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President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures
Posted By Ashe Schow On October 18, 2012 @ 8:25 am In Energy and Environment | 134 Comments
It is no secret that President Obama’s and green energy supporters’ (from both parties) foray into venture capitalism has not gone well. But the extent of its failure has been largely ignored by the press. Sure, single instances garner attention as they happen, but they ignore past failures in order to make it seem like a rare case.
The truth is that the problem is widespread. The government’s picking winners and losers in the energy market has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and the rate of failure, cronyism, and corruption at the companies receiving the subsidies is substantial. The fact that some companies are not under financial duress does not make the policy a success. It simply means that our taxpayer dollars subsidized companies that would’ve found the financial support in the private market.
So far, 34 companies that were offered federal support from taxpayers are faltering — either having gone bankrupt or laying off workers or heading for bankruptcy. This list includes only those companies that received federal money from the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy and other agencies. The amount of money indicated does not reflect how much was actually received or spent but how much was offered. The amount also does not include other state, local, and federal tax credits and subsidies, which push the amount of money these companies have received from taxpayers even higher.
The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:
*Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.
The problem begins with the issue of government picking winners and losers in the first place. Venture capitalist firms exist for this very reason, and they choose what to invest in by looking at companies’ business models and deciding if they are worthy. When the government plays venture capitalist, it tends to reward companies that are connected to the policymakers themselves or because it sounds nice to “invest” in green energy.
The 2009 stimulus set aside $80 billion to subsidize politically preferred energy projects. Since that time, 1,900 investigations have been opened  to look into stimulus waste, fraud, and abuse (although not all are linked to the green-energy funds), and nearly 600 convictions have been made. Of that $80 billion in clean energy loans, grants, and tax credits, at least 10 percent has gone to companies that have since either gone bankrupt or are circling the drain.
Figures for four companies have been updated: Beacon Power received $43 million  from the U.S. government, not $69 million as originally reported. Azure Dynamics received $5.4 million  from the federal government, not $120 million as originally reported. Compact Power Inc. received $151 million  as part of the stimulus, not $150 million as originally reported. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group received $700,981  in government funding, not $6 million as originally reported.
The following companies have been removed from the original list: AES’s subsidiary Eastern Energy, LSP Energy, Schneider Electric, and Uni-Solar did not receive government-backed loans, based on additional research. The National Renewable Energy Lab did received $200 million in stimulus funding, but it is a government laboratory.
Additional research provided by Michael Sandoval
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/10/18/president-obamas-taxpayer-backed-green-energy-failures/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/Obama-Solar-Panels-3-2012.jpg
 Evergreen Solar: http://www.usaspending.gov/search?form_fields=%7b%22search_term%22%3A%22evergreen+solar%22%7d
 SpectraWatt: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/15/despite-stimulus-funding-solyndra-and-4-other-companies-have-hit-rock-bottom/
 Solyndra: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-12/obama-team-backed-535-million-solyndra-aid-as-auditor-warned-on-finances.html
 Beacon Power: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-31/beacon-power-backed-by-u-s-loan-guarantees-files-bankruptcy.html
 Nevada Geothermal: http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/236311-another-obama-backed-energy-firm-may-be-close-to-collapse
 SunPower: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/12/solar-firm-that-received-12-billion-federal-loan-plagued-by-financial-problems-702546811/
 First Solar: http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/doe-backed-solar-company-lays-2000/484901
 Babcock and Brown: http://www.globalwarming.org/2012/01/14/cbs-11-more-solyndras-in-obama-green-energy-program/
 EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1: http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=A1602AF6-F11F-4B9D-ABC4-AC9234EBEC41
 Amonix: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/jan/25/some-200-laid-north-las-vegas-amonix-solar-plant/
 Fisker Automotive: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/02/clean-energy-loan-recipient-lays-off-staff-113652.html
 Abound Solar: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_20066660
 A123 Systems: http://nlpc.org/stories/2012/04/04/taxpayers%E2%80%99-green-%E2%80%98investment%E2%80%99-battery-company-withers
 Willard and Kelsey Solar Group: http://nlpc.org/stories/2012/04/05/crickets-chirp-another-taxpayer-funded-solar-factory
 Johnson Controls: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-obamas-green-car-revolution-fits-and-starts/2011/11/29/gIQA0FdRdO_story.html
 Brightsource: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576359852009524680.html
 ECOtality: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-57402463-10391695/stimulus-recipient-under-investigation-for-insider-trading/
 Raser Technologies: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052970203710704577050412494713178.html
 Energy Conversion Devices: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/309936/green-jobs-gone-bust-deroy-murdock
 Range Fuels: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704364004576132453701004530.html
 Thompson River Power: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303644004577523282632904216.html
 Azure Dynamics: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/azure-dynamics-wins-doe-award-to-develop-next-generation-traction-inverter-127521153.html
 GreenVolts: http://www.nrel.gov/solar/news/2009/677.html?print
 Vestas: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/10/13/Danish-Wind-Turbine-Company-That-Received-Over-50-Million-In-Stimulus-Lays-Off-800-Workers
 LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/background-presidents-event-holland-michigan-today
 Nordic Windpower: https://lpo.energy.gov/?p=834
 Navistar: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/autos/1004/gallery.electric_trucks/4.html
 Satcon: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/10/18/another-doe-backed-solar-company-goes-bankrupt/
 Konarka Technologies Inc.: http://www.boston.com/businessupdates/2012/06/04/konarka-files-for-chapter-ceases-operations/afQFI6wU5DKTZbSJkUdJQJ/story.html
 Mascoma Corp.: http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/17123
 1,900 investigations have been opened: http://www.washingtonguardian.com/stimulating-investigation
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