Thursday, September 8, 2011

Time For Golf -- FBI Raids Solar Company -- Solyndra -- Obama's Pet Project -- Not a Bakken Story -- Money Laundering


November 10, 2018: I don't know the date of this cartoon. A reader sent it to me:

April 30, 2013: another company that received DOE-stimulus money goes bankrupt; under investigation; Feds hold records; fraud:
The U.S. Department of Energy is withholding records involving a Wyoming carbon-capture project on the grounds that a legal investigation is under way and that releasing documents could compromise the probe.
The carbon-capture study at the site of the Two Elk Energy Park site about 15 miles east of Wright in the Powder River Basin got almost $10 million in economic stimulus grants from the Energy Department.
Two Elk developer North American Power Group, based in Greenwood Village, Colo., halted the carbon-capture study over a year ago. Scientists involved in the research say they expected a well to be drilled so they could field-test data they'd gathered. The study never progressed to that phase.
The Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents that might show what happened with the carbon-capture project. The Energy Department has denied the request in its entirety, citing a FOIA exemption for records involving matters under investigation, according to a letter to AP from the chief counsel for the department's National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh, Pa.
October 11, 2012: billboards don't lie.  (At the link, click on the photo to enlarge it.)

March 21, 2012: the buck does not stop in the Oval Office. It stops in China, in Congress, everywhere buy in the Oval Office. The president says Solyndra's failure was bipartian, not his fault alone. Likewise, he didn't kill the Keystone; that was the fault of Congress. End game. Check. And checkmate.

November 22, 2011: 4Q11 shipments of solar from China to decline;companies are writing off inventory; "liquidation is leading to suicidal pricing."

November 17, 2011:  It was my fault, but I had the taxpayers' best interests at heart. -- Chu
Congressman: how much will the taxpayer recoup?
Steven Chu: “I’m anticipating not very much.”
NY Times: solar subsidies --  $554,217/job --
Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on a former cattle ranch and gypsum mine, NRG Energy is building an engineering marvel: a compound of nearly a million solar panels that will produce enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes.

The project is also a marvel in another, less obvious way: Taxpayers and ratepayers are providing subsidies worth almost as much as the entire $1.6 billion cost of the project. Similar subsidy packages have been given to 15 other solar- and wind-power electric plants since 2009.
These projects are a way of moving money from the taxpayer to the project to the politician. There is a fancy name for doing that and it has to do with washing clothes. -- November 12, 2011.

Isn't this ironic? The fallout from the Solyndra case will be more expensive solar energy. November 10, 2011. It the argument of the administration that their pet project -- all $500 billion worth -- went bankrupt because the Chinese undercut the price of solar panels made in the US. The administration's answer: slap tariffs on Chinese solar panels. The result: the price of solar energy gets more expensive. I can't make this stuff up. One of the president's legacies: driving up the cost of solar energy; killing the industry in the US. Even so, it looks like a shake-out in the US solar industry with prices plummeting for panels.

Another government-backed energy company files for bankruptcy: Beacon Power in Massachusetts; got about the same amount of money as Solyndra. Filed for bankruptcy two days after government decided to review all energy department loans. The energy department is the same department that .... oh, I'm just preaching to the choir.

Truly incredible: it turns out Obama administration was considering a second half billion-dollar loan for Solyndra when it was obvious it was already failing. One wonders exactly for whom the president was working. Or who at Solyndra was working for the president?

Those 1,100 folks holding fake jobs at Solyndra now eligible for government aid for retraining. I cannot make this stuff up. And then folks wonder why the US economy is in debt.

Chicago Tribune: Reeks of the "Chicago Way"

Incredible: White House re-writes contract to favor Solyndra donor

It looks like the mainstream media has found its cause celebre. The following were all linked September 16, 2011:
Obama administration ignored signs at Solyndra -- that's exactly what gets ideologues in trouble.

Bush administration voted against the loan: of course -- the numbers don't work out. This is not rocket science. It's solar snake oil.

Bloomberg: Solyndra debacle may blunt Obama's drive for clean energy. Well, duh.
ABC News: White House monitored loan to Solyndra. Great example of choosing winners and losers. But even with this huge gimme, the solar folks couldn't survive.

Solyndra story could bring White House down.  If only.

Drudge Report, via ABC: Obama sat in on Solyndra meetings
In 2009, the Energy Department put Solyndra's application on a fast-track for approval, and announced the award with great fanfare. The generous terms of the government loan included the lowest interest of all the green projects benefitting from Energy Department help, iWatch News and ABC News found.

And as part of the deal, the Energy Department agreed that if the company went bust, private investors could recoup their losses before the government. Republicans in Congress called the investment "a bad bet" and said it "put taxpayers at unnecessary risk."
iWatch News: FBI expands search
Cramer: Obama Silent on Solyndra
Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Update of Bankruptcies
Wall Street Journal: The Story

This all happened yesterday, the story broke yesterday. The big story of the day: the mainstream media avoided this story and focused on a) the president's speech of the century; and, b) the opening NFL football game between two recent national champs.

Original Post
Link here (linked again, below). This is why I love to blog.

A month ago I had not heard of Solyndra but when it declared bankruptcy, taking one-half billion of tax payer dollars with it, it was a huge story on my blog.

I guess the FBI thought it a big story, too. It's being reported that the FBI has raided Solyndra's headquarters. I guess to some folks a half-billion dollars is still a lot of money, even if not a lot of money in Washington, DC.
FBI agents served search warrants this morning at Solyndra, the Fremont solar company that abruptly closed last week, two years after receiving more than $500 million in federal stimulus money, an agency official said.

Solyndra was the first company to receive a multi-million-dollar loan guarantee from the federal government as part of the Obama administration's effort to create green jobs. The company, founded in 2005, received $528 million in federal loans to help build a factory in Fremont for making tube-shaped solar modules. The company also raised more than $1 billion in private investments. [Can you spell Madoff?]
But Solyndra closed its doors on Aug. 31, saying it couldn't compete against cheap solar cells flooding into the market from new, heavily subsidized factories in China. The company filed bankruptcy papers earlier this week, listing $784 million in secured loans, including the government's money. [At least it's not a $billion: even the New York Times would be unable to avoid that story!]

Solyndra's abrupt collapse has turned into a political embarrassment for the Obama administration. Last year, Obama toured the company's new plant and said that "The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra."
Actually, President Obama was not far off in his hyperbole. He could have said: "The true economic growth of the US will be a lot like Solyndra going forward."


  1. Bruce,
    I always enjoy reading your posts but this one really struck a chord...especially today as President Obama announces his "PASS THE BILL" non-job creating aka "Stimulus Plan". You couldn't be more correct!! Yes, I can spell Madoff. I'll bet the President can as well. Maybe, he should share a cell???
    This is the epitome of what is wrong with government in our businesses.
    You daily insight is much appreciated!!

  2. Thank you for taking time to comment. Throwing money just to throw money and hoping something works is not the way to run a country.

    I have nothing against solar energy per se, but the numbers simply don't add up. (There's simply not enough square footage available for all the solar panels that would be needed to make any significant difference on a national scale.)