Saturday, May 3, 2014

Whistleblowers Expose Rampant Corruption Inside Spanish Conglomerate Abengoa Subsidized with Billions in U.S. Green Energy Stimulus Funds

The Bureau of Land Management is attempting to shut down the Bundy Ranch to clear the path for massive solar energy developments in southern Nevada that will enrich an A-list of well-connected Democrats close to President Obama, Al Gore, Bill Clinton and others. Completely unreported however, a scandal of epic proportions has been brewing with yet another Democrat-connected recipient of “green energy” stimulus funds. The Spain-based conglomerate Abengoa operates close to 600 subsidiaries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia, and has received $3.6 billion in loans and grants in direct violation of President Obama’s "Recovery Act" promise to provide shovel ready, “good paying jobs that can't be outsourced.”

Since snagging billions of American taxpayer money, Abengoa has intentionally violated American laws, codes and regulations that range across numerous government agencies, while on so many levels demonstrating a blatant disregard for our country and our citizens.

In early January, former Abengoa employees came forward with horror stories of flagrant abuses of American employees, illegal hiring as well as insurance fraud. This ensued a lengthy, now three-month, investigative collaborative effort by The Green Corruption Files and Marita Noon, energy columnist and Executive Director at Energy Makes America Great. The details of these potentially criminal activities were published this year on March 30 here and on April 14 at  The Daily Caller –– with Noon giving an extremely detailed accounting on some of these chilling allegations.

Meanwhile, Ryan Randazzo, since late 2013, reporter for the newspaper the Arizona Republic, has been covering the various vendor complaints against Abengoa: “more than 20 subcontractors who say they were not paid promptly for their work in building the plant. About $40 million in disputed payments is outstanding.”

Abengoa’s Arizona facility has been under investigation by the Department of Labor (DOL) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), since October 2013. A confidential source claims that ICE completed its investigation into the Arizona Solana solar project in March and are now turning to focus on the Mojave project in California. While the purpose of the investigations have not been disclosed, DOL is usually concerned with employee working conditions, while ICE would be interested in the legal status of foreigners employed at Abengoa. The IRS has indicated interest in the case as well, according to the source.

The latest inside information is that the Mojave’s stimulus funding has been frozen until their certified payroll is caught up and there could be a Department of Energy (DOE) audit following.

Since my March 30 blog post, “American Taxpayers, Workers and Vendors Screwed by Spanish Conglomerate Abengoa…” numerous more whistleblowers broke their silence, confirming the illegal immigration violations and mistreatment of American employees, while sharing additional horror stories from their time at Abengoa, including, but limited to, callous discrimination against American workers –– even at the Hugoton biofuel project.

Not only was this Spanish firm anti-American, sources say, “they are nothing but a fraudulent and criminal organization, corrupt to the very core.”

New explosive and exclusive to this report, accusations are now at the forefront ranging from illegal shenanigans within security protocol to negligent safety practices that have been placing workers in harms way. There are also allegations that intentional shoddy design was the norm –– even as deliberate code violations produced at least one solar plant that is dangerous, while another has already resulted in a toxic waste spill.

Furthering the rampant corruption, revelations came to light that this Spanish conglomerate is committing fraud using U.S. taxpayer money. In fact, all of these chilling dirty deeds occurred using billions of dollars paid for by the American taxpayer and on U.S. soil –– which was initially brought about by the 2009-Stimulus package.

The Green Energy Stimulus Money 

A few short months after President Obama took office, he signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) - the massive, trillion-dollar economic stimulus bill. It holds the record as the most lobbied piece of legislation since 2005, and was sold to the American people as a means save our economy and create American jobs. At a July 2010 speech at the White House, Vice President Joe Biden said, “This [the stimulus package] isn’t about big government spending. It’s about getting the economy going through seed money.”

However, in early 2012, the real intent behind the ARRA was disclosed in a “sensitive and confidential” memo written by economist Larry Summers to President Obama. The goal was, “to identify as many campaign promises or high priority items that would spend out quickly and be inherently temporary.” Summers deemed the stimulus package as “a key tool for advancing clean energy goals and fulfilling a number of campaign commitments.”

So instead of saving our economy, the president's plan was to use taxpayer money to push his green energy agenda while paying back his political cronies –– many concluding that this is Obama's "Save the Planet Slush Fund."

A March 2012 report by the Brookings Institute places the Obama administrations' "total government spending (both stimulus and non-stimulus) on green initiatives at $150 billion through 2014" [i]. Of this, the Department of Energy (DOE) has spent $32.4 billion in its three “clean energy” loan programs:
  • Section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for clean energy technologies typically unable to obtain conventional private financing; $10.3 billion. 
  • Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loans support the development of advanced technology vehicles (ATV); $8.4 billion. 
  • Section 1705 loan guarantees for U.S.-based projects commenced no later than September 30, 2011 for certain renewable energy systems, electric power transmission, and leading edge biofuels. $13.7 billion.
Abengoa, was the second largest recipient of DOE’s 1705 stimulus loans. The company, between July 2010 and September 2011, received $2.8 billion to construct two solar energy complexes in Arizona and California, and a biofuel plant in Kansas. For comparison, observe that this is over five times the amount received by the notorious Solyndra ($535 million). Abengoa received an additional $818 million in special Treasury Department energy grants, bringing the total to $3.6 billion. And according to the Institute for Energy Research (IER): “Beyond reliance on federal loan guarantees, Abengoa Solar also receives government assistance in the form of investment tax credits (ITC).” Finally, Abengoa received $150 million for projects in Uruguay and Mexico through the U.S. taxpayer-funded Export-Import Bank.

DOE Green Energy Stimulus Loans
($ Billions)

NRG Energy
NextEra Energy
GE / Caithness Energy
Exelon Corp.
All Others
Source: Department of Energy

Abengoa's loans were provided despite their abysmal credit rating. In fact, the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee cited DOE for its disastrous handling of the loan program. The Committee unleashed a damaging report in March 2012 [ii], revealing that in excess of $16 billion was loaned to 26 projects, of which 22 were rated “Junk." Following a list of the three American projects, the loan provided for each, its rating, temporary construction jobs, permanent jobs, and the cost of permanent jobs “created or saved.” Note that S&P and Fitch consider BB+ and lower ratings “speculative” and “not investment grade”.
  1. Abengoa Solar, Inc (the Solana Solar Project in Arizona): Rating BB+ by Fitch Dec. 2010; $1.45 billion. This deal was announced by President Obama on July 3, 2010, finalized just before Christmas 2010, and became operational in October 2013. Jobs: 1,700 construction, 80 permanent = $24.1 million per permanent job “created or saved."
  2. Abengoa Solar, Inc (the Mojave Solar Project in CA): Rating BB by Fitch Sept. 2011; $1.2 billion. This deal was announced in June 2011, finalized in September 2011, and is still under construction. Jobs: 830 construction, 70 permanent = $17.1 million per permanent job “created or saved." 
  3. Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas LLC: Rating CCC by Fitch Sept. 2011; $132 million. This deal was announced on August 19, 2011, finalized on September 29, 2011, and the Hugoton plant is expected to begin producing cellulosic ethanol by the end of May or early June this year. Jobs: 300 construction; 65 permanent = $2 million per permanent job “created or saved." 
So-called “green” energy projects cannot support themselves without government subsidy. This is why they are considered “risky.” Left to their devices there is actually no risk at all –– they are guaranteed to fail. Corrupt politicians, especially leftwing corrupt politicians, find them alluring for that very reason. They provide all the feel good, “save the earth” optics leftists love, while politicians get to pick the winners –– and they invariably pick their friends, of which the evidence of this will be detailed much later.

Because green energy companies are chosen by political process rather than the market, and because this particular political process is inherently dirty, green energy companies are also somewhat protected from close scrutiny. How does this play out in the real world when the taxpayer bill comes due? Abengoa has provided a good demonstration.

Whistleblowers Break Their Silence: Abengoa Corruption Goes Beyond Illegal Hiring and Discrimination

Even as they fear retribution, droves of former Abengoa employees have come forward with documentary evidence revealing explosive information about practically all aspects of Abengoa’s U.S. operations. These people hasten to explain that they are very pro-green energy and most are ardent Obama supporters. At least two are willing to go public. Following are the substance of these complaints, of which The Green Corruption Files, The Daily Caller and the Arizona Republic have unleashed.

  • Abengoa hired foreign workers (illegally) and gave them preferential treatment over Americans;
  • Abengoa paid its illegal employees under the table to avoid taxes;
  • Abengoa systematically abused its American employees;
  • Abengoa committed insurance fraud;
  • Abengoa systematically stiffed its suppliers, driving some into bankruptcy.

The exhibit here is an email exchange between Abengoa worker and a DOE attorney, Stephanie Peters, describing two employees that arrived in August and September respectively, but were not put on the payroll for months.

Exhibit One: January 2013 email interaction between our informant and 
DOE attorney Stephanie Peters, 
supplying evidence on the Abengoa immigration violations

Exhibit Two: Email listing “Vacation Expats”

The exhibit next is a 2012 email listing expats (foreign workers brought to the U.S. to work) here on tourist visas. They refer to them as “Vacation Expats.” They have not been cleared through I-9 or e-verify, so are working illegally, and getting paid from Spanish headquarters.

But the illegal hiring, of which by the way was high-end illegal immigration, bringing over foreigners in planes and paying them six-figure salaries, as well as the other charges listed above only scratch the surface into Abengoa’s dirty deeds using "clean-energy" American tax dollars. As I reported in Part Two of this Abengoa story, numerous former American engineers have since come forward giving further insight into the rampant mistreatment of American workers, which stemmed from this Spanish firm’s top managers:  Rafael Sanchez Mendoza, Nicolas Gallo Mass, Diego Manuel Rodriguez Gonzales, and Angel Pimentel Fernandez.

These former American engineers (some employed for more than 2 1/2 years), whom were directly involved in the development of the Mojave Solar Project located in the San Bernardino county in California, warned that Abengoa deliberately took short cuts in the design, which produced a plant that is not only more expensive and less efficient, but dangerous. This means that instead of clean, safe, efficient energy, we have an inefficient, expensive, and hazardous mess on our hands.

Abengoa has gone through about thirty American engineers, and those who refused to sign off on the poor designs were intimidated, blacklisted, ignored, demoted and experienced other abuses. Some quit while others were terminated and forced to sign a gag order.

Other sources are claiming, due to the intentional poor design, that a toxic spill has occurred at the Solana project in Arizona, which is not being handled properly.

Here are the following new allegations surrounding Abengoa:

  • Abengoa systematically cut corners in design and construction; 
  • Abengoa deliberately violated building and environmental codes, which has led to at least the Mojave Solar Project being a danger;
  • Abengoa also at the Mojave solar plant, used 
older, inefficient, and more expensive technology, thus not only wasting American taxpayers' money and critical natural resources, such as excessive amounts of water, but raises additional concerns.
  • Abengoa’s Solana solar project has experienced a toxic waste spill that is not being handled properly, which if true, there may be a major environmental mess lurking in Arizona. 
  • Abengoa created numerous shell companies to boost profits.

Mojave Solar Project: Dangerous Code Violations

American engineers who worked on the Mojave Solar Project claim that Abengoa took short cuts in the design. They said that Abengoa was simply recycling designs from previous European projects that didn’t consider America’s unique circumstances, and that a Chinese-American engineer licensed to practice in California, was simply rubber-stamping construction documents produced in Spain. They charge that Abengoa's top management knowingly and willingly failed to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and California Energy Commission (CEC) standards – despite dire warnings. And it was recently confirmed that these code problems, which would require major changes, cost millions of dollars and critical downtime, were never corrected.

Engineers assert that these violations have created a solar plant that is systemically dangerous. Pipe supports and restrains do not meet the California State seismic codes. During an earthquake event, pipes in the solar field will break or disconnect, spilling up to one million gallons of synthetic oil, creating an environmental and health hazard that as mentioned in The Daily Caller, “could cost up to $15 million to clean up.” Furthermore, the oil is flammable and a spark or short circuit could start a fire enveloping the entire three-square mile solar farm.

Mojave Solar Project: Older, Inefficient, and More Expensive Technology

While some laud the “clean” energy solar power creates, it has serious environmental side effects, as does wind power. Solar requires vast amounts of land –– thousands of acres –– that become virtual dead zones; uses toxic chemicals, sometimes-huge amounts of water, and has very high maintenance costs. For example the Solana project in Arizona requires 1,900 acres –– that is 3 square miles of land –– and 2,500 gallons of water per minute to operate. All this to provide tiny amounts of electricity –– enough for just 70,000 homes –– at 3 to 4 times the cost of traditional energy.

But worse, perhaps, is that engineers claim that Abengoa, at the California solar project, used older, inefficient, and more expensive technology –– thus not only wasting American taxpayers' money and critical natural resources, such as excessive amounts of water, but also expressing their concern over the hundreds of thousands of gallons in synthetic flammable and dangerous oil used in this technology.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) trough technology [of which Abengoa used] is more than 30 years old. It is based on using synthetic oil as the heat transfer media. Oil is circulated between the power block (where power is generated) and the solar field. The solar field for a 280 MW usually requires about 2000 acres of land. This is inefficient design; since it requires lots of energy to operate the system and a whole lot more money to maintain it over the next 30 years. This power requirement to operate the equipment is called "parasitic load."

While more details relating to the technology issues are in my last post: "Abengoa Atrocities, the Sequel," here is a summary about the technologies, capital cost, natural resources consumption and inefficiencies. These are the issues to consider:
  1. PV technology is more efficient than CSP, capital and operating costs are less, requiring less of our natural resources.
  2. PV impact on birds and other natural habitat is minimal in comparison to CSP.
  3. PV requires no HTF to operate. It directly converts sunlight to energy.
  4. CSP requiring trough technology or solar tower requires HTF and water, consuming our natural resources.

Toxic Spill at Solana Solar Project

Due to Abengoa cutting corners in the design, which seems to be the case at all three projects, the Solana solar plant in Arizona that become operational in October 2013, once it started “pumping product,” a hazardous chemical spill followed.

Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF) is what it's called [iii].  This HTF contains two components: diphenyl ether and biphenyl, and produces chemical releases (fumes and liquid) that are unsafe to touch, breathe, and ingest ­­–– even in small amounts.

Not yet corroborated –– although the spill has been confirmed –– sources came forward alleging that Abengoa’s safety measures are “downright negligent” and that they are blatantly “mishandling this spill,” thus putting workers at risk and violating Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

Still, as some claim that the EPA was contacted and Abengoa was cleared of toxic issues, others declare that this toxic waste –– thousands of gallons so far –– has now contaminated the soil surrounding the Arizona solar plant, with reported wildlife dying as a potential cause.

SPECIAL NOTE: As I await further inside information (“pictures, reports, and emails”) from my sources on this part of the Abengoa Atrocities, and after studying this HTF stuff, all I can say is that this is huge folks! If this has truly gotten into the soil, we need answers: how toxic is this HTF, and what is the potential environmental damage to the air and land? Does this hazardous material cause major or irreversible damages to humans or wildlife? Could we have another Erin Brockovich situation on our hands?

Creating Shell Companies for Profit

During the course of my last post, I had divulged more serious allegations involving Abengoa, which too, came from whistleblowers, claiming they have proof contained in emails as well as contracts, documents, bids, etc. of financial fraud using U.S. taxpayer money.

The best I could do with the help of a "friend" is describe it this way....

Reminiscent of the community organizing group ACORN and its 300-old shell organizations, which it used to launder money, an informant alleges that Abengoa did a similar thing to steal enormous profits undetected. In summary, here is how it worked.

A condition of the stimulus loans was that the recipient could only use American subcontractors. Abengoa created dozens of phony shell companies with 1 to 5 employees. These were supposed to appear as legitimate U.S. subsidiaries doing subcontract work for Abengoa but in fact did no work. They took names like Abengoa T&D, Inabensa, Nicsa, and Abencor. They would bid on jobs and be immediately awarded the contract at very high prices. They would then turn around and hire real American firms to do the actual work for much less and pocket the difference. U.S. firms outside this secret compact rarely got selected, and when they did, payment terms were harsh, up to 180 days. Essentially, the shell companies drove away all competition and contracted all the work in the Mojave project.

Abengoa’s Stronghold Inside the Democrat Party

Where's the Media? 

While this is not solely a political issue –– it's actually an American one –– the questions remain: Why has the press been non-existent on this story? After all, the public has been made aware of at least the ICE and DOL investigations. Where's the well-deserved scrutiny? Is it because Abengoa has a stronghold inside the majority ruling party, coupled with an administration dead set on rewarding their friends, while punishing their enemies? And where the heck is the Republican party: too lazy or distracted with ObamaCare?

At any rate, here are some key facts to consider....

In going to back to the the March 2012 House Oversight report mentioned earlier [iv], which attacks the Energy Department's loan program that had awarded Abengoa the three loans topping $2.8 billion, we find that within the pages are not only documentation of poor to disastrous management as well as wasteful spending, a series of DOE violations and misrepresentations, but there were also charges of bias and favoritism. 

Moreover, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has continually addressed many areas of concern within the Energy Department and their then new found clean-energy stimulus funds. In 2010, they declared, “[loan] applicants were treated inconsistently,” with favoritism at play. Meanwhile in March of 2011, the DOE's Inspector General, Gregory Friedman –– not a political appointee –– ­­rebuked the alternative energy loan and grant programs, even testifying about “investigative matters,” covering a disturbing feature: contracts and grants were “directed to friends and family.”

In 2012, the GAO slammed the DOE’s loan guarantee program and their inability to gather data “required to conduct timely oversight” as well as disapproval with the DOE’s loan applicant process, revealing that the DOE, in some cases, “omitted and or had poorly documented reviews.” Even two days ago (May 1, 2014), the GAO reprimanded the Energy Department: "The DOE has not fully developed or consistently adhered to loan monitoring policies for its loan programs" –– meaning that the DOE has failed in its oversight responsibilities.

Obviously, as in the case of Abengoa!

Friends Indeed

Keeping in line with Energy Department’s $32.4 billion (it was $34.7B at one point) “Junk Bond Portfolio,” whereas the majority of the recipients have meaningful political connections to the president and other high-ranking Democrats (Obama bundlers, top donors, members of his 2008 National Finance Committee, large donors to the Democratic Party, and/or their friends), Abengoa has its fare share of “green cronies.”

While Ms. Noon, in her Daily Caller April piece, presented a few key connections based on The Green Corruption files extensive research and subsequent special report [v], the Democrat Party’s grip inside this case goes much deeper, including various influential (one with scandal-ridden ties) lobbyists: Cornerstone Government Affairs, O'Neill, Athy & Casey, Ernst & Young, and Bockorny Group.

Noon's focus was the former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, former Vice President Al Gore, as well as the three key players tied to McKinsey & Company –– a global management consulting firm: Santiago Seage, Abengoa Solar CEO; Jonathan Silver, the former executive director of the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program, and Matt Rogers, the former senior adviser to then-Energy Secretary Chu. Much more on Silver later.

Richardson –– with DOE roots and President Obama’s first pick as Commerce Secretary –– served as Board member at Abengoa's International Advisory Board (since March 2011) and also served as an advisory Committee Member at the U.S. Export-Import Bank (either during the 2012 of 2013 selections). This is the same taxpayer-funded bank that on December 18, 2012, awarded Abengoa $150 million loan for two projects located in Uruguay and Mexico.

Gore, on the other hand, in 2007, through his UK-based Generation Investment Management (GIM) that carries more Democrat connections, bought a stake in Abengoa –– although it was reported to be “a small position in Abengoa, which specializes in biofuels.” The Weekly Standard in 2010, wrote, “For years [Al Gore] has lent his name and support to Abengoa Solar and the parent company, Abengoa.”

The tangled web of Big donors and Big green energy stimulus money winners in this particular story  tied to Barack Obama and the Democrat Party are vast, however, a few will suffice, starting with the energy giant PG&E that has an invested interest in $7.6 billion of Energy Department stimulus loans, including Abengoa's $1.2 billion for their solar plant in California: "Abengoa signed a power-purchase agreement with PG&E to buy the energy produced by the project for a period of 25 years" –– a deal that had been in the works years before the DOE loan was conceived. PG&E’s former CEO Peter Darbee, during the loan review process, had direct access to the president; of which he gladly used on at least one DOE deal that we know of.

This California project also had the influence Senator Diane Feinstein, whom on March 22, 2010, wrote a letter to the Department of Interior (DOI) on behalf of Abengoa asking them to speed up the permitting process for accessing private land for DOE loan guarantees. The Mojave Solar project California, did indeed receive preferential treatment from the DOI to lease federal land in a no-bid process.

Additionally, the "Too-Big-to-Fail" Citigroup is another 2008 top Obama donor (PAC’s and individuals) and another huge player inside this green energy scam, is tied to this Spanish firm: "2011 Advisor to Abengoa" [vi] as well as "appointed as depositary bank for Abengoa," as announced by Yahoo Finance in October 2013. Citigroup is where we find that a slew of its former executives have, or currently hold key positions inside the Obama White House.

Silver, reported to be an Obama bundler, was head of the loan program from November 2009 until early October 2011, where he oversaw all of the Energy Department’s clean energy loans. Even as Richardson and Gore go way back, Silver shares his own tight connections with the Obama White House as well as a slew of Democrat politicians. Silver’s wife has served as financial director of the Democratic Leadership Council, and the couple even hosted a party to promote Al Gore’s environmental advocacy group, the Alliance for Climate Protection. This party (fundraiser) surrounded Silver's DOE job vetting process (September 2009) –– a process of which, according to the Washington Free Beacon, Silver, at that time, listed his professional references, a “sample of names of individuals who know me well and either work, or have worked, in areas that touch on the potential DOE assignment.”
The list provided included Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy; Larry Summers, Director of President Obama’s National Economic Council; Jeff Zients, Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget; and Congressmen Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), John Dingell (D., Mich.), Ed Markey (D., Mass.), and Jane Harman (D., Calif.). 
Also included on the lists were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Energy Secretary Federico Pena, and U.S. Import-Export Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg.
Considering that there is much to be said about Silver’s just shy of a two-year stint at the DOE, what's key is that it included helping then-Secretary Chu accelerate the loan review process. But it was his shady email practices that were the most suspicious. Silver had a habit of using his personal email account to conduct DOE business. Now, Mr. Silver reasoned, in a July 2012 Congressional Oversight hearing, that it was out of “convenience,” however; this practice is more consistent with concealment and clearly violates the Federal Records Act of 1950.

Cozy relationships & White House "intervention and support" 

Also, percolating inside the Energy Department is evidence of the cozy relationships that DOE Officials –– more specifically Silver –– had during the loan review process with loan applicant CEO's, lobbyists, investors, and so on. This was found in the massive email dump released in October 2012 by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee [vii] that also revealed coercion, cronyism and cover ups.

Moreover, President Obama’s 2012 claim, "And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics;" is easily debunked on countless levels and inside numerous Energy Department green energy deals –– again as discovered in the treasure trove of internal DOE emails that was unleashed early fall 2012 [viii].

In studying these internal documents, most of the DOE loans were rushed –– a “fast-tracked process imposed at the POTUS level [ix]” –– and approved for political reasons which goes way beyond helping Senator Harry Reid win his 2010 midterm election: visits, speeches, announcements, photo ops, and talking points for the president as well as to help those connected to the companies seeking the loans.

In the case of Abengoa, the collusion is also established via this email dump [x]. Several 2010 meetings (and numerous correspondences) surrounded Abengoa's Solana solar project DOE deal, which included at that time Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), "climate czar" Carol Browner, a 2008 Obama bundler and Al Gore acolyte, Jonathan Silver (highlighted above) and additional OMB and DOE staff.

Despite the various issues surrounding this $1.45 billion loan –– a deal that was considered “dead” on May 31, 2010 –– this project, on June 9, 2010, of was moving full steam ahead with the “blessing of Browner's office.”

These interactions show that there was "WH [White House] intervention" and "significant WH  support" into the decision-making in awarding Abengoa $1.45 billion DOE stimulus loan for the Solana project in Arizona: In June 25, 2010 EMAIL at 1:09 AM, with the subject line: Abengoa, Abound, First Wind and Beacon Updates, James McCrea, Loan Program Office Senior Credit Advisor, writes to Silver and cc’s additional DOE staff.
Jonathan ––

An update on the 4 projects as of this evening. DOE is moving with "the fierce urgency of now," while OMB/Treasury/FFB are moving with "the fierce urgency of…whenever." There has been no sign of life from OMB/FFB/Treasury and no sign that they are responding to WH intervention.

At the end of this email, after going through each of the four projects and their issues, McCrea concludes:
All in all, I do not see how we can deliver, even with significant WH support, on anything other than Abengoa. The sooner we can remove First Wind and Beacon from the accelerated process, the better.

Silver responds at 9:35 AM:
Sounds like we can’t do the closing deals but can announce the conditional commitments. Let’s keep pushing on all four, but I will set the stage upstairs.

Close to a week later (July 1, 2010), there was an email exchange that transpired between Silver and few other DOE officials seeking information on the Abengoa’s Solana project for “job creation” to provide for the “president’s speech,” which coincides with Obama’s July 3, 2010, weekly address, where he advertised Abengoa’s $1.45 billion DOE loan as an “American jobs creator” ­­–– a deal that was finalized December 2010, with the DOE documenting the jobs 60 permanent and 1,700 (temporary) construction, which as pointed out in the beginning of this post, equals $24.1 million per permanent job.


Obviously, the American jobs at all three Abengoa projects are subject to dispute. But let's recap the fact that these whistleblowers have exposed rampant corruption inside this Spanish conglomerate that range across numerous government agencies that we know of: DOE, ICE, DOL, IRS, CEC, OSHA, and the EPA –– all with billions of American taxpayer money and on U.S. soil:
  1. Abengoa hired foreign workers (illegally) and gave them preferential treatment over Americans; 
  2. Abengoa paid its illegal employees under the table to avoid taxes; 
  3. Abengoa systematically abused its American employees; 
  4. Abengoa committed insurance fraud; 
  5. Abengoa systematically stiffed its suppliers, driving some into bankruptcy.  
  6. Abengoa systematically cut corners in design and construction; 
  7. Abengoa deliberately violated building and environmental codes, which has led to at least the Mojave Solar Project being a danger;
  8. Abengoa also at the Mojave solar plant, used 
older, inefficient, and more expensive technology, thus not only wasting American taxpayers' money and critical natural resources, such as excessive amounts of water, but raises additional concerns.
  9. Abengoa’s Solana solar project has experienced a toxic waste spill that is not being handled properly, which if true, there may be a major environmental mess lurking in Arizona. 
  10. Abengoa created numerous shell companies to boost profits.

If even a fraction of these chilling claims are true (which I personally believe they are), Abengoa is in reality a huge flop. Nevertheless, despite the long list of green energy failures –– 32 and counting –– coupled with a slew of bailouts and at least 22 ready to slip into the abyss, the Obama administration is now opening the floodgates to yet more renewable energy spending: "We're back in business," Peter Davidson, executive director of the DOE loan programs office, told Reuters in April. "We really want to go back to ... doing very valuable work for our economy going forward."


Where's the oversight? Shouldn't we clean up this mess first?

Considering what’s been released to the public on this matter, sources have alerted us that Abengoa has issued multiple warnings “to all employees that they are not permitted to discuss [these issues] with anyone.” But silence is not the answer to this perilous situation: what’s imperative is that these atrocities, which are clearly a threat to our country, our laws and our citizens, are brought to light and someone is held accountable.

We must warn the masses: Congress, the appropriate oversight committees and agencies, as well as the press before any more workers are abused, injured or killed as a result of this firm’s callous, irresponsible and Un-American actions. 

Extra Sources

[i] Brookings, Beyond Boom & Bust, April 2012

[ii] Committee on Oversight and Government Reform March 20, 2012 Report: “The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs”

[iii] HTF Condition of Certification: DOCKET 09-AFC-5, dated February 24, 2010 by James Brathovde PG, CHG Engineering Geologist California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lahontan Region (page is now missing, but I have PDF file)

[iv] Committee on Oversight and Government Reform March 20, 2012 Report: “The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs”
[v] The Green Corruption Files, “SPECIAL REPORT: Inside the Obama Administration's Big Green Energy Deals With Abengoa” (March 30, 2014)

[vi] Cit Renewable Energy Seminar / Embassy of Spain Washington, DC March 19, 2012

[vii] Committee on Oversight and Government Reform October 31, 2012 Report “Emails Contradict President Obama, Administration Officials on Energy Dept. Loan Program” (Memorandum, Appendix I, and Appendix II)

[viii] Ibid

[ix] Ibid, October 31, 2012 Memorandum

[x] Ibid, Appendix I and II

ALERT: To all my readers CHECK THIS OUT...