5 Billion Dollars Gone with the Wind

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When we send our kids to the store with $20 for a gallon of milk, we hope they’ll bring us back some change or at least some other items of use for the family. When they return, smelling of pixie sticks and Hershey’s bars, we know they’ve wasted our money.

Well, something similar has happened to the American taxpayers and their money to the tune of $5 billion. Let me show you how many zeros that is – 5,000,000,000. Ouch.

That $5 billion in taxpayer-funded loans went to 18 so-called “green” companies or division of companies, as detailed recently in an article from the Heritage Action for America website entitled “Can President Obama Name ONE Clean Energy Success?” By the way, ALL of these companies are now failing or have filed bankruptcy.

You’ve heard of the miserable failure of Solyndra that received $535 million. Here are her floundering sisters-in-green:

  • Evergreen Solar – filed for bankruptcy last August with over $485.6 million in debt blaming market conditions and the Chinese for its collapse.
  • SpectraWatt – also filed for bankruptcy in August of 2011 again citing poor market conditions. It was partially funded by Intel and was a subsidiary of Canadian Solar.
  • Beacon Power (received $43 million) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2011 and was delisted from Nasdaq that same month.
  • AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy – filed Chapter 11 in December 2011.
  • Nevada Geothermal (received $98.5 million) Is struggling and produces only enough energy for 35,000 Nevada homes per year with only 22 employees, according to the New York Times.
  • SunPower (received $1.5 billion) – received twice the money of Solyndra just 3 weeks after announcing intentions to build new facilities in Mexicali, Mexico (that’s not the United States, even with our fluid borders).
  • First Solar (received $1.46 billion) – largely blamed for the solar market collapse due to their severe price cutting practices. In April 2012, announced layoffs of 2,000 workers
  •  Babcock & Brown (an Australian company which received $178 million) They are now defunct.
  • Ener1 (subsidiary EnerDel received $118.5 million) Vice President Biden toured one of their locations and called it one of “100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America.”
  • Amonix (received 5.9 million in 2010) – announced in January 2012 they would be laying off 200 of their 300 employees at a plant in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
  • Fisker Automotive – most of the $200 million went to develop the $100,000 electric car called Karma, which is built in Finland (so not by American auto workers) and whose battery keeps catching on fire.
  • Abound Solar (received $400 million) – The Colorado-based company was flagged by Congressional Republicans after a poor Fitch rating, making the investment ill-advised. Weeks after approval, they laid off 180 of their 400 employees.
  • Chevy Volt (Heritage Action writes, “taxpayers basically own GM”) – brand new vehicles with over $7,000 in buyer rebates are sitting on the car lot. No one wants them.
  • Solar Trust of America (never actually got money because they were honest and told the government how they were going to spend it and were then denied.)
  • A123 Systems (received $279 million) – announced just weeks ago it may not be able to continue, due to not quite recovering from the disastrous problems with their lithium batteries in several electric car models – see Fisker Automotive above.
  • Willard & Kelsey Solar Group (received $6 million even though they posted only $500,000 in 2009 revenue – from a grant – with $4.2 million in debt. A balance sheet no private equity firm would have touched)
  • Johnson Controls (received $299 million) – recently fined for using too much lead. Building two factories of which only one will be located in America.
  • Schneider Electric (received $86 million) – not actually a green company, this loan was given on a promise it would reduce emissions at its Cedar Rapids, IA, plant. Now, they are laying off 20% of their work force (80 people) and moving some operations to a new plant in Mexico.

Money well-spent or just spent? You decide. The Gateway Pundit astutely notes solar energy is expensive too compared to coal, gas and oil. Compare 35 cents per killwatt for solar versus 5 cents for coal, gas and oil. That’s your money the government is spending.

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