Wednesday, May 16, 2012

BREAKING: BrightSource Energy Political Influence and Their $1.6 Billion DOE Loan

Business Report: President Obama Personally Involved in ‘Green’ Energy Company’s $1.6B Loan Guarantee Application  
Posted on May 16, 2012

UPDATED: May 20, 2012 

President Obama personally discussed the details of BrightSource Energy’s federal loan guarantee with a company stakeholder and it appears the conversation “expedited the process,” the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke reports.
According to the Washington Examiner article...
The connection between the White House and BrightSource Energy, Inc., -- which received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee -- emerged during a House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing this morning, based on emails that show BrightSource asking the White House for help in receiving a loan from DOE.

John Woolard, CEO of BrightSource, told the DOE of Obama's involvement in January 2010 when he was pushing for a conditional commitment.
"Darbee at PG & E talked directly to Obama about the program's challenges and the bad situation it puts him in," Woolard emailed to Matt Rogers, who was then Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy for the Recovery Act and played a significant role in disbursing funds to renewable energy companies.

Woolard explained today that "Darbee" refers to Peter Darbee, then-CEO and chairman of Pacific Gas and Electric. "They had a vested interest in getting this thing approved because you were providing them their required commitment for green power," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, observed to Woolard. "One month after this email you got the conditional approval."
Jordan then read from another email between Woolard and Jonathan Silver, executive director of the DOE loan program, sent after BrightSource received a conditional commitment but while they still sought a final commitment.

In that email, Woolard asked Silver to proofread a drafted email that the BrightSource chairman, John Bryson -- now President Obama's Commerce Secretary -- intended to send to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.

The letter Silver proofread requested direct White House influence in BrightSource's loan guarantee application. "We need a commitment from the WH to quarterback loan closure between OMB and DOE," reads Bryson's draft message to Daley. It also includes a request for "guidance and support from the White House."
If that's not enough to make your head spin, let's take a look at more interesting details...

BrightSource Background:

BrightSouce Energy received $1.6 billion loan, yet it was on the DOE "junk bond" list that I had reported on last month. Also, due to their debt issues, they badly needed the cash, and were actually considered (by many) as a bailout.

WOW, BrightSource is politically connected...

BrigtSource Investors include many TOP 2008 Obama Donors –– 
  • VantagePoint Partners – the major stake holder in BrightSource –– Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a partner and Senior Adviser and Sanjay Wagle was a principle. Meanwhile, Wagle was a DOE adviser at the time the loan was approved. 
  • Google Inc. –– #5 Top Obama Donor for $814,540
  • Morgan Stanley –– #19 Top Obama Donor for $512,232
  • BP Alternative Energy, a Top Obama Contributor, is also an investor. According to Politico in 2010, "During his [Obama's] time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records." 
  • Also on that list of BrightSource investors are Chevron, Black River, Alstom, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, StatoilHydro Venture, CalsTRS, and Riverwood. 
  • BrightSource Chairman John Byrson –– the co-founder of the left-wing Apollo Alliance group that helped craft the stimulus became Obama’s Secretary of Commerce. 

Source for "2008 Obama donations" ––– Open Secrets
Top 20 Contributors to Barack Obama 2008 Election Cycle 


There is more... 

According to recent revelations by The Washington Free Beacon

  • Brightsource Energy, which received [that] $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Energy Department and is also expected to receive Treasury grants once the project is complete, has donated since 2008 at least $21,600 to Democrats and zero dollars to Republicans.
  • Senator Harry Reid received almost $4,000 from Brightsource executives in the 2010 cycle, including $2,400 from [the guy from the hearing] CEO John Woolard, who hosted a fundraiser for the majority leader.
  • Woolard is also a Barack Obama donor and has visited the White House 10 times since Obama took office.


And now we know through emails and House Oversight hearings that BrightSource Energy used their "political influence" (even the President of the United States) to snag that $1.6 billion DOE loan. This is more evidence that cronyism and corruption are the driving forces behind the Obama Green Energy agenda!

Furthermore, BrightSource Energy is part of the "Special Solar Seven”  –– Abengoa Solar, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, Ormat Nevada, SolarReserve, BrightSource Energy, and NextEra Energy Resources (Genesis Solar project) –– that in March 2009 "received fast-tracked approval by the Department of Interior (DOI) to lease federal lands in a no-bid process," a recent story tracked by The Washington Free Beacon. All seven carry Obama and Democratic political ties, three alone to Senator Harry Reid. And, BrightSource Energy is having environmental issues –– they "are party to turtle killing"...

Others relevant to this case are:
Matt Rogers, former Senior Adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, oversaw the disbursement of tens of billions of dollars in stimulus funds for renewable energy projects.  Rogers is all over this green-energy-scheme, and we can confirm that Rogers and Kristina Johnson “advised” Secretary Chu on implementing the massive energy programs in the 2009 stimulus law –– I think the $36 billion. Also, Rogers came from McKinsey & Co. (a Top 2008 Obama Donor)  and returned after left the DOE in September 2010 –– he’s a Director in McKinsey & Company's San Francisco Office. 

Jonathan Silver, former DOE Loan Adviser: According to WSJ Barron’s Magazine (July 10, 2010) , Silver had been a managing partner at Core Capital Partners in Washington. Coincidentally, one of his colleagues there was Tom Wheeler, another Obama-Biden fund bundler. Silver was supposed to help Chu accelerate loan reviews. Silver resigned from the DOE this year, amidst the Solyndra Scandal.
Sanjay Wagle, Renewable Energy Grant Adviser in the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), helping to oversee implementation of DOE’s $36.7 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act programs.  Wagle was a venture capitalist and Obama fundraiser in 2008, rallying support through a group he headed known as Clean Tech for Obama. Shortly after Obama’s election, he left his California firm to join the Energy Department, just as the administration embarked on a massive program to stimulate the economy with federal investments in clean-technology firms. During the next three years, the department provided $2.4 billion in public funding to clean-energy companies in which Wagle’s former firm, Vantage Point Venture Partners, had invested.   VantagePoint "green portfolio" had cashed in big time, and this is what just a regular citizen could find...
  • BrightSource Energy –– $1.6 billion DOE loan
  • Serious Energy (was Serious Materials) –– 2009 and 2010, Special White House attention as well as a special $548, 100 tax credit.
  • Solazyme –– $21.7 million grant
  • Telsa Motors (Westly is an Obama 2008 and 2012 Bundler) –– $465 million DOE ATVM loan
  • Two that are also on the Kleiner Perkins (Al Gore and John Doerr are partners) cleantech portfolio: Mascoma ($170 million under the Bush administration and in 2006 they snagged $49.5 million from the state of Michigan; in 2011, under the President Obama, their $350 million project in Michigan is being funded by the DOE and the state of Michigan)  and MiaSole  (January 2010, $101.8 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing tax credit)
  • 1366 Technologies, a General Electric project that was also listed on the "DOE junk bond portfolio," which received a $150 DOE million loan.

Peter Darbee, then-CEO and chairman of Pacific Gas and Electric is one thing, but PG&E has many interesting connections. According the The Washington Free Beacon March 14, 2012 shocking piece –– Pacific Gas & Cronyism: Politically connected utility plays corporate bully, makes bank on green energy –– you'll discover...



  • At least two former PG&E officials currently hold senior positions in Gov. Brown’s administration. Former director of public affairs Dana Williamson was recently hired as a senior adviser, who will oversee the administration’s lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C.
  • Last year, Brown appointed Nancy McFadden, PG&E’s former senior vice president of public affairs, to the position of Executive Secretary for Legislation, Appointments and Policy. McFadden had previously served as general counsel to the U.S. Department of Transportation and was deputy chief of staff to former vice president and green energy investor Al Gore.
  • McFadden is also a former member of the Apollo Alliance, an influential conglomerate of labor groups and green energy proponents that boasts connections to Van Jones, the former White House green jobs czar who resigned under a cloud of controversy, and John Podesta, former president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress and co-chairman of the Obama-Biden transition team. PG&E has donated at least $75,000 to the Apollo Alliance since 2008.
  • Perhaps the most controversial former PG&E employee to hold an influential government post is Cathy Zoi. A former energy analyst for the company, Zoi served as chief of staff for environmental policy under President Clinton and was CEO of Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, and was until recently President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Part of her responsibilities included overseeing almost $17 billion in federal stimulus funding for renewable energy projects.

Cathy Zoi, former Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy, is also directly connected to Serious Materials and Landis + Gyr  –– the former got a special "green tax credit" (listed above), while the latter soared as a result of the 2009 stimulus.

Also, Cathy Zoi served as the CEO of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection until she was appointed at the EERE, which positioned her to “manage the U.S. Department of Energy's $2.3 billion applied science, research, development, and deployment portfolio.” Moreover, Ms. Zoi “oversaw EERE's $16.8 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

Later in 201, Zoi replaced Kristina Johnson as the Acting Under Secretary  –– Johnson, another DOE official connected to an energy company that got stimulus money. However, Zoi left the DOE in 2011 to join forces in "a new cleantech private equity fund sponsored by George Soros and a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm." "The new fund is called Silver Lake Kraftwerk (“SLKW”) [and is led] by Adam Grosser, who spent a decade as general partner at Foundation Capital, where he worked on major cleantech investments like Silver Spring Networks and Enernoc."  

I have more on PG&E, Cathy Zoi, Kristina Johnson, other DOE Officials and Advisers, as well as The Apollo Alliance, Van Jones, John Podesta, Google, Doerr, Gore, Westly, and so on –– stay tuned, the entire Green Corruption Scandal coming soon...

May 16 - 17th 2012 coverage on this story can be found here...

Your Citizen Watchdog, 

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