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Green Energy Scandal

Green energy bribe scandal
GLENN MCCOY © Belleville News-Democrat. Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Green Energy

Green energy is created from natural resources that do not cause harmful pollution to the Earth's surface or atmosphere. Green energy sources include hydropower, windpower, geothermal and solar. Hydropower is generated when moving water passes through turbines mechanically connected to electric generators. Windpower is generated when moving air passes through air turbines mechanically connected to electric generators. Geothermal power is generated using hot water and steam generated from below the earth's surface. Solar power is generated from the sun's light energy which photovoltaic cells can convert to direct current electricity.

One of Obama's goals was to put taxpayer dollars to support green energy. The problem is that at the current costs of green energy production, it is not economically viable. For example, GM spent 3 million dollars to put up solar power panels at one of its plants. The panels let GM save about $15,000 a year in electricity costs. It will take about 200 years to recoup the investment. The panels are not likely to last more than a few decades. No investment counselor would have ever recommended to GM to make such an investment.

Here is another example. The Reno Gazette-Journal recently reported that seven local windmills that cost taxpayers $1 million to install have only saved the City of Reno $2,785 in electricity costs over their 18 months of existence. At this rate, it will take over 500 years to recoup the investment.

This fact of reality does not fit into the Obama ideology. Nevertheless, Obama behaves according to his ideology and not according to economic reality. Obama used 36 billion dollars of his 2009 stimulus program for guaranteed loans. About 11.35 billion dollars of this was for loans to companies in the green energy business. The principal officers of these companies donated about $500,000 to the Obama campaign in 2008, something that is also relevant. What can you expect? Obama is very political and not economically intelligent. Here are the details.

Raser Technologies

In 2010, the Obama administration gave Raser a $33 million taxpayer-funded grant to build a power plant in Beaver Creek, Utah. According to the Wall Street Journal, after burning through our tax dollars, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012. The plant now has fewer than 10 employees, and Raser owes $1.5 million in back taxes.

ECOtality

The Obama administration gave ECOtality $126.2 million in taxpayer money in 2009 for, among other things, the installation of 14,000 electric car chargers in five states. Obama even hosted the company's president, Don Karner, in the first lady's box during the 2010 State of the Union address as an example of a stimulus success story. According to ECOtality's own SEC filings, the company has since incurred more than $45 million in losses and has told the federal government,

We may not achieve or sustain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis in the future.

Worse, according to CBS News the company is "under investigation for insider trading," and Karner has been subpoenaed "for any and all documentation surrounding the public announcement of the first Department of Energy grant to the company."

Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP).

The Obama administration gave NGP a $98.5 million taxpayer loan guarantee in 2010. The New York Times reported last October that the company is in "financial turmoil" and that "after a series of technical missteps that are draining Nevada Geothermal's cash reserves, its own auditor concluded in a filing released last week that there was " 'significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern.' "

First Solar

The Obama administration provided First Solar with more than $3 billion in loan guarantees for power plants in Arizona and California. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report last week, the company "fell to a record low in Nasdaq Stock Market trading May 4 after reporting $401 million in restructuring costs tied to firing 30 percent of its workforce."

Abound Solar, Inc.

The Obama administration gave Abound Solar a $400 million loan guarantee to build photovoltaic panel factories. According to Forbes, in February the company halted production and laid off 180 employees.

Beacon Power

Beacon Power, is a Tyngsboro Massachusetts based energy storage company. Beacon Power filed for bankruptcy in late October 2011, a year after spending $39 million of a $43 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration to fund part of an energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York. Beacon officials say the company is currently operating at a loss and revenues are not enough to support its operations, despite a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruling in October requiring power markets to pay more for the company's frequency regulation services. The company CEO and other officials are minor Obama and Massachusetts Democrat donors.

SunPower

SunPower received a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the Obama Administration in September 2011 to help build the California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County under the rationale that it was "helping create green jobs." A total of 15 permanent jobs would have been located at the facility after a couple hundred construction jobs were over, with more jobs created at the company's \ Mexico plant. As of January 2912, the company owed more than it was worth

Democrat Rep. George Miller's son, George Miller IV, is SunPower's top lobbyist, and he was paid $178,000 to lobby on behalf of the company. The elder Miller is a powerful California Democrat. SunPower PAC filings show that for the 2010 midterm election campaign cycle, it donated $14,650 to Democrats and $1,000 to Republicans.

Brightsource

Brightsource got a $1.6 billion loan guarantee and posted a string of net losses totaling $177 million.

Solyndra

Solyndra, is a solar panel manufacturer whose chief financial backer is by Obama fundraiser George Kaiser. Kaiser had visited the White House 16 or more times. Shortly after President Obama's inauguration, in March 2009, Solyndra received the Obama Administration's Energy Department's first energy loan guarantee, $535 million financing to expand the company's solar rooftop production. Months after getting the loan, Solyndra shut down operations, laid off 1100 employees and filed for bankruptcy.

SpectraWatt

SpectraWatt is a producer of crystalline-silicon photovoltaic cell products, trying to develop ways to improve solar cells without changing the current manufacturing processes. Backed by Intel and Goldman Sachs, the company's factory is located in IBM's Hudson Research Park in Hopewell Junction, New York. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2012 after receiving $150,000 from the National Science Foundation in June 2010 and $500,000 grant from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as part of the Obama Administration's stimulus package.

Mountain Plaza

Mountain Plaza is the owner of the first truckstop electrification terminal at TR Auto Truck Plaza in Dandridge, Tennessee. On May 18, 2010 it received approval of $424,000 federal stimulus fund grant, part of $2 million Tennessee Department of Transportation for truckstop electrification projects along Tennessee interstates. On May 24, 2011, U.S. Bank sued Mountain Plaza for failing to repay a $2 million loan. The company filed for bankruptcy on June 3 2011. The Obama administration stimulus to Mountain Plaza was awarded June 15. A subsequent auction to sell company equipment failed to attract a single bid. Current creditors include state and federal governments.

Evergreen Solar

Evergreen Solar is a Marlborough, Massachusetts-based solar manufacturer, Evergreen produces proprietary String Ribbon solar cells for the photovoltaics industry. The firm lost approximately $950 million over past three calendar years. The company probably received between $1.7 million and $5.3 million of federal funds as part of the Obama Administration $180 million grant to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and other state entities for weatherization and energy grants, and Evergreen received much larger state-originating funds in obscure, mostly unitemized amounts.

The company shifted production from Massachusetts to China in March 2011, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy August 15, 2011, listing $485.6 million in debt.

Ener1

Ener1 received a $118 million grant its battery-making subsidiary got from the Energy Dept. As the CEO put it, the company suffered a lack of demand, thanks to lower-than-hoped-for electric car sales. It has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Obama Supporters

Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweizer reported in his book, Throw Them All Out, fully 71 percent of the Obama Energy Department's grants and loans went to "individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama's National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party

The Scandals

The Energy Department's inspector general has launched more than 100 criminal investigations related to the department's green-energy programs.

Final Comment

The 11.35 billion dollars Obama put to these failed companies to produce green power, would have been better spent by putting the money into fundamental research managed by Department of Energy and National Science Foundation to make photovoltaic solar panels more efficient and less costly to produce. Unfortunately, he was not smart enough to know this.

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