Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Smart Gird, Dirty Devices: With "friends" in the White House, Silver Spring Networks linked to at least $1.3 billion in smart-grid stimulus grants

Considering that the White House is currently plagued with scandals –– the Benghazi cover-up, the IRS political profiling, and the DOJ's chilling media meddling –– let's not forget that green energy favoritism ranges across the EPA, DOE and DOI. What's extraordinary is that most of these scandals reveal an unsettling insight into the Obama administration's modus operandi: "demonize and destroy political critics, opponents and enemies, while rewarding their friends," and with total disregard for the rule of law, our Constitution, and American taxpayers.

Today we're going focus on the positive: what it means to be a political ally of the Obama 
White House. 

This Green Corruption File is about Silver Spring Networks, whose customers won at least 30 percent of the $4.5 billion stimulus smart-grid grants. And what you'll discover is that this clean-energy firm has “friends” in the White House, and early on, those tied to this company helped craft the energy-sector of the stimulus package, and possibly rigged the process.
As we take a journey down another venture capital firm, Foundation Capital, we'll tell the Silver Spring story, and reveal additional clean-energy dirt, but we'll begin with their shady IPO.

"Silver Spring IPO has more red flags than a Communist Party military parade," PrivCo CEO Sam Hamadeh

As I was covering the Fisker Auto fiasco and their recent Oversight Hearing, I discovered a remarkable report by PrivCo, a non-political organization that is listed as a source for business and financial data on major, non-publicly traded corporations. Not surprising is that PrivCo’s analysis (via The Fisker Papers) charged that the Department of Energy (DOE) [knowingly and willingly] “applied negligent underwriting standards” in granting the $535 million DOE ATVM loan. Worse, the release of incriminating internal emails backs up this claim and produces more evidence of DOE incompetence and or corruption (most likely both) and that “Fisker should have never received taxpayer money.”

PrivCo’s report on Silver Spring Networks' IPO is quite astonishing, and since it's another green energy company propped up with free taxpayer money, I'll be opening up this huge can of worms here at the Green Corruption Files.
In March of 2013, Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (PrivCo Private Company Ticker: SILVRSP), one of the longest waiting IPOs (nearly 21 months since filing in July 2011), has just priced its IPO at $17 per share in an attempt to raise $81 Million. PrivCo analyzes the Silver Spring IPO filing and financials and concludes for IPO investors that this may well be the "poster child" for what to avoid in considering IPO investments. Troubling issues for Silver Spring Networks range from yearly (and quarterly) declines in revenue, hundreds of millions of dollars of losses piled on year after year (-$484 Million over the past 5 years), a loss of key underwriter Morgan Stanley during the extended IPO filing process, and attempting to break into a lifeless cleantech market. PrivCo's fair value/price target for Silver Spring Networks is $4.50 per share, -74% from its IPO price.
After this intro, PrivCo lists Silver Spring as a “case study of 7 Key IPO red flags to watch out for,” which mainly deals with debt issues. However, what struck me was the last on: "So how does today's Silver Spring Networks IPO Fair On the Final Pre-IPO Red Flag: #7: Ethics?" –– asks PrivCo CEO Sam Hamadeh. 

His answer will surprise you...
There is a troubling smell of possible MISLEADING STOCK PROMOTION BY FOUNDATION CAPITAL, SILVER SPRING NETWORKS' LARGEST (41%) SHAREHOLDER. Foundation Capital has been claiming for months to be an IPO "CORNERSTONE INVESTOR" by committing to invest "$12 Million in Silver Spring Networks at the IPO price 'as a show of our confidence in the company.'" Based on PrivCo's review of the documents, Foundation Capital's public statements are misleading at best, and may be violations of securities regulations including the IPO Quiet Period.

Serious "Friends" in the Obama White House, the Hooker, and Crafting the "Green" Recovery

From what I gather, the Silver Spring IPO misdeeds came from the majority shareholder (since 2004), Foundation Capital, who has a “friend” in the White House –– and that’s according to a March 27, 2009 statement by Paul Holland, a general partner at Foundation Capital and at that time, Serious Materials Vice Chairman, who just six days earlier, had a special gig at a White House "green energy event." In a Q&A by the Wall Street Journal, Holland was asked, “How did you receive the honor of introducing President Obama as a representative of the venture capital and cleantech industries?” Holland responded, “My partner Steve Vassallo has a friend in the White House who asked him for help on this event.”

At that event, President Obama gave Serious Materials a "shout out," and just a day later, during a venture capital panel on March 24, 2009, Holland described his feelings when he heard about the billions of stimulus money up for grabs by using the analogy of a "hooker dropped into a prison exercise yard.”

Then a month after this Serious activity (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.”

While Biden heralded “Serious Windows as the most energy-efficient in the world" and commended them as the creation of new green jobs, we can confirm that Serious got a special stimulus tax credit, which I highlighted in my 2012 Green Alert list of taxpayer-funded clean-energy failures, in the troubled category, yet with a name change, cronyism, corruption, some drama as well as job losses.

Before we move forward, let's pause and recap some key points: a big backer of clean technology Foundation Capital partner has a friend in the White House, while Mr. Holland had given the maximum legal contribution to Obama and was rewarded with special White House honors and serious endorsements. But the story gets better because Serious is also tied to Cathy Zoi (along with more Obama buddies, which will be divulged later) –– a connection John Stossel made known in 2010, “The interesting twist is that Zoi happens to be the wife of Robin Roy, who happens [ed] to be vice president of policy at Serious Windows."

Zoi served as chief of staff for environmental policy under President Clinton and was CEO of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. In April 2009, Zoi became the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, who oversaw the disbursement of more than $30 billion in renewable energy stimulus funds in her DOE position at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

While we know the funds Zoi oversaw at the EERE, some was for weatherization programs that benefited Serious, we also know that she testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in favor of a HOMESTAR program, also known as cash for caulkers, which became another subsidy for Serious.

Later in 2010, during a series of DOE vacancies, Zoi briefly filled the role of Acting Undersecretary for Energy, and in February 2011, she jumped the DOE ship to work for George Soros –– another friend of Obama and key villain in this Green Corruption scandal.

We’ll be visiting Zoi multiple times in this post and take a peek at Foundation Capital’s entire green energy portfolio a bit later. At this point I’d like to steer the spotlight back to Silver Spring Networks and another key investor, ­­the VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB. In 2008 they led a $75-million  investment (along with Foundation Capital) into Silver Spring, which was one of the first funded from Kleiner Perkins’ $500 million Green Growth fund (established in May 2008).

In December 2009, Kleiner Perkins, Foundation Capital, and Northgate Capital, as well as President Obama’s other buddy Google (another huge winner of multiple stimulus funds, which I divulged this past January) participated in another round of funding for Silver Spring, dishing out a whopping $100 million.

However, the “red flags” started long before Silver Spring's IPO, and this too is a story that stems from where most of our Green Corruption tales begin, the formation of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act –– President Obama’s trillion-dollar taxpayer-funded spending spree which has been proven to be a shameful display of manipulation, whereas we now know that the economic stimulus had nothing to do with jobs or saving our economy.

In fact the $100 billion of taxpayer money earmarked for renewable energy was the Obama administration and his minions' effort to "launch a silent green revolution." And in August 2012, the release of a book by Time senior correspondent Mike Grunwald, whom the Heritage Foundation labels as "a self-proclaimed Recovery Act cheerleader,” collaborated what most of us have known for a long time  –– Grunwald "argues in The NEW New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era that focus on jobs was not the administration’s real intent."

Moreover, in January of this year more proof surfaced in the release of a 57-page, “Sensitive & Confidential” memo written by economist Larry Summers — who eventually became head of President Obama’s National Economic Council (2009 to 2011) — to Obama in December 2008, which confirms that the so-called “Recovery” was used for campaign promises and advancing clean energy.

At the center of this green revolution are two Democrat heavies, also friends of Obama: billionaire John Doerr and his climate multi-millionaire buddy Al Gore –– both friends since the 90's and partners at Kleiner Perkins, with top Kleiner Perkins executives also Democrat and Obama donors.

Obviously, Gore's "climate crisis crusade" and "green" is well documented, and his support for Obama is no secret, but Gore has been known to visit the Obama White House and his acolytes captured plenty of key positions inside Obama's Green Team as well as the Energy Department, including Cathy Zoi (mentioned earlier). Meanwhile, Doerr's politics date back to the Bush administration when "Doerr and his team were responsible for getting the 'end-oil-addiction' wording inserted into President Bush's 2006 state-of-the-union address."

It’s worth repeating that Doerr served as one of the “chosen” of President Obama’s Jobs Council (the ultra-rich Democrat donor panel, whereas I found five that struck green stimulus gold), which stemmed from the 2009 Economic Advisory Board (PERAB), implemented by Executive Order. But the most suspect role of Mr. Doerr was his early access to the Obama White House, of which we know that he ultimately shaped what went into the energy sector of the 2009-Revovery Act –– a trillion-dollar bill that Kleiner Perkins also spent money lobbying for.

Doerr’s “green” persuasion persevered during "meetings with Obama's transition team and leaders in Congress," of which much of it came in the form of "five recommendations to Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to jump start a green-tech revolution and fight global warming." Of course it included a cap-and-trade system (the real pot of gold at the end of the climate rainbow), smart grid, solar, and more federal money to be allocated toward renewable energy –– all of which would benefit his portfolio dramatically.

And so it has…

My recent calculations of Kleiner Perkins' 66 clean energy firms listed, (as one-person researcher) I concluded that over 50 percent (again since 2010) are confirmed stimulus winners (36 of the 66). This means that ultra-rich Doerr and Gore –– through their alternative energy investment firm –– have raked in at least $1 billion in green-government subsidies, the majority through the stimulus package, which does not include their shining green company, Silver Springs Networks, the focus of this file, which is tied to at least $1.3 billion in stimulus smart-grid grants.

(NOTE: As for their Green Growth Fund, which funded Silver Spring, it should be noted that at the time of my investigation, they had fourteen companies, and now we find sixteen. If you factor in Kleiner Perkins collaboration with Al Gore’s London based Generation Investment Management as well as other “green alliances” –– all documented in my January 2013 post, of which full details of their "green energy" transactions can be downloaded here in a PDF file. –– that figure rises dramatically, totaling at least $10 billion from the Green Bank of Obama.)
Moreover, we reported on the wealthy Massachusetts Senator, Climate Hawk John Kerry (now Secretary of State), who also played a key role in crafting portions of the legislation designed to offer federal support for green energy projects. Kerry, had purchased shares (at an opportune time) in a number of Kleiner Perkins investment funds, including their Green Growth Fund. However, Kerry promised “to divest holdings [within 90 days] in dozens of companies in his family's vast financial portfolio to avoid conflicts of interest if he is confirmed.”

We’ll be checking on Kerry, but lets’ get back to the grid…

Was the Smart-Grid Stimulus Process Rigged?

Modernize the grid: "As part of the economic stimulus package," Doerr said "Congress should invest in a more efficient electric grid that can deliver solar and wind power to consumers across the country."

On the trail in 2008, "[candidate] Obama had big dreams for a digital smart grid,” and according to Time Magazine, after the election, Obama wanted his economic stimulus package to include the smart grid, of which he suggested pouring in $100 billion: “Let’s just build it!” he told his transition team.

“Ultimately, Obama settled for $11 billion in seed money,” says Grunwald author of The NEW New Deal; however, the president did get $100 billion of clean energy inserted into the 2009-Recovery Act, of which also included Doerr’s smart suggestions. But the grid gets shadier, yet it was a controversy that I had alerted to in 2010.

Just two weeks prior to President Obama signing the 2009-Recovery Act into law (February 2009), USA TODAY reported on a disturbing smart-grid revelation. Some of the nation's largest providers of electricity meters were “crying foul” over the smart-grid standards placed in the stimulus bill.

At issue were the “protocols and standards” that were part of the House version of the legislation for all smart-grid projects, which caused alarm and fueled obvious favoritism. The grievances warned that this measure "could put them out of business and wreak havoc in the new market for smart-grid technology by favoring certain computer network standards.” Meanwhile Ed Gray, vice president of regulatory affairs for smart-meter provider Elster, said "the bill gives a leg up to Silver Spring at the expense of other providers."

Interestingly, in March 2009, Jeff St. John from, quoted a statement made by Stuart Bush, an alternative energy analyst for RBC Capital Markets, "both Trilliant and Silver Spring (both smart-grid communications companies) could benefit from the way the stimulus plan was structured to require open standards." Bush also added, "Clearly the West Coast VC guys had a lot of lobby pull getting that in there."

Clearly… Gore and Doerr have White House access and influence, and now we can see that Foundation Capital does as well.

However, as the saying goes: "if you can't beat them, join them."

Apparently, some of those that complained about the “standards and protocols” have since joined forces with Silver Spring Networks via their Advanced Metering Partners, along with other stimulus winners such as General Electric, Landis+Gyr, OSIsoft, and others.

Silver Spring Customers Score Big-time: at Least $1.3 Billion of Free Taxpayer Money

With $11 billion of the clean-energy stimulus funds allocated for "Electric Grid Modernization," through, I was able to locate the following financial data: 
At any rate, here’s how the smart-grid transactions went down. In the summer of 2009, the Energy Department started dishing out $4.5 billion in smart-grid grants, whereas free taxpayer money was awarded to selected utility companies for particular smart-grid projects.

Back in 2010 when I began this Green Corruption journey, Silver Spring had twelve customers, of which at that time seven had received smart-grid grants. Since then, Silver Spring Networks has grown, and my January 2013 analysis of their 26 customers (plus Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative that received $18.8 million), found a new figure. Of their 26 customers listed, half are foreign, while the other thirteen are American, and all but one (PG&E) are confirmed winners –– calculations that find Silver Spring Networks is linked to at least $1.3 billion of stimulus smart-grid grants.

Here is the Breakdown of Silver Spring Networks' Customer List of Winners of Stimulus Smart-Grid Grants: 
  1. American Electric Power (AEP): $75 million for AEP Ohio gridSMARTSM Demonstration Project
  2. Baltimore Gas & Electric: $200 million to deploy a smart meter network and advanced customer control system for 1.1 million residential customers
  3. ComEd: $175 million for smart meters
  4. Florida Power & Electric was awarded $200 million for Energy Smart Florida
  5. Indianapolis Power & Light Company: $20 million to install more than 28,000 meters, including commercial, industrial and residential customers
  6. Maui Smart Grid Project: a “smart grid” renewable energy demonstration project, formed in June 2011, and is supported by the DOE through federal stimulus funding, of which I found $7 million, and in November 2011, Silver Spring Networks was selected to be part of this project.
  7. Modesto Irrigation District (MID): $1.5 million federal stimulus grant
  8. Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. received a $130 million stimulus grant for a 771,000 smart meter deployment
  9. Pepco Holdings Inc.: contracts for three ARRA grants totaling $168.1 million to advance smart-grid projects
  10. Progress Energy: $200 million to build a green Smart Grid virtual power plant through conservation, efficiency and advanced load shaping technologies,
  11. Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) is a unit of American Electric Power (AEP), which in March 2011, Silver Spring Networks rolled out the introduction of the gridSMART initiative program at Public Service Company of Oklahoma. PSO gridSMART®, where "the total cost of the project is estimated at $17.88 million. PSO was awarded an $8.7 million low-interest loan from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s federal stimulus fund, and $2 million is collected annually through base rates to support the project."
  12. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD): $127.5 million stimulus grant for a comprehensive regional smart-grid system.
(NOTE: Since my January 2013 report, Silver Spring Networks customer base is now at 28 with the following changes: AES Eletropaulo is no longer listed, yet there are three additions. Two foreign: Masers Energy, and SP PowerAssets, meanwhile CPS Energy carries its own Green Corruption tale that involves Landis+Gyr, the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Program, stimulus funds, and the 2012 DNC Keynote Speaker Julian Castro –– Obama’s pal, the rising Democrat star and Mayor of San Antonio, Texas.)

The OPower Connection

OPower is another Kleiner Perkins "smart green" investment that is indirectly benefiting from the $4.5 billion of smart grid grants that were doled out by the DOE as part of the 2009-stimulus package.

In July 2009, Obama met with OPower President and other energy leaders like two former cabinet members: Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, on creating green jobs. Then in June 2010, Opower, the energy efficiency and Smart Grid software, became part of AEP Ohio's "Smart Grid customer engagement strategy" (AEP Ohio’s gridSMARTSM Demonstration Project), which was funded with the Energy Department's smart grid money (Obama stimulus grants for advanced electricity-grid projects), and doled out in 2009  –– AEP Ohio's take, $75 million.

While Kleiner Perkins came aboard as an investor in OPower sometime in November 2011, my 2010 research reflects that Silver Spring (see full report above) had already formed a partnership with AEP, on AEP's initiative called gridSMARTSM. Directly from Silver Spring Networks site, it state, "the leader in networking technologies that modernize today’s power grid," states, "Indiana Michigan Power initiated its Smart Meter pilot project in South Bend, Indiana in late 2008. The initial success of that project led AEP Ohio to select Silver Spring for the expansion of its AEP Ohio gridSMARTSM Demonstration Project in northeast central Ohio."

Since then, OPower has made customers out of many of the utility companies that were winners of the smart grid grants, like AES –– Indianapolis Power & Light, Baltimore Gas & Electric, CenterPoint Energy, Commonwealth Edison, PG&E, Progress Energy, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, and much more. How much stimulus funds OPower is linked to would require further investigation.

Pacific Gas & Electric Packed with Washington Green Cronies: Invested Interest in $7.7 Billion of Energy Department Stimulus Loans

There are many other Green Corruption tales that stem from the Silver Spring’s customer list that we’ve covered such as American Electric Power and ComEd as well as Florida Power & Electric, to name a few. But due to the fact that PrivCo seemed concerned about PG&E in their Silver Spring IPO report, I'll give it some attention here.
Red Flag #6, PrivCo states, “Silver Spring has significant customer concentration issues. Over 79% of the company's revenues last year were from just 3 customers (see excerpt below). This business model is extremely unstable and could result in huge fluctuations in revenue going forward should any one or more customers cancel.”
It turns out that PG&E is the top customer for Silver Spring, yet I had reported that PG&E got the "cold shoulder" on the their smart-grid grant requests. However, with their high-powered connections all the way up to the president and inside the DOE, PG&E won a significant amount of stimulus money: at least sixteen to date and over $55 million.

Also, in December 2009, PG&E became part of $50 million smart-grid project "with neighboring utilities and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council." Coincidentally, the "WECC has sought $25 million in grants for one half of PG&E’s portion of the project from the Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."

Another interesting twist is that "PG&E is utilizing Silver Spring's technology for PG&E's SmartMeter™ Program to upgrade more than five million electrical customers in California," of which many California customers aren't happy. According to CBS Sacramento in February 2012, "Critics contend Smart Meters emit harmful levels of radiation." But guess what? PG&E gets to charge residential customers an "opt out fee" –– an initial fee of $75, plus up to $10 per month, which was approved by California Public Utilities Commission.

Exactly, more costs to us ratepayers...

Better yet, PG&E has an invested interest in "six solar projects that will sell power to PG&E, which have received a combined $5.5 billion in taxpayer-backed DOE loans," as exposed by the Washington Free Beacon, however, I found $7.7 billion.

While a more comprehensive post on PG&E's role in this green energy scheme can found in my April 11, 2013 post, here a few highlights...

PG&E maintains a strong political presence in Washington, D.C., and is actively involved in California politics as well. We’ve already highlighted their Democratic "cronyism footprint," of which much of it was exposed by the Beacon last March: “Pacific Gas & Cronyism: Politically connected utility plays corporate bully, makes bank on green energy...”

Furthermore, "former PG&E employees currently hold, or previously held, high-ranking government positions at the state and federal level, furthering the company’s influence," of which we know that Peter Darbee, then-CEO and chairman of PG&E, wasn't shy about using his leverage with his buddy President Obama on at least the $1.6 billion BrightSource Energy shady Energy Department deal.

The most controversial former PG&E employee to hold an influential government post is Cathy Zoi, the "DOE Insider," of which we've already tackled her direct ties to Serious Energy as well as Landis+Gyr, and we've established her as one of the “DOE Dirty Dozen" –– those inside the Energy Department with ties to tens of billions of clean-energy stimulus funds.

Smart Grid, Mixed Reviews

While some environmentalists are skeptical of the smart-grid hype, there are others on the Left labeling the smart grid as the greatest invention since sliced bread. However, we all know that Wonder bread turned out to be nothing but processed food and empty calories bad for your health and a huge detriment to your waistline. And here we are –– the taxpayer –– footing the bill on the front end of this technology ($11 billion for now), yet how much more will Americans have to pay for electricity in the long run?

With Smart grid hits and misses across the country, there are mixed reviews on the success of our government’s huge investment in modernizing the grid –– even with those in the industry "pessimistic about smart grid's future." Needless to say, only time will tell if the billions of taxpayer money the Obama administration funneled out will pay off: “The SGIG projects were launched in early 2010, and all projects are expected to complete equipment installation in the 2013–2014 time frame. Data analysis and reporting is expected to be completed by 2015,” says the Energy Department's July 2012 Progress Report, which seems to the latest DOE smart-grid Recovery Act data.

A November 2012 report by Dr. Timothy Schoechle of Boulder, Colorado –– "Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid" –– published by the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (NISLAPP) in Washington, D.C. came out with some key clams:
  • Smart meters do NOT contribute to a more reliable grid
  • Congress and ratepayers have been deliberately misled about the benefits of smart meters
  • The President's National Science and Technology Council "evidences a fundamental lack of understanding of… electricity and energy"
  • The decision by a few ratepayers in a few locations to opt out of smart meters heralds "and epochal transformation of the political economy of energy."
  • Investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are "unsustainable" and may eventually require a government bailout
Still, this green government program is not void of issues. The Energy Department’s Inspector General (IG), Gregory H. Friedman has provided a couple of critical audits: one was released in January 2012, outlining problems within the "management of the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program (SGIG) that “could jeopardize achievement of Recovery Act goals.” This past January, the IG (out of an audit of just a portion of the program) found “mismanagement of the smart-grid demonstration program that allocated $700 million mostly from the stimulus package,” of which the report found $12 million in questioned costs.

Smart Grid Springs Darkness 

While my task is following the green energy money, I'll reserve some of my opinion in this section, but there is a darker side to the smart grid that should be noted. In 2010, Jerome Corsi, New York Times bestselling author and senior staff reporter at World Net Daily, penned an indictment of the Smart Grid as the beginning of "energy police," "energy criminals," and a government invasion of privacy driven by a "green ideological agenda," and abetted by Google.

Recently, Marita Noon (my cohort in exposing President Obama's clean energy dirt, posted this last summer...
If you are not familiar with the Smart Grid, Brian Sussman’s book Eco-Tyranny offers an overview which includes this: “President Obama cleverly sold it like this: ‘We want to invest in the next-generation of high-speed wireless coverage for 98 percent of Americans. This isn’t just about a faster Internet or being able to friend someone on Facebook. It’s about connecting every corner of America to the digital age.’ The digital age Obama spoke of is the age of Big Brother monitoring your carbon footprint. The Smart Grid’s interactive broadband capability will enable your home’s PCT, HAN, and smart meter to be connected and communicating with your utility provider. Once complete, the utility company will be your government-sponsored Big Brother, constantly monitoring and regulating your carbon footprint. With a bureaucratic keystroke any electrical device in your home could be selectively turned off—or on—without your approval.
In case you don't buy into the darkness, consider this...
The Smart Grid is rolling out lickety split because all the right interest groups love it: Utilities like the idea of cutting labor costs and being able to manage electricity usage; environmentalists want to integrate renewables onto the grid while stimulating energy efficiency; manufacturers want to sell appliances; regulators are trying to forestall the electrical outages that already cost our economy $119 billion a year; Congress and the DOE wanted to throw money at such an eminently popular, modern, "smart," concept. This enthusiasm covers up the fact that there is no coherent ideology there at all, never mind a green one. And that's the problem: Nobody has bothered to explain why the Smart Grid is good for you and me and then turn that into a policy. 
Lisa Margonelli, the Atlantic November 19, 2010 
Besides Big Energy on the list of "big winners" in modernizing the American electric grid, in the midst there is another key special interest group profiting: "green" Venture Capitalists, and all with friends in the White House.

Landis+Gyr, Plus More Cathy Zoi Intel 

Let's briefly go back to Landis+Gyr, which brings me to more Intel on Cathy Zoi –– Al Gore's buddy, former "DOE Insider,” and now a partner at George Soros' Silver Lake Kraftwerk, which he formed in 2011.

Soros –– another Obama buddy –– is another "Recovery-Act author" who benefited tremendously from the stimulus package, which is well-documented in my March 23, 2013 post: Left-wing Billionaire George Soros: Obama’s "Agent of Green."

That's where I chronicled his dark money, his funding of an array of powerful left-wing groups who are also friendly with the Obama White House, and how he has bankrolled Obama victories since 2004. Inside his Green Corruption File is where we find that Soros' green tab exceeds $11 billion of stimulus money, and "we the taxpayer" footed the bill.

In August 2009, Las Vegas Hosted the National Clean Energy Summit
from Left to Right: John Podesta, Al Gore, Senator Harry Reid,
T. Boone Pickens, and Cathy Zoi 
Zoi's conflicts of interest rang out in 2010, exposing the fact that at the time of her 2009 nomination to her DOE post, "[she] held between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of stock in the company as they profited from her department’s policies." Zoi had also previously served as an Executive Director at Landis+Gyr before joining the Obama administration.

In the summer of 2012, the GOP came out with a scathing summary of "Obamanomics Outsourced," the truth about how President Obama shipped the Recovery overseas, of which they note that the “Swiss-based Landis+Gyr received over $50 million in stimulus contracts for their smart-grid meters."

I can't confirm or deny that $50 million figure, however, in November 2009, Landis gave the United States credit by stating, "most of [their] recent growth has been coming from U.S. business, citing unsurprisingly the stimulus package," wrote 

During the course of my research I remember a 2010 "announcement" that stated, "Landis+Gyr has recently signed a number of major contracts with leading North American utilities, including Texas-based Oncor, AEP Texas, Pepco Holdings and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District." Additionally, a June 2010 Press Release comes to mind when Landis had signed a huge contract with CPS Energy "to deploy Landis+Gyr's Gridstream™ smart grid solution for its more than one million electric and natural gas customers in San Antonio, Texas." 

Remember I hinted about Julian Castro, Obama’s pal, the rising Democrat star and Mayor of San Antonio, Texas? Well Mr. Castro sits (or sat) on the board of CPS Energy, but we'll save that for another time.

Also, we know that both CPS and Landis are in cahoots with Silver Spring, and I can confirm that the aforementioned utility companies received stimulus funds, but I would have to dig deeper to unravel what the money was for and how it connects to Landis and/or CPS Energy. Interesting enough, in 2011 Landis+Gyr was acquired by the Toshiba Corporation for $2.3 billion in cash.

Zoi's conflicts seem even deeper, and go beyond her connection to Al Gore and her invested interest in Landis and Serious Energy. According the Washington Examiner, there could have been another scandal that I missed, of which Tim Carney had this to say, "The pedigree of Zoi's former special assistant focused on giving out stimulus money, Peter Roehrig, also deserves scrutiny." From what I gather it boils down to this, "Her former special assistant, Roehrig, joined DOE's renewable energy office from the U.S. Renewable Energy Group. The latter is a company founded by lobbyists who saw they could pocket taxpayer dollars by acting as cutouts for Chinese windmill barons trying to get their hands on stimulus money."

More Serious Ties and Trouble 

“The story of Serious Energy is a metaphor for Obama’s political career, featuring strong-arm union tactics, corrupt Chicago politicians, crony capitalism, and media propaganda,” claimed in 2012.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, in March of 2009 Serious was strongly endorsed by the White House. 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. One window company was on the list: Serious Materials for $548,100, and as mentioned earlier, Serious also benefited from the HOMESTAR program, also known as cash for caulkers.

However, by October 2009, Serious was in trouble, and by May 2010, it was clear that Serious Energy was a mess –– one called the “Weatherization Underground.” 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. While Serious said it would keep making its efficient windows at plants in Pennsylvania and Colorado, it also painted a pretty bleak picture of the business at present.”

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."

Besides Foundation Capital and Cathy Zoi, there are other Serious ties such as another Sanjay Wagle, another Obama buddy and "DOE Insider.” Wagle was an Obama fundraiser for the 2008 campaign through his Clean Tech for Obama group. After the 2008 election, he joined the Obama administration as a “renewable energy grants advisor” at the Department of Energy under Secretary Chu (reported to be at the ARPA-E program at the DOE).

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Wagle was a principal at VantagePoint Venture Partners, a cleantech venture capital firm, where Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a Partner and Senior Advisor. However, according to some Greentech defenders, "Wagle gave up any interests in VantagePoint and the companies it invested in before joining DOE," and left the DOE sometime in 2012.

That may be true (although I'd like to see the proof), but it's not a stretch to surmise that in his new role at the Energy Department that he would help his partners, especially since Wagle was part of the September 22, 2009, Valerie Jarrett "CLEAN ENERGY SUMMIT" held at the White House, whereas "attendees [had] struck gold, cashing in on $5.3 billion in taxpayer funds from the Obama administration." This was as of June 5, 2012, but I found much more.

Part of that "gold rush" included Vantage Point's portfolio, of which the last time I checked six months ago, had nine green firms that snagged green-government subsidies: Telsa Motors, BrightSource Energy and its $1.6B Shady DOE Deal as well as Serious Energy. Meanwhile there others tied to "green allies" that were huge winners of "green" taxpayer money, with four Kleiner Perkins investments as well: Amprius, FloDesign, Mascoma, and MiaSole'.

Foundation Capital, Another Friend of the Obama White House and Big Winner of Green Money: 12 green energy firms, of which 60 percent winners totaling over $175 million of taxpayer money, and that does not take into account Silver Spring Network's $1.3 billion in contracts related to the smart-grid grants.

Like many of Obama's friends  –– bundlers, top donors, etc. –– this  “Elite Green Group” has one thing in common; they have enjoyed multiple taxpayer-funded stimulus loans, grants and special tax breaks. This list includes Big Venture Capital, Big Energy, Big Wind, as well as high-powered left-wing organizations like the Center for American Progress. Some I've already tackled like Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, VantagePoint, Kholsa Ventures, The Westly Group, Perseus, L.L.C, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, BP Alternative, George Soros and so on.

Today we add Foundation Capital to that special club.

#1 through #2)
Silver Spring Networks and its $1.3 billion stimulus contracts as well as Serous Energy ($548,100 stimulus tax credit and possibly more) were not the only stimulus winners from Foundation Capital’s Cleantech Portfolio.

#3 and #4)
Two more that are also Kleiner Perkins investments raked in funds as well: Aquion Energy won a $5 million grant, which was part of the "$1.6 billion package supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the private sector to support Smart Grid projects nationwide". Then there is Transphorm Inc (a Foundation Capital investment) and Enphase Energy, Inc., which collectively received over $9 million in grants from ARPA-E program funded by the 2009-Stimulus

AutoGrid in an October 2012 Press Release, it was noted that they had won more than $5 million from the “ARPA-E, the advanced projects research agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, and the California Energy Commission,” which occurred sometime in October 2011.

CalStar Products Inc, who develops, manufactures, and sells sustainable building products, in January 2010, was awarded a $2.44M tax credit to open a green brick and paver plan in Wisconsin, which expected “to bring 35 new green jobs to Racine County in the next two years.” This was another stimulus created idea –– the Section 48C program, which provided a 30 percent tax credit for investments in 183 manufacturing facilities for clean energy products across 43 states.

Needless to say, like many of these Green Corruption pieces, CalStar opens more clean-energy dirt, and where we find another Obama buddy and "DOE Insider." Steve Westly, the founder and managing partner of The Westly Group, is a two-time Obama bundler, sat on his campaign’s National Finance Committee, and was a co-chair of the 2012 Technology for Obama group. He was briefly considered for a cabinet level position in the Obama administration, and in August 2010, Westly secured a top advisory role inside the DOE, close to Energy Secretary Chu.

In 2011, Westly was tagged as the "Green bundler with the golden touch" where IWatch points to a trail of [green] loans, grants and tax breaks. However, my latest analysis in January 2013, found more: with 20 firms listed (exited and current), I found that at least 50 percent of The Westly Group portfolio were winners of the Obama green energy giveaway.

Sentient Energy, Inc. “equips the Smart Grid with Eyes and Ears, making it much more reliable and sustainable,” states their website. And while I can’t locate any direct stimulus funds, it seems they have a partnership with Silver Spring Networks as well as General Electric as part of GE’s Ecomagination program –– both with friends in high places and both huge stimulus winners (John Doerr and Jeffrey Immelt from President Obama’s ultra-rich “retired” Jobs Council).

SunRun, “the nation's leading residential solar electricity provider,” last December became one of a trio of solar companies under investigation “to determine whether the companies accurately reported the market value of their costs when applying for federal reimbursement, which was calculated at one-third of the costs,” reported the Washington Post.

Ironically, while all three –– SolarCity, SunRun, and Sungevity –– are competitors, they all “boast investors with significant ties to the Obama White House,” noted the Heritage Foundation. Translation: all three have friends in high places, and together the three companies reportedly have claimed more than $500 million in taxpayer support,” while "SolarCity has applied for $341 million in grants," reported Fox News.

Now, I've covered SolarCity a few times, here and most recently in my Citigroup’s Massive 'Green' Money Machine post, and now through research of just the 1603 stimulus grants, I found that SunRun was awarded 21 grants, across 10 states for over $140 million free taxpayer money.

Plus in 2010, SunRun announced a $100 million joint program with major utility Pacific Gas & Electric, which according to Venture Beat, “PG&E will be funding the rooftop systems in question via its subsidiary, Pacific Energy Capital II, a tax equity fund,” of which “In lieu of traditional returns, the investor — PG&E in this case — gets tax benefits in addition to some cash returns.”

Foundation Capital Opens Up a New Can of Worms 

Since this story leads us to three DOE Insiders –– Cathy Zoi, Sanjay Wagle, and Steve Westly, and with so many hands in the cookie jar, it's difficult to pinpoint who had the most influence, but I can confirm there are at least twelve DOE Officials (also those from Obama's Green Team) that directly benefited from the Obama administration’s green energy policies and the $100 billion earmarked for renewable energy as well as other clean energy funds from various budgets and departments. And while we've stumbled upon others in various posts like Kristina Johnson, Steve Spinner, and Van Jones as well as the enablers like Steven Chu, Carol Browner, Jonathan Silver and Matt Rogers, there is more of the "DOE Dirty Dozen" Green Corruption file yet to open, and I hope to get it out by next fall. 

But now we get to EnerNOC, which interesting enough, was listed on the Foundation Capital cleantech portfolio when I printed it out over a week ago, but now I find that two are missing from that list: EnerNOC and Ventiva.

Venture Beat describes EnerNOC as “one of the leading players in the demand response space,” which apparently is some sort of fancy technology for the smart grid. The Beat, in 2009 reported, “Foundation Capital was attempting to dial down its ownership in the Boston-based company, of which they had been the lead investor in EnerNOC’s second round of funding in 2005, leading the $7.75 million raised with $5 million.”

It turns out that EnerNOC went public in 2007, and in November 2011 USA Today did an analysis noting that the “Stimulus funds helped some stocks soar,” of which EnerNOC (and others I’m familiar with) was on that list. However, what most don’t know is that just over a year prior that report, the State of Massachusetts proudly announced, “Utilizing $10 million in stimulus funds, the DOER awarded a contract to Boston-based EnerNOC to implement a comprehensive Enterprise Energy Management System (EEMS).”

From this particular renewable energy firm, we find another White House friend, which as usual, leads to more clean-energy dirt: TJ Glauthier, who was an advisor to SunRun, also serves on the Boards of Directors of three companies, including EnerNOC.

Why is he relevant?

Well, Mr. Glauthier is a "Strategic Advisor” for Solayzyme –– you know part of "President Obama’s Algae Racket," which not only includes a firm tied to Bill Gates, another carbon tax pusher in cahoots with Secretary Chu. Gates is an investor in Sapphire Energy that received a $54.4 million loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture and $50 million grant from the DOE.

But that’s not the bombshell here…we're used to billionaires getting taxpayer money for their pet projects...

In December 2009, South San Francisco-based Solazyme Inc. won $22 million as part the “government’s $600 million advanced biorefinery project stimulus award.” And three years later, December 2012, “The U.S. Navy was forced to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuels from an Obama-connected firm at an outrageous $16 per gallon,” wrote

Besides the absurdity, you should know “Solazyme's ties to the White House and the Democratic establishment in Washington are myriad,” with their “officials including Glauthier having contributed at least $360,000 to Democrats since 2007," noted Michelle Malkin in March of last year.

But it gets better…

Glauthier, whose past includes the Clinton administration, and of all places the Department of Energy, was a member of the Obama presidential transition team, and worked — shock, shock — “on the energy-sector portion of the 2009 stimulus bill." And wait –– Glauthier is tied to more money from the taxpayer-funded Green Bank of Obama.

Stay tuned for the next Green Corruption File to be released on our “Gang of Eight” stimulus crafters…

But I’ll close with this…

As I began this long and twisted tale, Mr. Paul Holland of Foundation Capital, whose General Partner Steve Vassallo has an friend in the White House and of their 12 green energy firms that I analyzed, 60 percent received stimulus related green-government subsides, in the form of grants and special tax credits totaling at least $175 million of taxpayer money. Meanwhile the main focus of this post, Silver Spring Networks –– of which Foundation Capital is the majority stakeholder –– was propped up, and it was only possible through Obama’s Recovery Act and $1.3 billion in smart-grid grants.

It's nice to be a friend of the Obama administration –– financial rewards are part of the benefits, but I'd rather leave you with this commercial break, and Mr. Holland's sentiment when he heard about the billions of stimulus dollars up for grabs. 

When asked, “how can we all make some money off of that?" Holland responds...
Yeah, that's big question. So I guess I would just peel it back to a couple of weeks before I was at the Wall Street Journal's Economics Conference and Matt Rogers who probably a number of you know came in and was doing a talk and this is going to be a little off collar so I don't want to get in trouble for this. He came in to do his talk and opened his talk with, 'I'm Matt Rogers I am the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Energy and I have $134 billion that I have to disperse between now and the end of December.' So upon hearing that I sent an email to my partners that said Matt Rogers is about to get treated like a hooker dropped into a prison exercise yard.
Crude? Yes, but sadly I think this is the mentality behind our government officials and those partaking in corporate welfare. Worse, they think it’s funny. Oh and by the way, Steve Westly was there too, laughing....

Up Next

Stay tuned for the next Green Corruption File to be unleashed: "The RAT in the Recovery and the Gang of Eight," of which we've already exposed six. This "gang” consists of three very influential groups. General Electric through the 2008, 2009 DOE Electricity Advisory Committee, which includes other green stimulus winners like NextEra Energy and American Electric Power (AEP) –– of which all three have made out like bandits.

Further down the line is the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), which also contains as its member, many winners from the Green Bank of Obama, and we noted in our Citigroup columns.

On our journey, we've exposed John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins and our new Secretary of State, Climate Hawk Senator John Kerry's part in crafting the 2009-Recovery Act –– then ultimately benefiting via Kleiner Perkins.

In March we tackled the Left-wing Billionaire George Soros, Obama’s "Agent of Green," who interesting enough not only heavily backed candidate Kerry in 2004, but also bankrolled Barack Obama’s campaign victories. Soros also funds the Apollo Alliance –– a left-wing organization who exerts powerful influence on the views and policies of the Obama administration, of which I had alerted to in 2010 that boasted of writing Obama's trillion-dollar spending spree.

Since today I gave you a sneak peek into TJ Glauthier, another member of the “gang of eight,” I'll pick up with his part in my next installment. And even though I sounded the alarm on the Apollo Alliance in 2010, I'll be revisiting them along with Obama’ left-wing radical friend and former green jobs Czar Van Jones.

Last but not least, we'll dive into McBee Strategic Consulting, of which Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner, in March of 2011 had this to say, "K Street is the epicenter of this green-industrial complex, and ground zero might be the firm founded by Democratic revolving-door earmark lobbyist Steve McBee, who reportedly wrote key provisions in the stimulus bill to open the spigot of green corporate welfare." 

And I'll be busting open those 150 internal e-mails released by the House Oversight last fall, which not only revealed a series of questionable practices, including coercion, cronyism and cover ups at the Department of Energy, but it incriminates McBee Consulting as a major player in the midst of this green-energy scheme.

Two Women (one Citizen & one energy Columnist) join forces on One Mission: to expose one chunk of this Green Corruption scandal at a time.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Americans Bothered By the Way our Government Spends Taxes: Billions Burned on Obama's Green Energy

SPECIAL NOTE: This was first published at as
"On Earth Day, Let's Waste More Money," and at the Heartland Institute on April 24, 2013, by Marita Noon –– my cohort in exposing President Obama's clean- energy dirt. However, considering additional taxpayer-funded green energy issues have emerged, I'll make be some adjustments as well as updates.

Following Ms. Noon's column I'll be amending our 2012 list of taxpayer-funded green energy failures, of which at that time I had documented 52 (23 bankrupt and 29 troubled) ––  at least $15 billion of green taxpayer money either gone or at risk. With additional research, by the summer of 2013, we may hit a new total of 60, marking the billions burned on Obama's green energy agenda as outrageous!

Americans Bothered By the Way the Government Spends Taxes

Every year, April 15 is tax day, and that day has come and gone –– with most Americans feeling the sting. A while ago, the morning’s news shows featured last minute tax tips and other tax-related information. In case you missed the new poll that was discussed... When asked: “Thinking about paying taxes, which one of the following bothers you the most?” Surprisingly, “What you pay” received the lowest response, while the “Way the government spends taxes” was the highest. “Feeling that some don’t pay fair share” was near the top and “Complexity of system and forms” was near the bottom.” So people understand that it takes money to run the government and generally don’t object to paying their taxes. It is what the government does with that money that frustrates us.

When asked about the way government spends taxes, responders were likely thinking of the green-energy crony-corruption spending on flawed ventures like Solyndra and the, now, fifty-plus other green-energy embarrassments that received taxpayer dollars as a result of President Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill (as well as other green-energy funds) that poured nearly $100 billion into the pet projects of his donors.

Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in September 2011. It was just the bellwether; the first of many to come.

A year later Christine Lakatos and I profiled nearly 20 green-energy stimulus-funded companies that had gone bankrupt. The next week, we highlighted the other bookend: “companies/projects that received funding from various loan guarantee programs (LGP), grants, and tax incentives. These are projects that are still functioning, but are facing difficulties.” One of those troubled companies was A123 Systems. One week after our report, A123 filed for bankruptcy. Nearly two months later, A123 was purchased by a large Chinese auto parts maker that has renamed the lithium-ion battery company B456.

Update: A123/B456’s biggest customer is another company on our troubled list: Fisker Automotive—manufacturer of the $100,000+ electric sports car made in Finland—is now facing bankruptcy itself after efforts to find a Chinese investor “stalled.” And we covered the April 24, 2013 Congressional Hearing: Failing Fisker Auto Finally Faces House Oversight Hearing: Chairman Jordan Exposes Another DOE Junk Loan, Declares, "Fisker should have never received taxpayer money”

Wait. In his 2008 campaign, didn’t Obama promise to “create five million new energy jobs over the next decade––jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced”? But our taxpayer dollars created jobs in Finland and have benefited a Chinese company—Obamanomics outsourced. No wonder the “way the government spends taxes” tops the list. And most have no idea that the Obama administration is responsible for steering billions of our tax dollars from the stimulus and other clean energy programs to foreign-owned entities, of which big chunk was doled out in the form of free cash via the 1603 stimulus grant program.

But there’s more—new news the poll respondents probably didn’t even know about.

One day after the poll was taken, CNN Money reports: “China’s Suntech Power has put its largest subsidiary into bankruptcy.” What they don’t mention is that China’s Suntech Power benefited from Obama’s 2009 Stimulus Bill—receiving a $2.1 million credit from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit. (Suntech was included in our 2012 “troubled” list.) In her blog, The Green Corruption Files, Lakatos states: “according to the Heritage Foundation, in November 2012, Suntech shed some employees, claiming that it was the ‘U.S. International Trade Commission’s 35.95% tariff on Chinese solar panels that was partially responsible for the 50 impending layoffs at its Arizona production facilities.’” Suntech was even blamed for the Solyndra debacle. In December 2011, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported: “China’s major solar panel companies—whose low-cost products led some American factories to close, helped create the Solyndra controversy, and spawned talk of a trade war—were bankrolled in the United States by the world’s largest investment banks.” Those “investment banks” include some the same ones we have profiled in our previous reports that have deep ties to the Obama campaign and administration, and many green-energy projects that received loans, grants, and special tax breaks representing billions in stimulus money.

Suntech has more interconnections. Arizona’s Mesquite Solar Project, which received $337 million in taxpayer money despite its non-investment grade rating by Fitch, was to be built with Suntech’s solar panels and the power was to be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric—which has strong political presence in Washington, DC, and connections to billions in stimulus funds. California’s PG&E, a company with “an extensive network of former high-ranking employees holding influential positions in government agencies at the federal and state level, has benefited handsomely from government financing of green energy projects.” The most controversial former PG&E employee to hold an influential government post is Cathy Zoi, a former energy analyst for the company, who we profiled in our report on George Soros.

There is much more that can be found in Lakatos' Suntech report.

Another sparsely reported solar-power embarrassment was covered by Fox News on the same day the aforementioned poll was taken. “SoloPower, which makes thin-film solar panels at a new plant in Portland, OR, opened September 27 with an upbeat ribbon-cutting ceremony. Local and state politicians gushed about the company eventually operating four production lines and creating 450 well-paid green jobs.” After its grand opening just months ago, SoloPower’s power is waning: “The first production line was never completed,” and “in January, the company had a round of layoffs.”

This is not a surprise to those of us who watch the green-energy crony-corruption scandal. SoloPower was one of the worst-rated loans. One month before it received a $197 million loan guarantee to “support the retrofit of an existing building to operate a thin-film solar panel manufacturing facility in Portland, OR,” Standard and Poors (S&P) gave SoloPower a credit rating of CCC+.

As uncovered and exposed by Lakatos on April 1st regarding SoloPower, the March 2012, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a report titled “The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs” which states: “S&P predicted that SoloPower will fail to meet its debt obligations.” DOE emails, released on October 31, 2012, reveal that James McCrea, Senior Credit Advisor at the Loan Programs Office, called SoloPower “a completely uninspiring project.”

Yet, in addition to the $197 million of US taxpayer money SoloPower was given from the DOE through the 1705 LGP, this European firm also received $40 million from Oregon taxpayers. Then in December 2012, “despite unfulfilled job and production promises and signs the Portland solar panel factory was sliding even further behind,” Oregon officials tripled the “taxpayer’s stake,” said the OregonianBusiness Oregon approved a $20 million tax credit for SoloPower—which SoloPower then exchanged for $13.5 million in cash. After a management shake-up, Fox News reports, SoloPower is “trying to raise money by selling some of its equipment through a third party and is attempting to restructure its $197 million federal loan guarantee.”

Update: On April 22, the Oregonian’s headline read: “SoloPower moves to power down Portland factory, gut remaining workforce.”

With the bad credit rating, the “uninspiring” label, and poor performance, why did SoloPower receive federal, state, and city funding—ultimately paid by the taxpayers? Because as the Oversight Committee report states: “What SoloPower lacked in economic value, it made up for in political connections.”

Suntech and SoloPower are just two recent stories; part of a long list of bankrupt and/or “troubled” politically connected green-energy projects.

When President Obama released his FY2014 budget, it included new spending of nearly $1 billion “to support deployment and long-term development in the clean energy industries.” Renewable Energy World appears gleeful. “It’s been said before and it bears repeating that Obama has done more for solar than any previous US President.” And: “The support of the federal government has led to an explosion in the amount of solar across America.” Do you think?

In contrast, Tom Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, pointed out that the budget “represents the administration’s desire to double down on bad energy policy.” And, “calls for fast-track permitting for renewables” while never mentioning the Keystone pipeline. Pyle concludes his comments by saying: the President “hopes that the American people will forget the failures of the past four years, higher gasoline prices, skyrocketing electricity rates, bankrupt renewable firms, and billions in wasted taxpayer money on politically connected industries.”

No wonder the “way the government spends taxes” tops the list of taxpayer’s frustrations. Perhaps if “government’s inability to learn from its mistakes” had been on the list, it would have been the number one choice.


Our 2012 Green Alert: taxpayer-funded green energy failures list placed the total at 52 –– 23 bankrupt and 29 troubled, with at least $15 billion of "green" taxpayer money either gone or at risk.

Today I will only be updating our green energy taxpayer-backed bankrupt list, and over the summer I'll be evaluating the 29 projects or firms, which I had documented as having issues: financial, project delays, environmental, corruption probes, and otherwise. This will ensure that we give an honest assessment, tally and dollar amount. But at this point in time, while I can remove a few –– some into the bankrupt column, others are doing worse, and some are doing better –– there are more to add.

We can now remove Suntech out of the troubled category and place them in our bankrupt list. Meanwhile we can't officially add SoloPower and Fisker to our bankrupt list, but we've moved them to our new category: "On the Verge of Going Bust and Bailouts," which includes taxpayer-funded companies that were financially struggling to stay alive, and eventually got "bailed out" (the majority by foreign companies).

Then there is the story of how "America's most storied Fortune 500 corporation, Honeywell, "created a mere 10 jobs with a $25 million grant (to be used by Honeywell's UOP subsidiary to build a biofuels technology demonstration plant in Oahu, Hawaii) under President Obama's economic stimulus program in 2010" –– a cost of $2.5 million per job. And why is the DOE "withholding records on a Wyoming carbon-capture project that snagged almost $10 million in economic stimulus grants from the DOE?" It's undergoing a legal investigation. 

Additionally, we can give more data on my list of taxpayer-backed green energy companies that were in distress. One in particular is Bloom Energy, which I had reported received $5 million in taxpayer money, but it was more like $70 million in federal grants and $200 million in funding from the state of California. It turns out that in February of this year, they were "fined for illegally paying employees in pesos."

While GM's Chevy Volt, "the poster child for President Obama's push to electrify America's auto fleet," is still suffering from a poor performance, there is a more positive case to share. This past February, Telsa Motors made an encouraging announcement at an event, "Tesla will pay off our Department of Energy (DOE) loan five years early, twice as fast as required by the original 2010 loan agreement signed by Tesla and the DOE."

This came despite reports that have painted a different scenario and grim future for Telsa. In October 10, 2012: The DOE restructured its loan to Tesla and in December 20, 2012, Market Watch reported, "Tesla will need more loans to stay afloat in 2013." As of late, Forbes noted another key issue; "The problem with putting $465 million of taxpayer money at risk to back Tesla is that producing this particular toy for the rich does absolutely nothing to further the ostensible goals of the program, which are fighting climate change and achieving energy security."

We'll give Telsa the luxury of removing them from our troubled category, but they'll stay on our radar –– after all this is Steve Westly's investment, the Energy Department's buddy, and Obama's "Green bundler with the golden touch." So it shouldn't be too difficult to track.

May 12, 2013 Update: just after I posted this blog, two more taxpayer-funded green firms hit the news: First Solar (with good news) and Vehicle Production Group (VPG). So, our new numbers as of May of 2013 reflect 25 bankrupt, four about to go under, and if we keep those that are having issues the same (at 29), then by the time I complete my new investigative report, the latest taxpayer-funded green energy failure list could hit 60 –– with almost bankrupt.

What a difference six months makes...

Keep in mind that many of these renewable energy projects won't be completed until 2014, and if it wasn't for the GOP busting open the Solyndra scandal, much more money would have been doled out of the Energy Department. Lastly, we know that additional funds are allocated for green energy, and the president is demanding more –– so the billions of taxpayer money burned on Obama's green energy total may not be realized for some time.

If you've been following my blog, The Green Corruption Files, you know that since 2009 I've been tracking President Obama's trillion-dollar stimulus spending spree, of which at least $90 billion was earmarked for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and doled out through various programs and agencies.

While most of my work on the green energy failures is from my time-consuming research, I did steal some from the Heritage Foundation October 2012 Report, President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures, and back then those I couldn't confirm were marked. However, with days of digging, I've fixed many and have produced an extremely comprehensive and up to date list. 

The first three, as well as Fisker, Vehicle Production Group, and SoloPower –– all three on the verge of going under –– are from the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program (Section 1703, the stimulus created Section 1705, and the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing), of which I will highlight and have further comments on this program at the end of this report. What's important to note at this time is that of since 2009, the Obama's Energy Department have doled out (more like steered to their green cronies) $34.5 billion of taxpayer money, which have funded 33 projects.

Meanwhile the rest of the taxpayer funds came from various loans, grants and special tax breaks –– federal and state, with the majority paid out from the 2009-Recovery Act. Yet, additional energy funds were allocated for President Obama's expensive and aggressive climate change agenda. Also, the ones marked with an asterisks* are proven to have meaningful political connections (with cronyism proof provided throughout my blog and more specifically for the failures in my Special Report Part One and Part Two: Obama, the Green Loser; Cronyism Inc.), of which the majority are tied to the president and other high-ranking Democrats with a few Republicans in the mix.

NOTE: "Obama Money" is marked in red and there is a specific reason I am keeping the DOE loans at the beginning of each list, which I will be addressing soon.
  1. Solyndra*: In September 2009 Solyndra received $535 million 1705 DOE loan and $25.1 million in California tax credit. Bankrupt: September 2011
  2. Beacon Power*: In August 2010 they snagged a 1705 DOE loan for $43 million. Additionally, Beacon received at least $25 million in grants from the DOE and the state of Pennsylvania for a 20-megawatt plant in that state, plus $2.2 million from the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) –– created in 2007 under the Bush administration, whose funding was increased under the Obama administration. Bankrupt: October 2011 
  3. Abound Solar*: Received part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration, and in December 2010 was awarded a $400 million 1705 DOE loan under Obama. Additionally, Abound was awarded a $9.2 million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011. Bankrupt: June 2012
  4. A123 Systems*: Received $390 million, of which $249 million of it was a 2009-Recovery Act grant. Filed for Bankruptcy 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.
  5. Amonix*: Amonix solar manufacturing plant was subsidized by more than $20 million in federal tax credits and grants: 15.6 million grant from the DOE in 2007 for research and development, and in 2010, a $5.9 million investment tax credit from the 2009-Stimulus via the SunShot Initiative. Bankrupt: July 18, 2012
  6. Azure Dynamics*: In March 2011 was awarded $5.4 million from the DOE and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits. Plus, Azure Dynamics received a four-year contract from the Government Services Administration for about $112 million. Bankrupt: March 27, 2012
  7. Babcock & Brown: The Australian company –– as the project owner –– in December 2009 received $178 million 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-Stimulus. Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009
  8. Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: Received $480,000 through the Advanced Energy Project Credit (IRC 48C), which was enacted by the 2009-Stimulus. 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 Obama words, "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, Cardinal Fastener was acquired by Germany’s Wurth Group for just $3.9 million.
  9. Ener1*: In August 2009 Ener1 received $118.5 million DOE grant as 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 goes bust.
  10. 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 had 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, in November 2011 500 hundred employees from that firm were laid off. In February 2012, both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
  11. Evergreen Solar, Inc.*: This was one of President Obama's pet projects that received stimulus funds, grants, tax-credits, low-interest loans and subsidies; however, we can't confirm the exact amount nor the dates. Yet we did report on the major connection as well as the date they went BUST, August 15, 2011, and adding to the insult were reports of 800 USA job losses, while moving their "green jobs" and entire company to China.
  12. Konarka Technologies Inc* (cronyism not documented in my previous report, but I just found it: Good Energies): According to their own website, Konarka has 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 the 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 February 2009, they secured $5 million loan for "manufacturing and job creation" from the state of Massachusetts and President Obama included Konarka among 183 clean energy companies that got $2.3 billion in tax credits as part of the 2009-Stimulus. Bankrupt: May 31, 2012.
  13. Mountain Plaza, Inc.: In a convoluted green corruption case, Mountain Plaza –– with it owners long track record of troubles 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) bankruptcy date was June 3, 2010, with the stimulus money awarded 12 days later.
  14. Nordic WindPower*: In July 2009, Nordic WindPower was offered a conditional commitment for $16 million from the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program (created by the 2009-Recovery Act) 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, sometime before June 2010, they did receive $3 million from DOE / Treasury, Clean Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C) –– only to go bust in October 2012. 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
  15. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company: In January 2010 (after Olsen went bust a first time in Jan 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 from West Pointe Bank." 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
  16. Range Fuels*: Received $162.25 million in government commitments since 2007, of which $64 million came from a USDA Biofuel loan in 2010 alone, whose programs are "authorized through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, and fall into four categories." This loan was awarded despite financial and technical difficulties, and opposition inside the USDA. 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. 
  17. Raser Technologies: In February 2010 Raser received $33 million (free taxpayer money) from the 1603 Grant Program, which was implemented as part of the 2009-Stimulus and administered by the Treasury Department. Bankrupt: May 2, 2011
  18. ReVolt Technology: In June 2010, Revolt was awarded a $5 million grant from the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which was funded by the 2009-Stimulus. 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 "Green Graveyard" when it declared bankruptcy on October 17, 2012, 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 last November. 
  19. Satcon Technology Corporation: Satcon, also tracked by the Heritage Foundation, is another solar company, which in January 2012 snagged a $3 million grant from the DOE's ARPA-E (program noted above). "Satcon also received smaller federal payments for various solar initiatives at DOE." Then October 17, 2012 they filed for bankruptcy.
  20. SpectraWatt* –– a closely held solar cell manufacturer backed by units of Intel Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group –– in 2009, secured a $500,000 grant from the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the federally funded lab which in 2009, got $300 million in stimulus funds. While the NREL has its own issues and corruption, and I had listed them in my 2012 Green Alert list in the troubled category, SpectraWatt went bankrupt on August 23, 2011. In fact Colorado's –– noting that they are "infamous for top salaries of more than $500,000 a year" and some craziness –– 
    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."
  21. Stirling Energy Systems: As reported by the Energy Policy Center in late 2011, "One of the major players was Arizona-based Stirling Energy Systems out of Scottsdale, which was to provide the technology for Tessera Solar of Texas to move forward with the massive
    Imperial Valley Solar Project in Imperial County, California." While in October 2010, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was excited to expedite this (fast-track approval) as the first solar energy project on public land; he also announced that it was expected to "secure approximately $638 million through the Recovery Act." And in October 2010, the UT San Diego reported that this project 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 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 went bust on September 28, 2011. NOTE: Stirling was also part of another large solar project in California (the Calico Solar Project), and we do and this Imperial Valley project (formerly called SES Solar Two Project but changed to its name to Imperial Valley Solar LLC in February 2010) has been plagued with lawsuits and issues –– both will require more research.
  22. 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
  23. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group(cronyism connection not documented in my previous report but I just found it; former Ohio Governor Democrat Ted Strickland): While Willard & Kelsey denied receiving any DOE or stimulus money, Paul Chesser of the National Legal and Policy Center took issue, and like many of these projects, digging is required: "Reports posted at the 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 went to Willard & Kelsey." Not in dispute is the fact that WK Solar Group, despite money woes since 2009, got a handful of high-powered Democrat endorsement and snagged millions of dollars from Ohio taxpayers.  Since 2009, a total of $15 million were approved in loans, a small $500,000 grant, and they were approved for millions in state tax breaks –– the grant and the $5 million came from Ohio's Department of Development. Bankruptcy: I still can't confirm, however, the most recent report on the situation (which didn't look good in April of 2012) that I found is by the Blade dated November 11, 2012, which paints a dim picture of this company, and the odds Ohio getting its money back are bleak. And um, and it seems that nobody is home...
  24. 2013 NEW/ SunTech*: Received $2.1 million credit from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit, and then on March 21, 2013, CNN Money reported: “China’s Suntech Power has put its largest subsidiary into bankruptcy.” Yet I chronicled much more on SunTech due to the fact that they were the  contractor to the Mesquite Solar project in Arizona, which in September 2011, was the recipient of a DOE $337 million "junk loan"  ––  complete with tons of cronyism and more. 
  25. 2013 NEW/ Flagbeg Solar U.S.: Last month, 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 Program: NextEra 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 it seems that $10.2 million of it came in the form of tax credits from the Obama administration (you know via the stimulus created Section 48C). 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...
On the Verge of Going Bust and Bailouts as of May 2013 
NOTE: 29 Troubled at the end of 2012: new calculations coming this summer 
  1. SoloPower*: On April 1st I had ranted about SoloPower and its $250 million DOE "junk loan," from the stimulus-created 1705 program. Then on April 22, the Oregonian’s headline read: “SoloPower moves to power down Portland factory, gut remaining workforce.”
  2. Nevada Geothermal Power Company, Inc. (Blue Mountain)*: Received a $98.5 million loan guarantee from the 1705, plus $69 million in federal stimulus-funded grants. In October 2012, I noted that last July the Washington Times reported that the power at Nevada Geothermal (NGP) was dimming and may be the next green energy bankruptcy. At the end of September 2012, Bloomberg followed up: NGP "may transfer ownership to a lender after projecting the facility will produce less power than expected." And sure enough NRG's Blue Mountain got another bailout, as their first was from the Energy Department back in 2010 when they approved this $98.5 million loan –– a fact we noted last summer when we covered Senator Harry Reid’s part in green-energy crony-corruption. Just this month financial news reported that Blue Mountain had owed almost $200 million to its private lenders, and that NGP "has completed the sale of the Blue Mountain Geothermal Project to funds managed by EIG Global Energy Partners, LLC, the mezzanine lender for the project, pursuant to an equity and collateral transfer agreement." We'll have to check to see if they will be paying back the taxpayers, but they did get a makeover, and as of April 3, 2013 NGP changed its name to Alternative Earth Resources Inc.
  3. Fisker Automotive*: As noted, we covered the April 24, 2013 Congressional Hearing and their $529 million ATVM loan. Most are declaring that Fisker engines are ready to shut down –– a full report can be found in my post, Failing Fisker Auto Finally Faces House Oversight Hearing: Chairman Jordan Exposes Another DOE Junk Loan, Declares, "Fisker should have never received taxpayer money”  
  4. Vehicle Production Group (VPG)*: I was one of the few that covered VPG's March 2011 $50 million DOE ATVM loan with ties to Obama bundler and "VP Hunter," the infamous Washington fixture, James A. Johnson, whose firm Perseus portfolio lists two more taxpayer-funded bankruptcies: Beacon Power and Evergreen Solar (also listed in this report). Then on May 9, the Hill reported, "A natural-gas van company [VPG] awarded a $50 million Energy Department (DOE) loan has suspended operations and laid off roughly 100 workers, according to press accounts."
  5. MiaSolé*: Received two Advanced Energy Manufacturing tax credits totaling $101.8 million from the Obama Administration. In October 2012, the "struggling" and "desperate" MiaSole agreed to be 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, this year the U.S. 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?
  6. SolarWorld*: I had mentioned that the German-owned company SolarWorld, in September 2011 was awarded (that means free money) $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, of which we know that the EERE was awarded $16.8 billion from the 2009-Stimulus for programs and initiatives. Worse, they got more than $4 million from taxpayers. According to the Heartland Institute writer, "[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." But that's not all. Just this past February, Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner divulged much favoritism more for SolarWorld...
  • 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. 
  • Later in 2010 the Obama administration announced SolarWorld was eligible for an $82.2 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. 
  • Just weeks after September 2011 SolarWorld California layoffs, the Obama administration gave the company another hand, 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. 
  • And more...
While I had noted that in June 2012 Solar World's stock price had dropped 75 percent, it turns out that just this month SolarWorld's life is looking grim –– they have laid off Oregon workers and may be filing for bankruptcy.

Denial at the Department of Energy 

Paul Chesser (an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center) recently exposed Obama's Energy Department's denial. “Despite Fisker’s difficulties, our overall loan portfolio of more than 30 projects continues to perform very well, and more than 90 percent of the $10 billion loan loss reserve that Congress set aside for these programs remains intact,” a spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.

Maybe this spokeswoman is referring to the 90 percent rate of cronyism and corruption tucked inside these loans, because in reality, all you have to do is follow the money and connect the dots, which proves that Green Corruption is the largest, most expensive and deceptive case of crony capitalism in American history.

Created under the trillion-dollar stimulus package, those at the DOE have doled out in excess of $16 billion though the 1705 program 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-, which explains the term DOE's "junk bond" portfolio frequented throughout my work. The DOE’s "junk bond" portfolio is where you’ll discover that 96 percent of the firms representing these projects have meaningful ties (bundlers and donors) to President Obama and other high-ranking Democrats; or both –– with five to Senator Harry Reid alone.

Through the ATVM you'll find the "Favored Five" (out of 150 applications), which can be found in my "Cruising Down the Green Cronyism Road" post. Thus far $8.4 billion was steered out of this program, of which three of the five green auto companies have meaningful connections to President Obama. Meanwhile, "both Ford Motor Co. and Nissan were heavily engaged in negotiations with the Administration over fuel economy standards for model years 2012-2016 at the time DOE was considering their applications."

Political buddies which primarily comprise of Obama's wealthy campaign backers, bundlers, top donors as well as liberal allies. Adding to the mix are members of the president's fired Job Council; those that helped craft the 2009 economic stimulus package; and at least a dozen inside the Energy Department, and we find a much bigger scandal.

I've proven over and over that Obama's Energy Department is plagued with cronyism and corruption, as "green" taxpayer money was used as political payback. Along the way they have fueled corporate welfare, and contrary to the continuous promises, our "green" –– taxpayer money and jobs –– is being outsourced.

Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program: the real stats 
February 2013: Dust Problems at Ivanpah Solar
Severe dust storm blowing off the Ivanpah Solar construction site |
Photo: Basin and Range Watch

Nevertheless, let's give this DOE spokeswoman her due, because she is correct if she is referring to the Energy Department's Loan Guarantee Program. At the end of 2012, we found that three had gone bust (listed above), and nine to ten at that time were problematic (details can be found in my October 2012 Special Report Part Two: Obama, the Green Loser; Cronyism Inc.). But that's only if the DOE is only referring to the loan program, because with only three bankruptcies out of 33 DOE funded projects, that would confirm a 90 percent success rate.

Needless to say that stat could change any day, and if Fisker and SoloPower go under, we would move down to an 85 percent success rate for the Energy Department's loan program. However, besides those on the brink of death, we have at least seven more projects that we're watching from my 2013 problematic list. Here is a brief overview and we'll be digging deeper with a full report late this summer.
  1. AREVA* –– $2 billion via the 1703 to support the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility (EREF) in Idaho Falls, ID, which as of December 2012 is still having financial issues. 
  2. Georgia Power Company –– $8.33 billion via the 1703 for Plant Vogtle project, which as of this month are still having financial issues.  
  3. NRG Energy, Inc. (BrightSource)* –– $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the 1705 (for the Ivanpah Solar Project), which is supposed to "enable BrightSource Energy and its partners—NRG and Google — to build the world’s largest solar thermal facility in the Mojave Desert. Many times we exposed the fact that this shady DOE $1.6 billion loan was a bailout, and how it had been plagued with financial issues and problems, including putting endangered desert tortoises at risk of being murdered.
  4. First Solar* is tied to $3 billion in 1705 DOE loans: the Exelon (Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, the NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (Desert Sunlight), and the NRG Solar, LLC (Agua Caliente). There is also a very suspicious Export-Import bank funding for First Solar. We gave plenty of data on the First Solar mess as well as cronyism and corruption tied to that firm and the three projects listed here. Some of our work can be found as recent as this year in my Bank of Obama and my Left-wing Billionaire George Soros: Obama’s "Agent of Green" posts.  While we chronicled First Solar's financial woes many times, it seems they are doing better, and on May 6, 2013, CNN Money predicted "Brighter days for First Solar." So we'll probably remove First Solar from our problematic list, however, we'll take a peek at our $3 billion of taxpayer money –– these three projects and whatever other funding they received.
  5. Nevada Geothermal Power Company, Inc. (Blue Mountain)* –– a $98.5 million loan guarantee (from the 1705) for the Blue Mountain project to build a geothermal power plant, plus $69 million in federal stimulus-funded grants. April 2013: bailed out as noted above in the about to go bust/bailout category. 
  6. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (Genesis Solar)* –– an $852 million partial loan guarantee (from the 1705) to support the development of the Genesis Solar Project, a 250 MW parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. In October 2012, I had documented Genesis' environmental issues, and they have endured massive flood damage. As of late, mentioned earlier, their mirror manufacturer, Flagbeg Solar (another taxpayer subsidized green energy company) went bust. However, clouds still hover over this and other California solar projects –– and that's according to my personal local newspaper, the Desert Sun. But we'll keep and eye on this one, because spokesman for the Genesis project stated just last month, that it is just over 43 percent complete, and the "project will come online in two phases, half at the end of 2013 and the other half in late 2014."
  7. SunPower Corp.* / NRG Solar (California Valley Solar Ranch) –– $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the 1705. Since NRG bought the CA Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo from SunPower, this mess was already documented in my October report, however, the project itself has faced its own environmental issues –– as in the fact that they have taken over the home "to 34 endangered and threatened species, as well as designated core habitat for three animals: the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, San Joaquin kit fox and giant kangaroo rat." We'll dig further into this one and report back.
  8. Fisker Automotive* –– $529 million ATVM loan (already addressed in this report)
  9. Tesla Motors* –– $465 million ATVM loan (already addressed in this report)
  10. Nissan, which in January 2010 received $1.45 billion loan from the ATVM program, and part was to retool its Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing facility for assembly of the all-electric LEAF vehicle. On November 15, 2012, the Detroit News reported, "Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn finally admitted the automaker will not meet its sales target for its all-electric Leaf — in another sign of the broad struggle of the electric vehicle industry." But it seems the Leaf is doing better than the Chevy Volt! 

However, the DOE spokespeople also forget to mention other extremely expensive green energy failures, which are also funded by us taxpayers.

1603 Stimulus Grant Program: one out of every four dollars of $16 billion spent on the 1603 grants went to foreign-owned entities 

As emphasized in my Big Wind Story, "A Hurricane of Carnage, Cronyism and Corruption," the Energy and Commerce Committee in January of this year released an “in-depth report on its ongoing investigation into the implementation of President Obama’s green-energy stimulus spending.” It states that as of December 5, 2012, nearly $16 billion in federal funds has been awarded under the 1603 Grant Program –– which does not factor in regional or state funding –– “approximately $10.8 billion (68%) of the total amount in Section 1603 grants awarded was for wind and another $3.8 billion (24%) was for solar projects.”

Nevertheless, the most shocking aspect is that "despite skyrocketing debt, and Obama's green and recovery promises, the committee found that approximately one out of every four dollars of $16 billion spent on “Section 1603” Renewable Energy Stimulus Program" went to foreign-owned entities.

Just last month we find out that despite the sequester (which was supposed to cripple folks), "More than $1.2 billion in cash payments was awarded to renewable energy projects by the Department of Energy and the Treasury" –– more free money through the 1603 Grant Program. However, the expensive 1603 is not the only place where we find that the Obama administration has been outsourcing clean-energy stimulus funds, energy money, and green jobs.
NOTE: Much more Green Energy Outsourcing can be found in my April 2013 post: Newly Bankrupt Chinese Solar Producer Suntech, Stimulus Tax Credit Winner and Contractor to Energy Department’s $337 million Junk Loan: a Tiny Fraction of Obama’s “Green Outsourcing"

Green Jobs: promises, manipulation, myths, and 11.25 million per job

Last fall we debunked the president's 5 million energy jobs campaign promise. Worse, the Obama administration has sent green jobs overseas, and from the beginning, the Department of Energy has exaggerated and/or manipulated the number of green jobs created (or saved).

Here are some of our highlights:

On June 6, 2012, at a House Oversight hearing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) questioned Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Director 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 counts oil lobbyists, bus drivers, garbage men, etc., as green jobs—shameful, embarrassing, deceptive.

On June 19, 2012, Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, testified at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings regarding the Energy Department's Loan Guarantee Program gamble. Ms. de Rugy's thorough assessment of the program notes that from the $34.5 billion spent, “some 2,378 permanent jobs were claimed to be created under the program. This works out to a potential cost per job of $6.7 million.”

The June 19, 2012 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on “The Federal Green Jobs Agenda,” highlighted the “gimmick” accounting method used by the BLS. Testimony revealed that a multi-billion dollar stimulus program (the 1603 Grant Program, where free taxpayer money is given out 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. 

September 2012 report on the “Green Job Myth” from the Institute for Energy Research (IER), which states, “the green-job definition is extremely broad and includes both direct and indirect jobs,” and is a must see for a good laugh. 

Now, April 2013, the Hill reported that "Five GOP leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are pushing the department to give details about apparent discrepancies between the number of advertised and realized jobs created by [the DOE loan program], which provides loans
for some renewable energy projects."

May 8, 2013: A brand new report by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) sheds light on the DOE's green jobs reality, "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.

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

Before his departure, Obama’s radical green jobs czar, Van Jones, approved a $5 billion home weatherization program that supposedly outfitted homes (mainly for the economically disadvantaged) with the latest green technology in order to reduce energy prices. This was another part of the 2009-Stimulus, which in February 2009, Obama declared: “We're going to weatherize homes, that immediately puts people back to work and we're going to train people who are out of work, including young people, to do the weatherization.”

Three years into the program, all we got was excessive waste, fraud and abuse, plus more cronyism and corruption — no “Americans back to work.” In fact, “evidence gathered (and released in March 2012) by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggested that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program is a stunning example of a management failure which has wasted billions of dollars, 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 pals back in Chicago came out winners

Big Wind Energy Subsidies: A hurricane of carnage, cronyism and corruption

Also, my January 2013 post chronicled the Big Wind subsidies and not only the cronyism and corruption, but also the fact that these wind farms are not all cracked up to be what the "green Evangelists" profess.

Here is an excerpt:

John Fund of the National Review Online gives us an astonishing and heartbreaking look at the “carnage inflicted on Mother Nature," quoting Paul Driessen of the Washington Times, "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that wind turbines kill 440,000 bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, cranes, egrets, geese, and other birds every year in the U.S., along with countless insect-eating bats.”

Sadly, Fund states, “The actual numbers are probably far higher. The turbine blades of the nation’s 39,000 windmills move at 100 to 200 miles per hour and can mow down anything that gets in their path.” “Over the past 25 years, turbines at Altamont Pass, Calif., alone, have killed an estimated 2,300 golden eagles leading to an 80 percent drop in the golden-eagle population of southern California.”

Ironically, when you read the fine print, as exposed by the Manhattan Institute, who calculated “The Real Costs to Taxpayers in Subsidizing Big Wind,” –– federal taxpayers (under former President Bush and now Obama), in effect, are subsidizing the killing of federally protected birds.”

Where are the environmentalists and Rachel Maddow screaming bloody murder? The chirps are light, and prosecution is non-existent because our “federal government looks the other way as wind farms kill birds, but haul oil and gas firms to court.”

But then again, Big Wind, to many like the Telegraph, is the most corrupt industry in the world –– “without the lies it tells as a matter of course and without the cosy stitch-ups it arranges with regulators and politicians at taxpayers' expense, it simply would not exist.”

Furthermore, recently the Telegraph unleashed another study, whereas scientists are saying, "wind turbines will create more greenhouse gases than they save," and Canada Free Press reported on the fact that "an impressive number of health practitioners, researchers and acousticians around the world are voicing their concern about the effects of wind turbines on people’s health."

Final note

If the Obama administration deems this as "clean energy success," I'd hate to see what failure looks like...

Let me be clear, I like clean energy like many of those concerned about our planet, however, using taxpayer money for corrupt political purposes is criminal, while giving billions of our hard earned money to millionaires and billionaires for their green pet projects is despicable. Adding to American insult is the fact that we are sending billions of our tax money overseas, yet we were promised that our government's investment in renewable energy would benefit us. Last but not least, our government is gambling on green with our money, and that's outrageous.

Unfortunately, we have over three more years to keep watch.

Do you care about the way our government spends your tax dollars? Does it bother you that billions are burned on President Obama's green energy agenda? 

I'm perfectly aware that the Department of Energy is not the only government agency whose budgets incorporates cronyism and corruption as well as waste, fraud and abuse, but this case is extremely excessive, and should enrage every American –– especially those of us who pay taxes.

Two Women (one Citizen & one energy Columnist) join forces on One Mission: to expose one chunk of this Green Corruption scandal at a time.