Tag Archives: taxpayer money waste

Green Death

Eight regions of Spain have had their credit ratings cut as uneasy Spaniards moved their money overseas. Spooked by the questionable state of their banks, Spanish savers are now moving their money abroad faster than records have ever shown. Spain’s credit rating has been downgraded two notches and nearly 25% of Spaniards are unemployed

The Spanish newspaper La Gaceta ran a full-page article exposing the truth about Spain’s “green jobs” agenda, which just happens to have been cited many times by barack obama as the way “forward” for the United States. “Green energy” has now been exposed as a costly disaster that has undone Spain’s economy.

The Spanish Administration confessed “the increase of the electric bill is principally due to the cost of renewable energies.” It has now become officially recognized that the price of electricity, as well as increases in Spain’s debt are due to the extra cost of solar and wind energy. Additionally, the Spanish administration now admits that each green job that was created cost more than 2.2 traditional jobs in the private sector.

All evidence to the contrary, the obama administration insists on moving full speed ahead with its ill imagined, full frontal assault on the American energy industry, coupled with increased promotion of their “green jobs” fantasy.

Not only is coal America’s cheapest source of energy, the United States owns some the world’s largest coal deposits. Newly enacted EPA regulations now force a reduction in utility CO2 emissions to 1,000 pounds per megawatt of electricity. This regulation effectively bans construction of new coal-fired plants and will invariably lead to hikes in electricity costs. Since only natural gas meets the new emissions standard, the country’s electricity providers will be forced to pay the cost of converting to natural gas. One way or another, electricity prices will “necessarily skyrocket”.

Despite administration claims, obama’s hostility towards fossil fuels has led to reduced opportunities for domestic oil production. obama continues to call for the elimination of targeted tax breaks oil companies have been receiving for decades. The general public is largely unaware of the fact that those tax breaks are targeted chiefly for exploratory activities. Drilling for oil is an expensive, uncertain business venture. Even successful fields have limited lifespans. Besides, hiking taxes on new exploration is counter-intuitive to increasing production.

In addition to his open aggression towards traditional fuels, obama plans on “investing” more of American taxpayer money by doubling down on spending for wind farms, solar energy, homegrown biofuels and energy-efficient cars and buildings. The history of the administration’s “investment” strategy is fraught with peril.

Here are a few of the “green” “sustainable energy” failures that have already been supported by the current administration’s “investments”. Remember, all this financing was done using your tax dollars. Well, not exactly. It has been done with tax dollars to be re-paid to the Federal Reserve Bank and China by your grandchildren and great grandchildren. Plus interest:

Evergreen Energy-Which has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, saying it’s “impossible to maintain operations” due to funding shortfalls. This announcement came after the company received $5.3 million in “stimulus” funds.

Amonix Inc.-A manufacturer of solar panels that received $5.9 million from the “stimulus”, laid off about 200 employees only seven months after opening a factory in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s home State of Nevada.

Beacon Power Corp-Sought bankruptcy protection in 2010 after they received a $43 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.

Ener1 Electric-A car battery manufacturer, filed for bankruptcy three years after receiving a $118.5 million grant from the U.S. government.

These are all in addition to Solyndra-A solar panel maker that received a $535 million loan guarantee, then famously filed for Chapter 11 protection.

This is a mere taste of problems found when centrally planned big government intrudes into the free market. Not only is the spending inherently wasteful, the fact that these companies were in large part operated by big donors to obama’s political campaign points to the corruption involved when an ideologically captive, politically driven politician makes investment decisions based on cronyism. Two thirds of all energy loan guarantees or grants made by the obama administration’s Department of Energy have gone to his campaign donors or donation bundlers. Can you say quid quo pro?

All government energy subsidies should end. Energy companies should be free to compete without government interference. If and when “green” “sustainable energy” becomes a competitive solution, consumers will reward “green” companies that used private capital to successfully situate themselves in the market by purchasing their products. That’s how a free market works. That’s what’s made America the greatest economic success in the history of human civilization.


SunPower – Solyndra squared?

Now Department of Energy Is Going International

How did a company get a $1.2 billion Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee three weeks after it announced it was building new manufacturing plant in Mexicali, Mexico to build the panels for a photovoltaic electricity ranch project in eastern San Luis Obispo County, CA? The $1.2 billion DOE loan guarantee will help San Jose-based SunPower build a 250-megawatt solar plant, the California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR). Hours before the DOE 1705 loan program expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2011 on Sept. 30, the $1.2 billion in loan guarantees was approved for SunPower. SunPower plans to manufacture its high-efficiency E18 series, E19 series, and E20 series solar panels, and will also produce its SunPower T5 Solar Roof Tile system at the Mexicali facility.

In addition to manufacturing solar panel and roof tiles, SunPower builds solar panel ranches, like CVSR, which it then sells off, but retains the services contract. The DOE loan guarantee is earmarked for CVSR, which it has already sold to NRG Solar, but will continue to maintain. According to DOE, CVSR will create 350 construction jobs during the two-year build and 15 permanent jobs. WOW! $1.2 billion for 15 permanent jobs. What will DOE think of next?

SunPower, a failing California company whose current $800 million capitalization is below its $820 million current debt level. And, shareholders and retirement funds are suing it. But not to worry (said very sarcastically). Total, the French oil giant, paid $1.3 billion for 60% of SunPower in June, 2011. Total paid a 50% premium, or $15.26 per share, of Sunpower’s stock share value in April, 2011.

Loan Guarantee, Takeover, and Insider Stock Trading

Consider this: the loan guarantee was announced April 12, 2011, two weeks before Total launched its takeover. The takeover deal, made public April 28, 2011, allowed insider traders to get very liquid. SunPower CEO Tom Werner is typical of an inside trader. On May 24, 2011, he exercised his right to purchase 428,343 shares at $3.30 per share, a $18 discount from the day’s trading range. He sold 478,084 shares June 15, 2011, the day the Total takeover closed, at $23.25 netting him $11,115,453. Not bad for sitting on stock for less than a month.

SunPower Is In Big Trouble

Stoyan Elitzen, in September, 2011, at SeekingAlpha.com, says SunPower as the ninth-most-shorted solar stock traded. Although its stock has recovered from its all-time low of $6.60 per share to trade between $8 and $9 per share, it is far from its all-time high of $133.

An October 4, 2010 stock sell-off, dropping stock prices 12%, was triggered by the company’s Oct. 3 aftermarket statement announcing the company was paying down its $50 million credit line with a consortium of European banks and opening a new $200 million credit line with Deutsche Bank. According to the statement, Dennis V. Arriola, the company’s chief financial officer said the new credit line will improve the company’s ability to operate.

SunPower and its officers are defendants in a shareholder lawsuit, with plaintiffs including the Austin (TX) Police Retirement System, the Arkansas Teachers Retirement System, and other institutional investors for an alleged scheme to deceive the investing public by making false statements contrary to nonpublic information known to the insiders.

Political Pull

Two men with strong SunPower connections are Rep. George R. Miller III, (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee and the co-chairman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and his SunPower lobbyist son, George Miller IV. Miller III is a strong advocate for SunPower, which converted an old Richmond, CA, Ford plant in his district to a panel-manufacturing facility. And SunPower employs George IV, SunPower’s top lobbyist in California. Miller IV was pushing for the $1.2 billion loan guarantee taxpayers are on the hook for now.

Of the $15,650 SunPower donated in 2010 to House and Senate candidates, $14,650 went to Democrats. Top recipients: $4,000 to Sen. Harry Reid (D – NV), $3,000 to Rep. Gabrielle Gifford (D – AZ) and $2,900 to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D – CA). Does anyone see a pattern here?

Another Solyndra?

Another Solyndra? Unless SunPower has an ace up its sleeve, it sure looks like DOE and the WH have again wasted our taxpayer dollars. Only time will tell, and we’ll be watching for an announcement from SunPower.