Skip to comments.Betting on Green - Obama doubles down on failed green energy projects
Posted on 10/18/2012 11:46:40 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
President Barack Obama appears to be doubling down on his policies of using taxpayer money to finance green energy investments despite an increasingly spotty track record.
Weve got to control our own energy, you know, not only oil and natural gas, which weve been investing in, but also, weve got to make sure were building the energy source of the future, not just thinking about next year, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now, he said during Tuesday nights presidential debate. Thats why weve invested in solar and wind and biofuels, energy-efficient cars.
The controversial stimulus package passed in 2009 allocated some $90 billion for an assortment of green energy projects in an effort to create millions of shovel ready jobs.
On the day of the debate, however, one of those investments went belly up. Battery maker A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy Tuesday despite receiving more than $250 million in taxpayer funding. The company had reported a net loss of more than $400 million over the past two years.
Obama touted A123 in July 2011 as an example of a successful taxpayer investment in green energy. Companies like these are taking root and putting people to work in every corner of the country, he said.
The firms bankruptcy exemplifies how the presidents green energy policies have failed, according to one top Republican lawmaker.
A123s bankruptcy is a sign that the Obama administrations green house of cards is starting to collapse, House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee chairman Cliff Stearns (R., Fla.) told the Washington Examiner.
A123 was a business partner with Fisker Automotive, another taxpayer-financed green energy company that is struggling to survive despite receiving more that $500 million in taxpayer financing.
Fisker was forced to recall a number of its Karma electric vehicles last year due to defective batteries from A123. The company has also received criticism for manufacturing the Karma in Finland despite receiving support from United States taxpayers.
A123 is just the latest green energy company touted by Obamaand funded with taxpayer dollarsto experience financial difficulty. Earlier this year, solar panel firm Amonix Inc. laid off nearly two-thirds of its workforce after receiving a $6 million federal tax credit.
The highest profile failure in Obamas green energy portfolio is Solyndra, the California solar company that filed for bankruptcy in September 2011. The firm, which was partially owned by prominent Obama campaign bundler George Kaiser, was the recipient of more than $500 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans.
Kaiser can expect to see a better return on his investment than American taxpayers. As part of a 2010 agreement to restructure Solyndras loan, Obamas Department of Energy granted priority status to private investors such as Kaiser with respect to the first $75 million recovered in the event of the firms bankruptcya move that many suspect may have violated federal law.
A123, Fisker, and Amonix also have ties to prominent Democratic donors. California investment guru John Doerr, who has contributed more than $170,000 to Democratic campaigns and committees since 2008, owned stakes in each of the companies through his firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
An early and outspoken advocate for federal investment in green technology, Doerr was named in 2009 to the presidents Economic Recovery Advisory Board, where he helped craft the $787 billion stimulus package. Of the 27 companies listed in KPCBs green-tech portfolio, 16 received some form of taxpayer support.
This sort of relationship is par for the course when it comes to Obamas green energy investments.
Elon Musk, who has personally donated more than $100,000 to Obamas reelection campaign, has ties to companies that have received million of dollars in taxpayer funding over the past four years.
One of those companies, SolarCity, is currently being audited by the Internal Revenue Service and investigated by the Treasury Departments inspector general amid allegations that the firm misrepresented the value of its investment when applying for stimulus grants.
Musk is also the CEO of and largest investor in Tesla Motors, an electric car company that received a $465 million federal loan in 2009. Steve Westly, a top Obama bundler who was appointed to a White House advisory board on energy policy, is another prominent Tesla investor.
Westly has openly acknowledged that a close relationship with federal lawmakers is key to investing in green technology. In response to a reporters question about which green energy companies he likes to invest in, Westly said: Who cares what I think. Lets talk about what does Obama like? Heres what he likes, because heres where the federal government is putting money. And let me tell you, whatever he likes, thats what I like.
The brilliant, intellectal, scientist-economist-nuclear-engineer-teacher-scholar-all-knowing Progressive has spoken and acted.
Question: When will his compass location be transmitted so that all can bow in his direction?
SolarCity has sought to extend a program, due to expire at the end of 2012, that delivers to manufacturers an upfront cash grant in lieu of a 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (called the Section 1603 grant program). So far, according to DOE reports, SolarCity has received more than $66 million from that program.
The company also won a partial guarantee from DOE of a $344 million loan that will place up to 160,000 rooftop solar installations on military housing across the country..........." ____________________________________________
According to President Obama's 2013 budget proposal, NASA's budget would decrease from the $18.4 billion it was allotted in 2011 to $17.7 billion by 2017. These are cuts via attrition. There is no percentage increase per annum as other federal agencies enjoy. There is no base line accounting gimmickry. These are real cuts.
Of all the waste by the Federal government and with all the other Federal agencies that could be moved to privatization, Obama selects our space program. This detracts from the progress of our missile technology that is shared with our military, it inhibits our national defense, and it damages our national identity.
Space X is Obama's choice for supplanting NASA. It appears Obama has picked another loser. Move over Solyndra.
This entire episode should be a political embarrassment for the President. From the shortcomings of this handpicked partial replacement to the Solyndra-like money trail. Privatizing portions of our space program seems prudent on the surface. But outsourcing any of our capabilities to defend the nation, or to develop cutting-edge missile technologies, or to allow sharing the same with our military, is ill advised. We cannot afford a generational gap in our missile program. We must have a generational continuity of expertise in our space program, uninterrupted by presidential whims and political favoritism. If we lose or diminish the community of these experts that have sustained NASA, any attempts to resurrect such a specifically proficient team will likely be an insurmountable task.
Hamstringing our space program, cutting our defense budget, and entering into lopsided strategic arms treaties that seem to inhibit missile defenses is more than bothersome. All appear grounded in some type of questionable agenda."
If as much investment had gone into “clean coal” technology as has been WASTED on “green energy”, we would both have a much fuller employment picture, AND more real gains in clean air and water.
A technology that is never applied cannot reduce “emissions”, when compared to real-world industrial applications.
Picking winners and losers? Then why is the pick almost invariably the “loser”?
>> Fisker was forced to recall a number of its Karma electric vehicles last year due to defective batteries from A123.
Hahahahaha! Crony capitalism => crappy quality => bankruptcy. If that ain’t “Karma”, I don’t know what is!
Al Gore has thrived as green-tech investor
".....Just before leaving public office in 2001, Gore reported assets of less than $2 million; today, his wealth is estimated at $100 million.
Gore charted this path by returning to his longtime passion clean energy. He benefited from a powerful resume and a constellation of friends in the investment world and in Washington. And four years ago, his portfolio aligned smoothly with the agenda of an incoming administration and its plan to spend billions in stimulus funds on alternative energy.
....In last weeks presidential debate, Romney criticized the $90 billion that went to promote green technology, saying a number of businesses owned by Obama campaign contributors were winners.
....Gore, 63, divides most of his time now between his home in Nashville and a St. Regis tower apartment in San Francisco, where he can visit his West Coast investment partnership and see his new girlfriend, an environmental activist. (He and his wife of 40 years, Tipper, separated two years ago. She lives in the $8.9 million mansion they bought in 2010 outside Santa Barbara.)
....Gore had won a Nobel Prize and Oscar for his 2006 book and movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Supporters had begun hailing him as the single most effective spokesman on the threat of climate change. With his prize winnings, Gore created the Alliance for Climate Protection, an advocacy group that ran ads warning of looming climate change. In the process, he gained high-placed admirers and business associates in Silicon Valley.
Gore entered the investment world full time by co-founding Generation Investment Management [GIM], a London-based investment firm. He was the type of high-profile partner sought by Goldman Sachs executive David Blood, who had headed Goldmans $325 billion asset management division and was looking to start a new firm. The pair launched GIM in 2004 to back companies focused on sustainability, including clean energy, water scarcity and poverty....
....Gore also found himself to be a sought-after star among elite Silicon Valley investors. In late 2007, he became a senior investment partner at one of the worlds most successful venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins. He was combining forces with longtime friend John Doerr in a joint mission to spur clean tech.........
As Obama was preparing to take office, it was clear his public agenda supporting clean energy aligned with Gores personal agenda. Obama held a highly publicized meeting with Gore at transition headquarters in Chicago to talk about energy policy. Later, Obama closely echoed several of Gores talking points and his plan for public investment in clean energy. Obama even adopted Gores campaign catchphrase for the effort, Repower America.
This is a matter of urgency and national security, Obama said. We have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country in all 50 states to repower America, to redesign how we use energy and . . . make us competitive for decades to come even as we save the planet......
Gores investments coincided with the governments largest investment in clean tech. A full 10 percent, estimated at $80 billion to $90 billion, of the 2009 stimulus package was devoted to clean energy.......
....Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a leading critic of clean tech funding, said Gores portfolio is reflective of a disturbing pattern that those closest to the president have been rewarded with billions of taxpayer dollars . . . and benefited from the administrations green bonanza in the rush to spend stimulus cash........"More
GIM: Generation Investment Management LLP co-founders: [Al Gore and David Blood [headed Goldmans $325 billion asset management division] LINKS to their advocacy and editorials.
"The $683 million "Climate Solutions Fund" piece of GIM has made direct, minority investments in a number of cleantech firms including SolarCity, Tigo, Ausra, and SMA." Source Oct. 4, 2012
Sorry I guess I have to work on that lol!
We’re dealing with real “brain power”...
Live from the HuffPost Obama Pre-Inaugural Ball - blogging excerpts
Monday January 19, 2009
10:00 elon musk: the future is green
10:01 elon musk: oh my god, sharon stone is here!
10:55 Matt Petersen: What a rush to be here tonight at the HuffPo party and be party of this amazing event. Hats off to Arianna and her inimitable, irrepressible, and unmatched vision and passion. And to Elon Musk!, and all the other sponsors...
10:56 Matt Petersen: Global Green USA is in the house...and need all of you to push for the green parts of the stimulus package...to pursue economic revitalization and environmental restoration...they’re one in the same.
10:57 Matt Petersen: I’m going to the swearing in - standing tickets...looking forward to every cold moment for it is a small price to pay for the struggles of so many for so long that have brought us to this place in history...
10:58 Matt Petersen: It reminds us that history is not preordained...it is how we face each crisis...each opportunity...that defines history
>> 10:00 elon musk: the future is green
Yeah. For Elon, anyway. Taxpayer-money green.
Thought question: do you think Elon’s personal sports cars, SUVs, and jet airplanes are solar powered? Or maybe they run on biomass?
In the debates, Obama has made it sound like that while Solyndra was a failure, that otherwise this green energy thing has been a success?
Ok, is that the case? If not, shouldn’t the Romney campaign point out that it has been a dog, and cite specific numbers about how much it has cost, and how few success stories there are?
“Romney criticized Obama for providing $90 billion in breaks for renewable energy, and compared that to 50 years worth of tax breaks for oil and gas drilling companies. Romney mentioned bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra, troubled electric auto maker Fisker, and battery maker EnerOne all recipients of Energy Department loans and or loan guarantees. Solyndra alone borrowed $535 million before going bankrupt. This is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to have America energy secure, he said.....”
“.....The president first raised the issue in the Denver debate, questioning Mr. Romney about the need for $2.8 billion in annual subsidies for oil and gas companies. But Mr. Romney wasted no time in turning the issue against Mr. Obama.
Mr. Romney took specific aim at $90 billion directed at wind, solar and other renewable-energy projects, a portion of the Obama administrations green energy funding initiative that has included some high-profile failures, such as now-bankrupt solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC.
The Republican made the attacks against a backdrop of uncertainty in the energy industry and potential political peril for Mr. Obama. Many in the oil and gas sector have questioned his administration, mostly notably the Environmental Protection Agency, for rules cracking down on drilling. Most in the coal industry and those in coal-producing states say the president harbors outright hostility toward their fuel.
Those attitudes, combined with Mr. Obamas vocal support for using taxpayer money to fund solar- and wind-power projects, gave Mr. Romney a clear opening.
In one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green-energy world. Now I like green energy as well, but thats about 50 years of what oil and gas receives in federal subsidies, Mr. Romney said at the Denver debate, the first of three between the two candidates.
You put $90 billion into solar and wind, into Solyndra. You dont just pick the winners and losers. You pick the losers. This is not the policy you want to have if you want to get America energy-secure, he said...”
You put $90 billion like 50 years worth of breaks into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1, said Romney. I mean, I had a friend who said, you dont just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers.