra Energy to the White House due to his role on the president's jobs council. However, NextEra won massive amounts of stimulus dollars for solar, wind and smart grids –– as documented in my January 2013 Big Wind Story. 
Besides the Genesis Solar Project currently on the "watch list" for killing birds, in early 2012, a "deadly outbreak of distemper among kit foxes and the discovery of a prehistoric human settlement on the work site" threatened the entire project. Even so, the Genesis Solar Project has endured massive flood damage, and in 2013, their mirror manufacturer, Flagbeg Solar (another taxpayer-subsidized green energy company listed earlier) went bust –– causing speculation that this development could disrupt the Genesis Solar Project as well as SolarReserve's in Nevada (winner of a $737 million DOE stimulus loan). 
Despite all the environmental havoc –– ironic as it is, and reported by the Desert Sun (my home paper), quoting Christine Hersey, a solar analyst at Wedbush Securities: "The irony is, in the name of saving the planet, we're casting aside 30 or 40 years of environmental law...." However, even though "hypocritical" shadows loom over many of these solar (and wind) projects, they continue to move forward: animals, the environment, and cultural costs be damned! As of late, the California Energy Commission lists the Genesis Solar Project as still under construction, and as reported by the Washington Free Beacon in April 2013, "A NextEra spokesman said the project will come online in two phases, half at the end of 2013 and the other half in late 2014." We'll keep watching...
#3. Nissan North America, Inc.: 
In January 2010, the DOE awarded Nissan (in bed with the Obama administration at the time) a $1.45 billion ATVM loan, of which the taxpayer funds were used to retool its Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing facility for assembly of the all-electric LEAF vehicle, develop an efficient and environmentally friendly paint plant, and construct one of the largest advanced battery manufacturing plants in the U.S. And get this: Nissan’s ATVM-supported projects will create just over 1,300 job –– isn't that about $1 billion per job? NOTE: Chart by Veronique de Rugy from the Mercatus Center, dated April 2013, entitled "Cronyism: Green Car Edition."
Troubles: According to Green Car Reports, the Nissan Leaf sales in 2011 and 2012 were dim. By September 2012, Time Magazine asked this question: "Is It Time to Declare the Nissan Leaf a Flop?" Meanwhile, on November 9, 2013, Nissan canceled its grand opening for at their Tennessee battery plant (the one funded by the $1.4 billion). It wasn't until November 15, 2012 –– reported by the Detroit News –– that "Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn finally admitted the automaker will not meet its [2012] sales target for its all-electric Leaf — in another sign of the broad struggle of the electric vehicle industry." By mid 2013, the Leaf was doing better than the Chevy Volt; however the electric race shifted, and in 2014, results that were documented by the Auto Blog show that "for all of 2013, though, the Volt [23,094] outsold the Leaf [total of 22,610] by 484 vehicles" –– and that is despite Nissan's price drop. It's unlikely, but not impossible, that Nissan (who also has years to pay) will default on their $1.4 billion DOE loan. In May 2013, Automotive News noted, "Nissan Motor Co., which doesn't file financial statements in the U.S., hasn't released details about its $1.4 billion loan repayment record or schedule," which followed with a claim that Nissan "is fully compliant with the terms of the loan."
#4. Chevy Volt*: Even after the taxpayers bailed out General Motors (over $80 billion ($17.5 billion under Bush and $63.4 billion from Obama), of which taxpayers lost at least $14 billion, green energy taxpayer money continues to subsidize the failed auto maker, but this time for their hybrid electric vehicle the Chevy Volt.
Adding to the sting, the January 25, 2012 House Oversight Report, accuses President Obama of using an “unusual blurring of public and private sector boundaries” in the case of the Chevy Volt. The report documents: "The Obama Administration has also invested heavily in the development of new technology for electric cars: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) appropriated $2.4 billion for domestic production of batteries and components for electric cars. Of this, $1.5 billion in grants were directed toward manufacturing the batteries, while the remaining $900 million went to building new facilities or improving existing facilities to produce electric drive components. This included $151.4 million to Michigan-based Compact Power, Inc., for production of lithium-ion polymer battery cells for the GM Volt (this is LG Chem also in our troubled list); $105.9 million directly to GM for production of high-volume battery packs for the Volt; $105 million to GM to construct facilities for electric drive systems; and $89.3 million to Delphi Automotive Systems, a former division of GM, to expand manufacturing facilities for electric drive power components." Also, "buyers of the Volt will receive a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 of per vehicle" as well as state tax credits.   
Somewhere along the way, Obama's "green crony," Duke Energy, received a $350,000 grant to assist General Motors in the development of the Chevrolet Volt. In 2012, the Chevy Volt added a new deep-pocketed customer: the Pentagon, which means taxpayers, again is subsidizing GM's "green." 
Troubles: While President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their allies continually take their victory laps, the GM bailout is not at all the success they claims –– with 2012 headlines emerging: GM: From Bad to Worse."  But my focus is on the green, of which it's first important to know that since its 2010 roll, the Chevy Volt has been plagued by sluggish sales and mounting losses. In early 2012, GM halted the Volt’s production and laid-off 1300 workers. By the end of 2012, headlines circulated, "The Chevy Volt: Another Obama Green Investment Loses a Billion" –– with Forbes predicting, “GM is headed for bankruptcy—again.” 
Still, 2013 wasn't much better considering the Volt's poor "roller coaster sales and production estimates." It seems that GM is scrambling to make up for the money it loses on every Chevy Volt (complete with an unknown cost for replacement batteries), even as they launch more green car failures: the Chevy Spark EV and the Cadillac ELR, and, we the taxpayer, will be on the hook when (if) they fall again. 

NOTE: The details on the following troubled green energy projects/companies can be found in my December 2012 Green Alert Report –– with some eliminations as well as additions. The previous four and the following 15 will be updated further in our next analysis. Due to my recent research on the taxpayer-subsidized biofuel projects, I'm intentionally marking those.
  1. AltaRock Energy*: Under the Bush administration (late 2008), AltaRock had received $6 million grant from the DOE for an EGS Systems Demonstration project called Geyser in California. Obama cash: Two stimulus grants ($25 million and $1.45 million) yet some reports place the amount at $21.5 million 
  2. Bloom Energy*: Received two awards totaling $15.1 million from the 1603 Treasury Program as part of President Barack Obama’s “green energy initiative" [AKA the 2009-stimulus]. Also, "The Treasury Department has awarded the firm more than $70 million as of October 2012, according to the latest records." Also, "Bloom benefited last year [2010] from $210 million – since revised up to $218.5 million – in subsidies through a program approved by the Legislature and overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission," reported the Sacramento Bee in April 2011. 
  3. BlueFire Renewables Inc. (BIOFUEL): Under the Bush administration, BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc (BFRE) was awarded a total of "$40 million in DOE funding aimed at increasing the use of renewable and alternative fuels. In December 2009, the largest single stimulus grant of $81 million went to BFRE) to "construct a facility that produces ethanol fuel from woody biomass, mill residue, and sorted municipal solid waste" @ Fulton, MS.
  4. Coskata* (BIOFUEL): In January 2011, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $405 million in loan guarantees for biofuel refineries, Coskata –– backed by Khosla Ventures, Blackstone Group and GM, among others –– received the largest biofuels plant loan guarantee ever: $250 million for a cellulosic ethanol facility in Green County, Ala. 
  5. Johnson Controls: a $299 million economic stimulus grant to be used to make electric batteries and open up two factories in the U.S., and additional funding from the state of Michigan (up to $168.5 million). 
  6. Kemper Power Plant*: Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, launched a project in 2010 to produce a carbon dioxide capture and storage project located in Mississippi, which was subsidized with taxpayer money: "$270 million grant from the Department of Energy and $133 million in investment tax credits approved by the IRS." 
  7. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power: $151.4 million stimulus grant went to the Michigan-based Compact Power, Inc., for production of lithium-ion polymer battery cells for the GM Volt. Also, millions worth of special state tax breaks based on, of all things, jobs creation. 
  8. Mascoma Corp.*(BIOFUEL): Mascoma Corporation is a cellulosic biomass-to-ethanol company that has received federal and state funding since its founding in 2006: approximately $200 million during President's Bush time.  Then in December 2011, Mascoma received up to $80 million in DOE funding "to assist in the design, construction and operation of a commercial-scale hardwood cellulosic ethanol facility in Kinross, Michigan." 
  9. Montana-Alberta Tie Line (MATL): In December 2009, Tonbridge Power Inc. of Toronto received up to $161 million in federal stimulus loans to construct the 230-kilovolt-transmission project called the Montana-Alberta Tie Line (MATL) –– to "run from Great Falls, Mont., to Lethbridge in Alberta and is designed to facilitate wind generation in northern Montana."  October 2011, Enbridge, a Canadian company, had "assumed ownership of the Montana-Alberta Tie-Line (MATL) project with its acquisition of Tonbridge Power Inc" –– a cash strapped Canadian company). And while the Washington Post, in November 2011, documented, "The transmission line project (funded via the 2009-Recovery Act) was two years behind schedule and $70 million over budget." It turns out that in August 2012, Enbridge repaid the $151 million principal outstanding under the $161 million Transmission Infrastructure Program (TIP) loan granted in 2009 by WAPA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, to help kick start construction of MATL." As of late (September 2013), reports state that this taxpayer-subsidized project is "fully operational," yet besides the obvious green energy outsourcing –– our "green" dollars benefiting other countries  –– this case takes on a new twist: "California ratepayers getting fleeced for green power line in Canada." We'll revisit this in my next report, because sometime in 2010, there was a rumor that this project (MATL) also got $28 million in stimulus money.
  10. Navistar: Navistar's electrically-driven delivery truck got help from $39 million Department of Energy grant, of which they planned to deploy 400 of these trucks in the first year of production. 
  11. Schneider Electric: According to the Heritage Foundation, "Schneider Electric is not technically a green energy company, [but] it did receive $86 million to make energy upgrades to its plant in Cedar Rapids, IA." And, the Iowa Republican reported that not only did these funds come out of the stimulus package, but it "went to make energy upgrades to buildings and factories as part of the administration’s Better Buildings Better Plants Challenge." 
  12. SolarCity, SunRun Inc., and Sungevity: In December 2012, news hit casting a shadow over a trio of solar firms that were "under investigation for potentially inflating costs in order to draw down more money from a stimulus-funded loan program." But the kicker is that "all three boast investors with significant ties to the Obama White House," wrote the Heritage Foundation. Translation: all three have friends in high places, and together the three companies as of October 2013 (covered here) have scored hundreds of millions in stimulus money. Fox News reported in December 2012, when SolarCity was under a federal probe that they had applied for $341 million in grants. However, I found 33 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program that were awarded to SolarCity and USB SolarCity Master Tenant in 2011 and 2012, ranging across 15 states, totaling over $92 million. SunRun has snagged 23 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program for "solar electricity" that ranges across 10 states, totaling over $141 million tax dollars, thus far. Sungevity 14 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program for "solar electricity" that ranges across 8 states, totaling over $12 million tax dollars, thus far. 
  13. Verenium * (BIOFUEL): Verenium, a Cambridge, Mass. biofuel maker is part of Gigaom.com 2007 "10 Khosla Biofuel Bets (Vinod Khosla, the one featured in the 60 Minutes piece)," snagged plenty of green funds: DOE grant under a $40 million program from the Bush administration to support the development of small-scale cellulosic ethanol biorefinery plants for their project in Jennings, LA. And, approximately 12 million more that came from Team Obama's DOE ($4.9 million) and the State of Florida ($7 million grant). 
  14. Vestas: A Danish wind turbine company that was the recipient of $50 million in tax credits (also extended via the 2009-Recovery Act) was also one that then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu hailed Vestas as yet another poster child of green job progress back in 2010. However, not only is this another green energy outsourcing deal, but also by late 2012, they laid off upwards of 800 workers.
  15. ZeaChem, Inc.* (BIOFUEL): $25 million stimulus grant (04/27/2010) to "use purpose‐grown hybrid poplar trees to produce fuel‐grade ethanol using hybrid technology" @ Boardman, OR. September 2011, part of a $40 million USDA grant, and January 2012, also the recipient of a USDA loan guarantee worth $232.5 million, plus more for other projects.  


THE REST

President Obama's Billionaire Buddy, Vinod Khosla Featured in 60 Minutes Piece: a huge VC winner of the taxpayer-funded green spending spree

Vinod Khosla was a main star in the 60 Minutes piece, with CBS noting, "over the years the federal government has committed north of $100 million to his various cleantech ventures, and several states have pitched in hundreds of millions as well."

If CBS had done their homework, they would have known that Khosla –– over the years –– has been subsidized with taxpayer money north of $800 million. They could have also captured the bigger part of this story, which lies in the fact that Khosla Ventures is where you'll find another Obama billionaire buddy (Obama's Republican), Vinod Kholsa, who is labeled as "one of the most influential venture capitalists in Silicon Valley." Khosla was an affiliated partner of Kleiner Perkins (now a PARTNER EMERITUS), whose VC firm Khosla Ventures has also invested in some of the same companies as Kleiner Perkins –– many of which, like I stated, were big winners of green energy funds.

Although I kept a file on Khosla since 2010 –– with over 50 investments within their sustainability portfolio –– thus far I've only tapped into the Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures connection, found in  January 2013 post, which documents their related renewable energy investments that won stimulus funds and, at that time, it included Ausra Inc, AltaRock, Amyris, Great PointEnergy, Mascoma, and QuantumScape.

Khosla Ventures' cleantech have won millions of green energy funds from the Obama administration, such as the ones previously mentioned, but also the now bankrupt Nordic WindPower. However, the big win for Khosla was in the biofuel category, of which was divulged in my August 2013 biofuel post, where I found ten biofuel investments by Kholsa, and all but one had received green energy grants, loans and/or government contracts totaling over $800 million. And while about $300 million was awarded under the Bush administration, Team Obama doled out the majority. Here's the breakdown, which includes at least 4 biofuel projects documented (above) in this green energy failure report.
  1. Amyris: received a $25 million stimulus grant from the Obama administration to "produce a diesel substitute through the fermentation of sweet sorghum" @ Emeryville, CA
  2. Coskata: January 2011, they were awarded a USDA $250 million loan guarantee for woody biomass @ AL (finalized) / troubled 
  3. Gevo: Under Obama, $600 thousand Air Force contract; $5 million grant from the USDA; and $1.8 million grant from the DOE and USDA Biomass R&D Initiative 
  4. Hawaii BioEnergy: Honolulu, HI: Under Obama, $25 million stimulus grant went to UOP, LLC for an "integrate existing technology from Ensyn and UOP to produce green gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from agricultural residue, woody biomass, dedicated energy crops, and algae" @ Kapolei, HI 
  5. KiOR: was seeking $ 1 billion DOE loan. Ironically, this green energy company was part of the CBS cleantech segment, which Marita Noon followed up, "KIOR is  — a Columbus, Mississippi, plant that turns wood products into gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil funded in part by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla — has shut down in a 'cost-cutting move.'” 
  6. LS9: at least $13.5 million ($4.5 from the State of Florida and $9 million from Obama's DOE) 
  7. Mascoma: as noted in the troubled category, Mascoma received about $200 million from the Bush administration, and thus far they snagged $80 million directly from Obama / troubled
  8. Range Fuels, Inc: Under the Bush administration Range Fuels (formerly Kergy Inc.) of Broomfield, Colorado, got up to $76 million. / From the Obama administration, $80 million USDA loan for "woody biomass" @ GA, and as noted went bust, costing taxpayers $over $160 million. /  Bankrupt 
  9. LanzaTech: Under Obama, besides special DOE and DOD deals, which includes purchasing the Range Fuels factory, Lanza got at least $11 million tax dollars from the DOE and DOT 
  10. Verenium: DOE grant under a $40 million program from the Bush administration to support the development of small-scale cellulosic ethanol biorefinery plants for their project in Jennings, LA. / Approximately 12 million from Obama's DOE and the State of Florida /troubled
While our research lists a few proven biofuel disasters (Range Fuels comes to mind), it only scratches the surface into the 31 "not shovel ready," biofuel projects that were funded by the Obama administration –– both from the stimulus ($600 million in grants) and the Department of Agriculture ($1.02 billion in loans).  Along the way, due to the president's green energy push, the Pentagon's effort to switch to (experiment with) biofuels, includes large contracts to purchase biofuels for the Navy and the Air Force: the U.S. Navy’s Great Green Fleet cost $26 per gallon of biofuels, while the Air Force spent $59 per gallon on alcohol-to-jet fuel.

In August 2013, I presented a complete analysis, showing that about one-third of these taxpayer-funded biofuel projects were having issues. Furthermore, while many have survived or been revived by government assistance and renewable energy mandates, most, if not all, rely heavily upon taxpayer funds. And, worse is that we won't get a true picture of the success or failure of these risky ventures (what the Obama administration calls investments), because, despite the fact that the stimulus was promised for “shovel-ready” projects, the majority of these biofuel projects –– stimulus funded and otherwise –– are only about half completed, and the jobs anticipated, saved, created, direct and indirect for each are laughable.

Meanwhile, Robert Rapier –– also interviewed in the 60 Minutes piece –– in October 2013, released his take on the "biofuel waste," which was based on the DOE’s Office of Inspector General (September 2013) audit report on how well taxpayer money has been utilized in the pursuit of commercializing integrated biorefineries. In essence, you don't have to go much further than Mr. Rapier's title, "Government Mandated Spending: A Lesson in Wasted Tax Dollars," to realize that this too, is another big green energy failure –– started by President Bush, but financed and aggressively push by President Obama.

NOTE: In case you missed Mr. Rapier's (who is not anti-cleantech) response the his time with CBS and the 60 Minutes segment, this is a must read: "60 Minutes: The Rest of the Story"

More Taxpayer-funded Green Energy Failures: Stimulus created or funded programs

Shortly after President Obama began his reign as our 44th president, in February 2009, he signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This was a massive economic stimulus bill –– among the biggest in history and the number one lobbied piece of legislation since 2005 –– that was sold to the American people as a means save our economy from the brink of disaster and create American jobs.

At a July 2010 speech at the White House, Vice President Joe Biden said, “This [the stimulus package] isn’t about big government spending. It’s about getting the economy going through seed money.”

However, by early 2012, we learned the real intent behind President Obama's trillion-dollar spending spree: it was “a key tool for advancing the Obama administration’s clean-energy goals and fulfilling a number of campaign commitments.” In fact, the 2009-Stimulus package was jammed-packed full of clean-energy provisions, of which about 10 percent ($100 billion) of the monies were earmarked for renewable energy. Instead of saving our economy, the president's plan, in essence had an ulterior motive: use taxpayer money in an effort to push his green energy agenda (while paying back his political cronies) –– what I call Obama's "save the planet slush fund." 

A March 2012 report by the Brookings Institute places the Obama administrations' "total government spending (both stimulus and non-stimulus) on green initiatives at $150 billion through 2014." And what did we, the taxpayer, get out of the deal? Tens-of-billions wasted, increased debt, outsourcing clean-energy money and green jobs to other countries, as well as massive amounts of corporate welfare, cronyism, and corruption.

The Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program: "junk bond portfolio"

Since 2009, the Energy Department, through three separate programs (Section 1703, Section 1705, and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing ATVM) has guaranteed –– along with pressure and influence from President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and the White House ––– $34.5 billion of taxpayer money that initially funded 33 projects.

By October 2013, the DOE closed two defunct stimulus loan guarantees: SoloPower Inc for $197 million (in this report that received taxpayer money from Oregon) and Prologis (another green corruption story I have yet to tell) for Project Amp, which was another "non-investment grade" loan and shady DOE deal that was approved on September 28, 2011. However, it was reported by POLITICO that Prologis never tapped into the $1.4 billion, however, along the way, Prologis did secure "a grant for $68,000 for the purpose of “rent for warehouse space” under the Recovery Act."

Currently, the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program lists 31 projects at $32.4 billion. And, while the greenies and those that benefited (most of which are well-connected millionaires and billionaires) continually defend this program and the use of taxpayer money to "save the planet" –– even as those critical of the DOE loans, later jump on the bandwagon when it suits their personal political purpose –– unfortunately, we won't know the true taxpayer losses. That’s because many of these green energy projects won't be realized for years to come.

Still, what's most alarming is that Section 1705 –– created by the 2009-Recovery Act –– is where we find that the Obama administration gambled on "green" with taxpayer money. While I had reported on this in April 2012, its worth repeating: The House Oversight and Government Reform committee unleashed a damaging report in March 2012, revealing that in excess of $16 billion was doled to 26 projects, of which 22 of the loans were rated “Junk" grade due to their poor credit quality. "The remaining ended up on lowest end of the investment grade of categories, giving the DOE’s 1705 loan portfolio an overall average of BB-."

This part of the green energy deal making, in December 2013, was followed up with a report by the Reason Foundation: "The $16 billion dollar program “invested” in various failed enterprises, including Solyndra and Abound Solar. But those are just the tip of the iceberg of the DOE's poorly diversified portfolio of mostly “junk grade" investments, many of which, years later, are still “under construction.”

While Reason's analysis focused on the lobbying efforts behind these DOE loans, my initial 2012 examination was solely on the cronyism –– adding later the proven corruption and cover-ups, as reflected in the House Oversight leaked emails that were unleashed late October 2012, which was a treasure trove of "DOE Intel" that we've been revealing since their release. Nevertheless, the Green Corruption Files has exposed over and over how at least 90 percent of the loan winners have meaningful politically connections (bundlers, top donors, finance committee members and various wealthy green cronies) to the president and other high-ranking Democrats –– in many cases to both, with Majority Leader Harry Reid tied to five, of which were used the help Reid snatch up another re-elected victory in 2010 –– a  bombshell report I released in November 2013.

Green Jobs: debacle and deception 

Another part of Stahl's exchange with Mr. Koonin was about jobs, where she comments, "Part of this was supposed to be creating new jobs. Everything I've read there were not many jobs created."

Koonin, responds with "That's correct," yet when Stahl asks, "So what went wrong there?," Koonin says, "I didn't say it would create jobs. Other people did."

And, he's correct, the Obama administration, as I stated earlier, sold the stimulus as a jobs creator. According to the Associated Press, in January 2009, "President-elect Barack Obama has called again for 'immediate and dramatic action' to deal with the deepening U.S. economic crisis that has cost millions of Americans their jobs." Obama, at that time, even proclaimed that a new analysis by his economic advisers indicated that his economic recovery plan "will likely save or create three to four million jobs"–– and the Democrats went along for the ride.

Moreover, candidate Obama promised in 2008, pledging to jumpstart the economy with an influx of green jobs. Many times, he specifically stated: "I will invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create 5 million new energy jobs over the next decade — jobs that pay well; jobs that can’t be outsourced..."

In the fall of 2012, and since, we've debunked the president's 5 million green jobs campaign promise.

Where are the 5 million green jobs?”

Short answer, even optimistically — and perhaps deceptively, at best incomplete, because the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March 2013, eliminated the Green Goods and Services (GGS) program. Needless to say, the GGS program latest tally records that in 2011, there were 3.4 million Green Goods and Services (GGS) jobs, of which the BLS counts jobs that “were associated with the production of green goods and services,” specifically those which “are found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.”

But it gets better, because one of the most comical revelations occurred on June 6, 2012, at a House Oversight hearing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) questioned the director of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, John Galvin, on his agency’s green jobs numbers. Through Galvin’s reluctant responses (he didn’t want to be there), we learned that the Obama administration’s labor department not only counts a person who sweeps the floor at a solar panel facility as a green job, but also oil lobbyists, bus drivers, sanitation engineers, school bus drivers, bicycle repair shop clerks, and so on –– all green jobs. More troubling is that the Obama administration has shipped green jobs overseas (see more on green outsourcing later in this post).

From the beginning, the Department of Energy has exaggerated and/or manipulated the number of green jobs as created, saved, indirect and direct as well as supported and induced –– with "touching lives" in the mix. Even in trusting the Energy Department's current (January 2014) calculation of 55,000, you'll discover that the majority, 33,000, is from Ford Motor Company's $5.9 billion DOE ATVM loan.

In May 8, 2013, a report by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) gives insight into the DOE's dismal reality on green jobs: "the Department of Energy has spent nearly $26 billion since 2009 on its Section 1703 and 1705 loan programs. However, these two programs only yielded 2,308 permanent jobs — meaning the cost to taxpayers was $11.25 million per job," recorded the Daily Caller. Even if you take out SoloPower and Prologis (money spent and the jobs created), that leaves $24.7 billion tax dollars and 1806 jobs, which calculates to about $13.7 million per job. 

To be fair, since it was the 2009-Recovery Act that the Obama administration promised as a jobs creator, we'll count only the stimulus-created 1705 loans. After eliminating SoloPower and Prologis, this program that once was at $16 billion, so far cost taxpayers about $14.4 billion and only generated 696 jobs –– about $20 million per job. 

The $19.8 Billion Stimulus Grant Program; doling out free taxpayer money, creating 355 green jobs per year

Also, many of these same companies/projects that were funded with DOE loans, also won free taxpayer cash from the 1603 Treasury Program, of which as of November 2013, funded 91,871 projects with $19.8 billion of taxpayer money. This was also implemented as part of the Obama stimulus, and is administered by the Department of Treasury in conjunction with the Department of Energy, which gives out "payments for specified energy property in lieu of tax credits."

In March 2012, the Energy Department released a report that the renewable grant program (the 1603) was a big jobs creator: A $9 billion [at that time] Obama administration grant program for renewable energy projects has created tens of thousands of jobs, an Energy Department report out concludes, heralded POLITICO. Once again, the DOE attempts to deceive. The problem with this scenario is that those numbers applied only to large wind and photovoltaic projects. Further, the 52,000 to 75,000, which the program claims that they supported, were construction (which means temporary) and installation jobs. And, "between 43,000 to 66,000 of those were indirect jobs in the supply chain." Hardly green jobs in the making, but if the numbers are close to being accurate at that time, at least the 1603 Program –– which has since doubled its distribution of taxpayer money –– is doing better than the Energy Department's loan program.

Adding to the confusion was the June 19, 2012 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on “The Federal Green Jobs Agenda,” which highlighted the gimmick accounting method used by the BLS. It revealed that the Section 1603 grants for renewable energy, does not even include job creation among its primary objectives—which obviously contradicts the purpose of the 2009 trillion-dollar Obama stimulus package.

Still, more telling was the testimony from Congressional Research Services expert, Dr. Molly Sherlock. When asked by Rep. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) “How many jobs were created” in 2009 and 2010 under the 1603 renewable energy grant program authorized by the Obama administration, Dr. Sherlock first said the jobs total would depend on the type of job –– and differentiated between “induced,” “direct,” and  ”indirect” jobs –– before Gardner asked for a straight number.

“I just want to know how many jobs were created,” Gardner said during the hearing.

Sherlock finally admitted: 355 jobs created a year, for $10 billion —which comes out to about $28 million per job.


$500 Million Stimulus Funds for Green Jobs Training: rife with abuse & deficiency

As part of the 2009-Recovery Act, there was a huge $500 million grant that went for research and job training projects to prepare workers for careers in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

In September 2011, there was a very damaging story which aired on from Fox News, which a whistleblower exposed that his college won millions in federal grants to train workers for green jobs that didn't exist.

By January 2012, USA Today reported that Obama green jobs program had "reached just 10% of its job-placement goal" –– and this came from "an audit by the Department of Labor's inspector general, which recommended that the administration end the program and return unspent money."

Even in 2013, another federal audit, released in a June report by the Government Accountability Office, showed "that nearly a half-billion dollars in government funds was spent on training workers for so-called 'green jobs.'" The only problem is that not enough positions in the growing industry exist," as reported by Fox News.


Green Energy Outsourcing

"I will invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create 5 million new energy jobs over the next decade—jobs that pay well; jobs that can’t be outsourced..."
- Candidate Obama proclaimed during his 2008 presidential campaign

CBS also featured the president of  Wanxiang Group Corp., a Chinese firm –– although they have an American entity based in Chicago –– who has been on a "green energy USA buying spree." Stahl, although taken back a little, only mentioned three (A123 Systems, Ener1, and Smith Electric Vehicles), yet again CBS missed the mark: this "green energy outsourcing" is quite pervasive, which goes in direct contrast to President Obama's rhetoric that he doesn't want to cede green energy to other nations as well as his promises that his green jobs "can't be outsourced."

But the reality is that tens-of-billions of American tax dollars have directly funded foreign-owned entities, while many stimulus-backed firms were snatched up for dirt cheap by other countries  –– with even green jobs being shipped overseas.

This is another part of the green energy deal-making that came as a shock at the end of 2102 when we learned from the Energy and Commerce Committee's “in-depth report on its ongoing investigation into the implementation of President Obama’s green energy stimulus spending,” the fact that “foreign corporations have received approximately one-quarter of $16 billion spent [now $19.8 billion] on 'Section 1603' renewable energy stimulus program.”

Still, besides the green outsourcing listed in this cleantech failure report, there have been billions more funneled overseas, as I documented in my April 2013 Green Corruption File. China is not the only beneficiary of America's "investment" in renewable energy: The Obama administration has been sending green jobs to Finland, Malaysia, and Mexico as well as billions of our tax dollars to Spain, Britain, and more, which is an insult to American taxpayers and those seeking jobs.

More compelling, perhaps, is that at the beginning of 2014, we discovered that "American taxpayers spent $7.45 billion to help developing countries cope with climate change in fiscal years 2010 through 2012," this was according to a federal government report submitted to the United Nations.

More stimulus subsidized green energy waste



$300 million to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL): funding jobs cuts and craziness

While the nonprofit National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, has its own issues and corruption, and I had listed them in my 2012 Green Alert list in the troubled category, it's a government institution; so today we'll separate them. According to the Energy Policy Center, "98 percent of the lab’s funding comes from the federal government, including nearly $300 million in stimulus in 2009" (or $200 million) –– the Recovery Act that was meant to create jobs. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds.” But in 2011, the lab cut jobs. Worse still, Colorado's Watchdog.org –– noting that NREL is "infamous for top salaries of more than $500,000 a year" and some craziness (and the ones that conducted the deceptive 1603 grant program green jobs analysis)–– is not sure what goes on at the DOE's NREL, other than spending "$8 billion in taxpayer funding, which the lab has received since 1977." 

$5 Billion Home Weatherization program: waste, fraud and abuse

Besides the failed "Cash for Clunkers" program, tucked neatly inside the stimulus package, was a $5 billion Home Weatherization Program, of which was the former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones approved program [special touring included] "to help employment in minority communities." 

Almost three years into the program and all we got was excessive waste, fraud and abuse, which was detailed in a scathing report by Gregory H. Friedman, Inspector General at the Department of Energy, issued in October 2010. Even Citizens Against Government Waste took issue with this program in 2011: "Among the most egregious programs contained in the pork-laden stimulus (and they were legion) was the weatherization assistance program (WAP)." 

In fact, evidence gathered –– and released in March 2012 –– by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which had built on the prior work of the DOE Inspector General (IG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO), "explored the ways in which the Weatherization Program has failed to accomplish its mission, while succeeding in wasting billions of taxpayer dollars." This report also suggested that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program is not only a stunning example of a management failure, but it has "done little to achieve energy savings, and may have put people’s lives and homes at risk."  

While the program may have been a failure in terms of the stated goal, "Obama's Chicago pals got rich off of his fraud-ridden weatherization programs," as exposed by the American Thinker in 2011. Meanwhile the Left –– more specifically Center for American Progress –– despite three reviews to the contrary (IG, GAO, and the House Oversight Committee), will have you believe (September 2012) that the $5 billion stimulus-funded program called WAP is a success. Maybe I'm missing something here.

A taste of taxpayer-subsidized green energy mishaps
  • By early 2012, ABC News documented several green energy companies that bagged millions in taxpayer funds, and later fell into bankruptcy, but not before the firms doled out six-figure bonuses and payouts to top executives. These included Solyndra, Beacon Power Corp., Ener1, SpectraWatt –– and I'm sure there has been more since.
  • March 2013: President Obama, in his plan to get U.S. cars off oil, awarded $200 million to Argonne National Laboratory, which is partners with another subsidized a firm that has yet to produce a battery –– that LG Chem Michigan listed in this failure report. 
  • August 2013: Oregon Department of Energy's decision to approve three separate tax credits worth $30 million for the Shepherds Flat wind far, is under scrutiny because the project, which was also the recipient of a $1.3 billion DOE partial loan guarantee, was only qualified for a single, $10 million credit. 
  • September 2013: The DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells program paid more than $6.6 million in questionable reimbursements to project recipients who violated conflict of interest rules and improperly expensed meal and alcohol purchases. 

The future of taxpayer-subsidized cleantech

2014 began with this headline by New York Magazine, "Obama’s Second Term Is All About Climate Change," signaling that the cleantech future is here. However, the president's December 2013 pick of John Podesta (from Center for American Progress, as mentioned is a driving force inside this green energy scheme) as his "executive power czar" was our first sign of things to come: circumventing Congress on cleantech and additional left-wing agenda items. We can expect an aggressive "green" agenda to move forward at lightening speed, and we the taxpayer, will continue to foot the bill.

In fact, just last week, President Obama came out swinging, threatening lawmakers with executive orders: "I've Got A Pen..." he warned. 

Other evidence emerged when The Hill urged, "Climate change and energy will be a major policy battleground [from both sides] in the 2014 midterms." Additionally, Senate Democrats recently launched a Climate Action Task Force to "defend President Obama's Climate agenda" –– an agenda with which the president unleashed in June 2013.

Needless to say, prior to and since that time, the Obama administration has continually fired up new climate legislation, regulations and mandates, which benefits special interest groups, while adversely affecting American families. And, like the Affordable Care Act taking over our entire health care industry, will in essence, under the guise of "saving the planet," dominate our most valuable resource –– energy. The National Review took notice of "Obama's radical climate agenda," which by the way circumvents Congress, alarming that "the president announced that, on behalf of 'all of humankind,' he is in effect directing the EPA to take over the American economy." Reason.com, too, sees the dire reality here: "Obama’s plan ambitiously seeks to control nearly every aspect of how Americans produce and consume energy."

The president's Climate Action Plan also calls for releasing more taxpayer money –– thus once again funding the Green Bank of Obama. “This time, though, the [DOE loan] program would devote as much as $8 billion to helping industries like coal and oil make cleaner energy,” wrote the New York Times. The Institute for Energy Research (IER) took aim at this part of the plan: "This proposal is nothing but window dressing to make it appear that the administration isn’t completely anti-coal. The new proposal would throw good money after bad." Nevertheless, the DOE, in December 2013, released that $8 billion, and are currently soliciting applications (for advanced fossil energy projects).

In August of 2013, with more than $15 billion in remaining authority, the Energy Department announced plans to reopen the ATVM loan program. While this is a Bush-era program, under President Obama it became infamous for dishing out five loans (out of over 100 applicants) at the cost of $8.4 billion, to three politically connected auto companies, and as mentioned earlier, "both Ford Motor Co. and Nissan were heavily engaged in negotiations with the Obama administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012- 2016 at the time DOE was considering their applications." Thus far the ATVM loan program has fostered two losers: Fisker Automotive and Vehicle Production Group, while touting the continually subsidized (both federal and state) billionaire's electric-car company, Tesla Motors, as a success –– even if that car overheats and goes up in smoke.

Cleantech is a dirty word; and not just because of the tens-of-billions of tax dollars that the Obama administration has wasted on green energy initiatives, but more so, because corporate welfare, cronyism and corruption are its core.

Two women –– a citizen & an energy columnist –– join forces on one mission: to expose one chunk of the Green Corruption Scandal at a time.

3 comments:

  1. Hi its great work how simple it to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic in this corruption blog, you had made my day.

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  2. THANK YOU for exposing more of the Truth! Keep up the excellent work. I heard you on the David Madeira show, and believe the world needs to read your report. What can we do to spread the word? larry.wakeman@gmail.com

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  3. thanks for the comments: Larry, sent you a private email. -c

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