Government Picks Yet Even More losers

The federal government has shelled out some $80 billion to support various clean energy initiatives. Unfortunately, many of these so-called “investments” are failing.

A very revealing report by Marita Noon, executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc., identifies how this money has been wasted. Her report goes into detail about the companies that have received government “investments” such as loans or grants.

The essence of the report can be grasped by listing the companies in which the government has “invested” and how they fared.

Some of these companies (underlined) were featured in earlier Power For USA articles. See Clean Energy Results, August 30, 2011, and Lining up at the Money Trough,October 4, 2011.

The companies listed in the report by Marita Noon include:

Solyndra

Received $535 million DOE loan and $25.1 million in California tax credit.

Bankrupt: September 2011

Abound Solar

Received part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration and was awarded a $400 million loan under Obama in December of 2010. It was also awarded a $9.2 million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011.

Bankrupt: June 2012

Beacon Power

Received more than $25 million in DOE grants and a DOE loan for $43 million.

Bankrupt: October 2011

AES Eastern Energy/Energy Storage

Received $17.1 million DOE conditional commitment on August 2, 2010.

Bankrupt: December 31, 2011

Amonix

Received $6 million in federal tax credits and a $15.6 million grant from the DOE for research and development.

Bankrupt: July 18, 2012

Azure Dynamics

Received millions in stimulus funds and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits.

Bankrupt: March 27, 2012

Babcock & Brown

Received $178 million in the largest federal (1603) stimulus wind grant in December 2009

Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009

Energy Conversion Devices Inc./Uni-Solar

Received a $13.3 million Stimulus tax credit.

Bankrupt: February 2011

Ener1

Received a $118.5 million DOE Stimulus grant.

Bankrupt: January 26, 2011

Evergreen Solar, Inc.

Received Stimulus funds, grants, tax-credits, low-interest loans, and subsidies.

Evergreen also received $58 million in taxpayer subsidies from the State of Massachusetts in 2008.

Bankrupt: August 15, 2011

Konarka Technologies Inc.

Received $20 million in grants from government agencies such as the DOE and the Pentagon.

Bankrupt: June 4, 2012

Raser Technologies

Received $33 million Treasury Department Stimulus grant.

Bankrupt: May 2, 2011

SpectraWatt

Received $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Lab via the Stimulus.

Bankrupt: August 23, 2011

Stirling Energy Systems

Received $7 million from a federal renewable-energy grant and was eligible for nearly $10.5 million in manufacturing tax credits.

Bankrupt: September 28, 2011

Thompson River Power LLC

Received $6.5 million in Stimulus funds from Section 1603.

Bankrupt: July 2, 2012

 

Some additional information about government loans and grants include:

Abengoa

Received a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE).

This is a foreign company with taxpayer money at risk.

Range Fuels

(From report by Atlanta Journal-Constitution) “Approved for $162 million in grants, loans and loan guarantees for the Georgia venture. Half that amount was disbursed — and lost by taxpayers — for the cellulosic ethanol plant, now idle, in the east Georgia town of Soperton.”

Cello Energy

Could not produce cellulosic ethanol in commercial quantities.

Plant is idle.

 

Now, as of October 16, 2012, we can add A123 Systems to the list of bankrupt companies that received grants from the government.

The sad truth is that the government cannot pick winners and inevitably picks losers when it puts taxpayer money at risk.

While there is a role to be played by government in funding fundamental research for experimental technologies, the government, when backing companies, is invariably motivated by a political agenda, in this case so-called “clean energy” rather than being focused on a business’ viability in a free market.

 

Read more of Donn’s columns at his blog, Power For USA

© Power For USA, 2010 – 2012

 

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