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  • Brightsource DOE Funding Exposes Obama Cronyism

    A congressional hearing on May 16 exposed further details on just the kind of political maneuvering that was going on between the Obama Administration and beneficiaries of Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees. Emails revealed during the hearing are the tip of the iceberg in a corrupt federal funding process that first came under congressional scrutiny with the failure of Solyndra.

    Solar company BrightSource Energy received an even bigger loan guarantee from DOE than Solyndra did. In April 2011, the company received $1.6 billion for its Ivanpah project in California—more than triple the size of Solyndra’s loan guarantee of $535 million! BrightSource’s CEO, John Woolard, claims that at its peak, the project would create 1,400 jobs. That would amount to $1.43 million for every job created.

    John McArdle reports that in an email sent 15 months before the BrightSource loan was finalized, Woolard wrote an email to Matt Rogers, then DOE’s top adviser on the administration of stimulus funds. Woolard wrote, according to Greenwire:

    …that Peter Darbee, head of Pacific Gas & Electric Co., “talked directly to Obama about the program’s challenges and the bad situation it puts him in. DOE credibility is thin and I am currently trying to put off [communication] with the Hill until we talk.” Rogers replied that he appreciated the heads-up and was “working it on this end.”

    Merely a month before the BrightSource loan came through, another email exchange occurred between then-BrightSource Chairman John Bryson (who was nominated by President Obama to serve as Commerce Secretary in May 2011 and was confirmed to the post last October) and Jonathan Silver, who was in charge of the DOE loan program. The email was addressed to then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley but was never sent to him, over concerns that it might not be appropriate.

    “The White House needs to focus on finalizing the loan guarantee for what would be the largest solar thermal project in the world,” Bryson wrote in the draft.

    “We need a commitment from the [White House] to quarterback loan closure between [the Office of Management and Budget] and DOE by March 18 to avoid having our project jeopardized by larger budget politics.”

    Even before these emails appeared, BrightSource became known as heavily politically connected. In his new book, Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer reported that Sanjay Wagle, a major player in BrightSource’s largest shareholder, Vantage Point, and an Obama fundraiser, “was installed at the Department of Energy (DOE), advising on energy grants.”

    These revelations demonstrate that federal processes to supply loan guarantees and other subsidies are steeped in political favoritism. The only solution to get this cronyism out of government is to get government out of the business of picking market winners among its political friends. This can be done by ending all energy subsidies and freeing up energy markets for companies to compete to create the most value for consumers.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Brightsource DOE Funding Exposes Obama Cronyism

    1. Bobbie says:

      the tip of his cons! He's an insult to human dignity! Please realize for every move this man makes is a set up! Forget about any excuse of inexperience, that doesn't excuse his adamant refusal to follow experienced advice. He dumps sacrifice where he sees fit! Like a 3rd world leader with no self esteem, just hatred to fulfill.
      His leadership is cruel and unusual in America that most men of America with respect to all humanity and with courage and strength, vowed to disallow the veracity of this low life, inhumane, 3rd world leadership.

    2. Derek says:

      And all of this lobbying was going on while BrightSource was grossly overrunning their only project at Chevron Coalinga (steam only, no electrical) , now by over 250% and having lots of startup & warranty problems. I bet they did not mention that to the DOE at the time.

    3. There is so much more to this part and the rest of Obama's Green Corruption –– I broke this story yesterday afternoon with a few more interesting tidbits…
      BrightSource Background:
      BrightSouce received $1.6 billion loan, yet it was on the DOE "junk bond" list that I had reported on last month. Also, due to their debt issues, they badly needed the cash, and were actually considered (by many) as a bailout.

      WOW, BrightSource is politically connected…

      BrigtSource Investors include many TOP 2008 Obama Donors ––

      VantagePoint Partners – the major stake holder in BrightSource –– Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a partner and Senior Adviser and Sanjay Wagle was a principle. Meanwhile, Wagle was a DOE adviser at the time the loan was approved.
      Google Inc. –– #5 Top Obama Donor for $814,540
      Morgan Stanley –– #19 Top Obama Donor for $512,232
      BP Alternative Energy, a Top Obama Contributor, is also an investor. According to Politico in 2010, "During his [Obama's] time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records."
      Also on that list of BrightSource investors are Chevron, Black River, Alstom, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, StatoilHydro Venture, CalsTRS, and Riverwood.
      BrightSource Chairman John Byrson –– the co-founder of the left-wing Apollo Alliance group that helped craft the stimulus became Obama’s Secretary of Commerce.
      Furthermore, BrightSource Energy is part of the "Special Solar Seven” –– Abengoa Solar, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, Ormat Nevada, SolarReserve, BrightSource Energy, and NextEra Energy Resources (Genesis Solar project) –– that in March 2009 "received fast-tracked approval by the Department of Interior (DOI) to lease federal lands in a no-bid process," a recent story tracked by The Washington Free Beacon. All seven carry Obama and Democratic political ties, three alone to Senator Harry Reid.

      VantagePoint "green portfolio" had cashed in big time, and this is what just a regular citizen could find…

      BrightSource Energy –– $1.6 billion DOE loan
      Serious Energy (was Serious Materials) –– 2009 and 2010, Special White House attention as well as a special $548, 100 tax credit.
      Solazyme –– $21.7 million grant
      Telsa Motors (Westly is an Obama 2008 and 2012 Bundler) –– $465 million DOE ATVM loan
      Two that are also on the Kleiner Perkins (Al Gore and John Doerr are partners) cleantech portfolio: Mascoma ($170 million under the Bush administration and in 2006 they snagged $49.5 million from the state of Michigan; in 2011, under the President Obama, their $350 million project in Michigan is being funded by the DOE and the state of Michigan) and MiaSole (January 2010, $101.8 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing tax credit)
      1366 Technologies, a General Electric project that was also listed on the "DOE junk bond portfolio," which received a $150 DOE million loan.

      Other DOE officials relevant to this case are Matt Rogers, Jonathon Silver, Sanjay Wagle, and Cathy Zoi as well as PG&E. Check out my Green Corruption Blog [http://greencorruption.blogspot.com/] for more…

    4. There is so much more to this part and the rest of Obama's Green Corruption –– I broke this story yesterday afternoon with a few more interesting tidbits…check out my Green Corruption blog [http://greencorruption.blogspot.com/]...

    5. Joseph Somsel says:

      Here's another one – why did the Administration offer a $2 billion guarantee to an arm of the French government for a nuclear enrichment plant while stiff-arming a US corporation. All the while another enrichment plant was under construction WITHOUT US taxpayer backing?

    6. Ray Smith says:

      Just who are Obama's advisors, that have him in his frame of mind? Can you help me?

      Sincerely, Ray P. Smith

    7. Rob says:

      Whose laughing now all you Obama haters. This power plant is coming online and producing enough electricity to power 175,000 homes.

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