Another Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Company Goes Bankrupt

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Posted by James Morrone Jr on Thursday, March 31st, 2016, 9:56 AM PERMALINK

Another subsidy-backed green energy company, this time the Spanish company Abengoa, has filed for bankruptcy within the United States.  But before doing so, squandered over $2 billion in federal funds.  The company mistakenly gambled on a government-backed artificial “green energy boom” they hoped would spurn new growth and opportunity for the company.

The Obama Administration, ever pushing their green energy ideology, tampered with the market by dolling out $2.7 billion worth of federal subsidies to Abengoa, which of course was taxpayer funded.  According to the Daily Caller,

          “The pro-labor union group Good Jobs First reported last year Abengoa has ‘received $605 million in grants and allocated tax credits; $464 million came from Section 1603 and most of the rest from Energy Department research grants.’ That’s on top of the $2.7 billion the company got in DOE loans.”

The company amassed $17 billion in debt hoping for the green energy boom that never happened, leading to this eventual bankruptcy.

Sadly, this is just one of many attempts of the Obama Administration’s interference with the free market leading to the loss of taxpayer money.  The name Solyndra should ring a bell.  After substantial pressure from the administration, the DOE expedited loan the process for the company to taxpayer-backed handouts.  The company took over $530 million in loans from the government in 2009.  Only two years after, they laid off 1,100 employees and filed for bankruptcy

A similar failed attempt to force “green energy” into the market can be seen by the fiasco of Smith Electric Vehicles.  Before the company filed for bankruptcy, they secured almost $30 million in taxpayer-backed subsidies.  Smith Electric reported that they only created 70.4 jobs instead of the 220 jobs projected by the White House.  The DOE wasted an average of $414,000 per new job created.

The list of examples of wasteful sweetheart deals the President has used to force his agenda is not a short one to say the least. In addition to Abengoa, Solyndra, and Smith Electric, the DOE also handed out $529 million in loans to Fisker Automotive, which in 2014 filed for bankruptcy. Clearly these failed taxpayer funded gambles are not isolated incidents.

The Obama Administration just doesn’t learn from their mistakes. Forcing the market to further the Administration’s ideology by propping up politically connected businesses is clearly a faulty effort, and more often than not comes at the expense of taxpayers.


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"Tremendous Pressure" from White House Costs Taxpayers $535 Million

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Posted by Timothy Wilt on Monday, August 31st, 2015, 3:05 PM PERMALINK

A new report from the Department of Energy’s Inspector General has acknowledged that White House officials placed “tremendous pressure” on DOE employees to process loan guarantee applications. This pressure played a crucial role in the calamitous approval of the 2009 Solyndra loan that cost taxpayers more than $500 million.

Solyndra, a solar-panel manufacture, was approved for a $535 million loan from the DOE under the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In 2011, just 2 years after receiving the loan, Solyndra laid-off its 1,100 employees and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The political desire for a success-case in Obama’s new program, resulted in negligent loan practices, which tanked the company, cost thousands of jobs and millions of taxpayer dollars.

The new report has found that although Solyndra is blameworthy for providing misleading evidence to DOE officials, political pressure from the Administration and Department leadership, unnecessarily expedited the approval process, resulting in oversight directly related to the loan’s failure. This report corroborates a 2012 oversight report from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The E&C committee’s report found that intense political pressure placed on employees at the DOE and Office of Management and Budget (OMB), resulted in clear neglect of procedural elements that would have exposed Solyndra’s duplicitous financials.

In 2009 President Barack Obama signed the Americans Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a massive expansion of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The new initiative sought to inject billions of taxpayer dollars specifically into renewable energy resources. Solyndra was intended to be a poster-child for the merits of the new program.

In many ways, a poster-child is exactly what Solyndra has become. However, instead of one representing the glory and success of the President’s plan, it signifies the unflattering underbelly of “clean energy” politics, and is drawing attention to the likelihood of these policies creating a “solar bubble” within the economy.

A recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, has outlined the disturbing relationship between government subsidies for Big Solar, and the investment interests that are taking advantage of this lucrative opportunity. The uncouth relationship is distorting the energy economy in the U.S., and placing large solar companies on track to becoming “too big to fail”.

The neglect and waste of the Solyndra failure, has clearly not diminished Obama’s willingness to undermine the American economy by picking winners and losers in the private sector. The government created “solar bubble” is speeding to a bursting point. When it bursts, the Administration’s complicit involvement, will make another government bail-out simply too much for the public to swallow. 

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DOE Loan Guarantee Program Continues to Cost Taxpayers Millions

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Posted by Emma Boone on Friday, June 5th, 2015, 11:51 AM PERMALINK

Since enactment in 2005, the Energy Policy Act has allowed the Department of Energy (DOE) to gamble away taxpayer dollars on many unnecessary and wasteful projects. Thankfully, the DOE’s website provides us with a timeline of exactly how they have wasted taxpayers’ hard earned dollars.

Most are familiar with the past failures of the program, some of which were highly publicized. For instance the infamous taxpayer funded boondoggles Solyndra, Abound Solar and Fisker, which left Americans on the hook for a combined $935 million in federal guarantees. Naturally, one would think since then some level of accountability would be due, however the DOE still has yet to improve its Loan Guarantee Program.

According to a recent report from the Government of Accountability Office (GAO), the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program will cost taxpayers $2.2 billion over the lifetime of the loans.The report looked at funding for 34 items with a total price tag of about $28 billion. Five of those taxpayer-supported ventures have defaulted costing Americans $807 million. Of course, this is also not accounting for the $312 million in administration costs, which taxpayers will also be footing the bill for.   

While green-energy advocates continue to push for more government-backed deals, claiming “green based projects” will create jobs, Americans are getting little to no return on their investments. With $34.7 billion in DOE guaranteed loans and a little over 2,000 permanent jobs created, each job created cost tax payers roughly $6.7 million per job, a hefty price for projects that sponsor now bankrupt corporations.

These taxpayer-funded failures on items such as solar and hybrid vehicle start-ups not only waste much needed revenue but have Americans footing the bill for projects that will fail to see completion. 

While the Department of Energy will conveniently fail to mention that taxpayers are estimated to be paying off over $2 billion worth of pointlessly funded DOE projects, Americans can expect to see this trend continue if these taxpayer backed sweetheart deals continue.

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