Green Energy’s Bankruptcy Blackout
By Sterling Burnett, NCPA
The Obama administration green energy boosterism is no secret. With big names like Solyndra and Solar Trust of America making headlines every other day, it’s hard to get away from the administrations funding failures. What may come as a surprise is the overall amount of money being thrown away on these green companies that the administration has championed.
Here’s the breakdown of how well green energy is actually doing:
Bankrupt Green Energy Companies that received substantial federal and/or state subsidies:
- Beacon Power Corp: Received $43 million in federal loan guaranteed in 2009 and also received $29 million in PA grants – Bankrupt in October 2011
- Ener1 (parent company of EnerDel): Received $118.5 million in federal loan guarantees — Bankrupt in January 2012 – has since exited bankruptcy
- Evergreen Solar: Received $58 million in MA loan guarantees (an undisclosed portion sourced from federal ARRA block grant) — Bankrupt in August 2011 with $485.6 million in debt
- Solyndra: Received $535 million in federal loan guarantees in 2009 and $25.1 million in CA tax credit — Bankrupt in August 2011
- SpectraWatt: Received $500,000 in federal loan guarantees in 2009 — Bankrupt in August 2011
- Babcock and Brown: Received $178 million in federal grants in December 2009 (4 months after it went bust) – Bankrupt in early 2009
- Mountain Plaza Inc.: Received $424,000 in federal grants through TN Department of Transportation in 2009 — Bankrupt in 2003 and again in June 2010
- Solar Trust of America (parent company: Solar Millennium): Received $2.1 billion loan guarantee in April 2011 – Bankrupt in April 2012
Other Subsidized Green Energy Companies in decline:
- A123: Received $300 million in federal grants and $135 million in MI grants — Declining orders and have forced multiple layoffs
- Amonix, Inc.: Received $5.9 million in federal tax credits in 2009 through ARRA — Laid off 2/3 of work force
- First Solar: Received $3 billion in federal loan guarantees — Biggest S&P loser in 2011, CEO fired
- Fisker Automotive: $529 million in federal loan guarantees — Multiple 2012 sales prediction downgrades for first car release, delivery and cash flow troubles; Assembling cars in Finland
- Johnson Controls: Received $299 million in federal grants in 2009 — Low demand caused cancellation of a new factory, operating at half capacity
- Nevada Geothermal: Received $98.5 million in federal loan guarantees in 2009 — Defaulting on long-term debt obligations, 85% drop in stock value
- Sun Power: Received $1.2 billion in federal loan guarantees — Debt exceeds assets; French oil company took over last fall
- Abound Solar: Received $400 million in federal loans in 2012 — ½ work force laid off
- BrightSource Energy: $1.6 billion federal loan approved in April 2012 – loan obtained through political connections with the administration; absent the loan, Brightsource’s solar power purchase would have fallen through.
In the face of these multiple “successes,” the Obama administration wants to double down and throw more good money after bad. It’s never worked before but hey, there’s always a first time, Right?