Friday, March 9, 2012

The Obama Administration And "Green Investment"; A Track Record Of Ineptitude

I’m not one given to ad hominem attack. In my opinion, all that matters are the facts. If a person cannot argue based on facts and resorts to getting personal or going after the credibility of the source it’s likely because they’ve run out of intelligent things to say.

In that vein, I think it’s important, as we approach a Presidential election to focus squarely on facts. To make the argument for or against candidate “X” or “Y” solely based on performance and policy. One of the issues that I care about most is the historically irresponsible spending that has taken place since our current President took office specifically where “green energy” spending is concerned. I’ve written about the topic in the past with respect to Solyndra here:  The Folly of "Green Jobs" Spending

According to, since the President took office we have “invested” in excess of $94,500,000,000 (that’s 94 BILLION)  in “green energy” and the President’s FY’12 Budget promises to more than double our “investment” in energy efficiency technology and increase “investment” in renewable technology by over 70%.

So how’s this all working out?

A February article in Investors Business Daily cites one small piece of the pie. A $500M “green jobs” training program that since it’s inception (17mos ago) has placed a mere 8,000 people at a cost of over $62,000 each. Given that the National average college tuition is just a bit over $8,000 per year for public and $28,000 for private schools it certainly seems that these “green jobs” certificate programs have not been a sound investment.  

Beyond that we have the matter of federal grants and loan guaranties to “green energy” companies. There is an ever-growing list of these recipients of governmental largess who have failed or are currently in bankruptcy:

SpectraWatt (received $500k federal grant)
Solyndra (received $535 million)
Beacon Power (received $43 million)
AES’ subsidiary Eastern Energy (received $17.5 million)
Nevada Geothermal (received $98.5 million)
SunPower (received $1.5 billion)
First Solar (received $3 billion)
Babcock & Brown (an Australian company which received $178 million)
Ener1 (subsidiary EnerDel received $118.5 million)
Amonix (received 5.9 million)
Fisker Automotive (received $650 million)
Abound Solar (received $400 million)

That list is the result of less than 30min of searching and amounts to around $6.5B flushed down the toilet on companies that are either completely dead or gasping for air. A number of these companies are under investigation by the Federal Office of Management and the Office of the Budget Director for shall we say…”irregularities” in how they became recipients of said funding.

Additionally, Fisker Automotive recently laid off a number of workers in an effort to qualify for more funding assistance and recently made the news when one of their cars ceased to function during a Consumer Reports evaluation FISKER FAIL ….fantastic.

The first takeaway from this is that if you are working for a company that has been the recipient of these “green energy” stimulus funding projects or has been promoted by the President or Vice-President you ought to get your resume in order. The trend indicates that it’s the kiss of death.

In all seriousness though, the real point is that the federal government is a monumentally lousy venture capitalist. These were companies that for the most part couldn’t find private investment. One has to wonder why? In many cases it’s because the business plans weren’t sound or the technology was uncompetitive. Regardless, the “smart” money wasn’t being bet on these companies so they went in search of the dumb money...or in this case, the dumb investor. The sad part is that it’s OUR money that has been wasted by this administration.  

1 comment:

  1. "One of the issues that I care about most is the historically irresponsible spending that has taken place since our current President took office" -This is where I stopped reading