published Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Solyndra not only 'green energy' firm to cost U.S. plenty

It was infuriating to learn that the federal government had heavily subsidized a California solar panel maker, Solyndra, despite warnings that the company was in deep financial trouble. Ultimately, Solyndra went bankrupt, costing U.S. taxpayers half a billion dollars.

But disgustingly, that is far from the only case of Washington subsidizing "green energy" companies that eventually go belly-up.

CBS News reviewed government loan guarantees and related funding that were given to a number of green energy companies.

Its findings?

"We identified 11 green energy companies beside Solyndra that, together, got billions of tax dollars then declared bankruptcy or are suffering other serious financial issues," CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson noted.

She pointed out the example of Beacon Power, a green energy storage company. Even before Beacon got tens of millions of tax dollars, the federal government knew that it had only a CCC-plus bond rating from Standard & Poor's. That rating means the company had about a 70 percent chance of failing. That's considered a "junk bond" -- and "It's well below investment grade," an economist told the network.

Sure enough, Beacon Power did go under.

And, CBS reported, "the feds made other loans when public documents indicate they should have known they could be throwing good money after bad."

One company, Nevada Geo-Thermal, got almost $99 million worth of Energy Department loan guarantees even though it was already struggling financially. That project had been personally endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

"We counted 12 clean energy companies that are having trouble after collectively being approved for $6.5 billion in federal assistance," CBS reported. "Five have filed for bankruptcy."

Such losses to the taxpayers could be avoided if Washington would get out of the unconstitutional business of propping up various alternative energy schemes with subsidies.

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conservative said...

I applaud the writer for citing the very Lieberal CBS news recounting the failures and waste of taxpayer dollars on green energy. Maybe that's why it's called "green" energy. Anyway, citing a Lieberal source is always a nice poke in the eye to Lieberals who dismiss the truth when it comes from what they deem a conservative source.

January 18, 2012 at 10:06 a.m.

I'm noting one significant detail missing. Why is it Conservatives think they can tell only part of a story and not be called out on it?

Actually, there's more missing than that, but just the skewed representations here are enough for me tp suspect you are lying through a decptive recounting. Try telling the whole truth. I dare you.

January 18, 2012 at 3:16 p.m.
conservative said...

The left, especially Harry Reid mentioned above, have railed against subsidies for business which he and other Lieberals call "corporate welfare." We do give oil companies subsidies for research but they do make a profit unlike green boondoggels Soylndra and and the $99 million Nevada Geo-Thermal "corporate welfare" loan guarantee pushed by "corporate welfare" king Harry Reid.

January 18, 2012 at 6:01 p.m.

Except when they fail. Which they do. And then they ask for a bailout, or a cleanup. Not to mention the costs of fossil fuels you don't directly notice, but are there nonetheless. Like the military presence in the Mid-East, the lung cancer, and the other bits of environmental damage.

You're pretty good at keeping those off the books, but people who read the balance sheets notice it.

We're also noticing how much money they're pulling in, while complaining about being oppressed.

But what you haven't noticed, is the price of solar has dropped. And that's even without the massive Chinese subsidies of their own industries. You go ahead, keep freaking out over minor bumps in the road, THEY are going to proceed with the business.

And you can bet that they'll be quite glad to hold us over the barrel if short-sighted naysayers like you get your way.

I hope you don't though, that'd be like Pete Rose betting against the Reds.

January 18, 2012 at 8:45 p.m.
joneses said...

happywithnothing,

Here is the truth. Obama gave people at solyndra 500 million dollars. Solyndra went bankrupt. 500 million dollars wasted by Obama and added to the 6 trillion dollars he has spent in 3 years. Tell me. What is good about this? Nothing!

January 18, 2012 at 8:59 p.m.

Gave? You got it wrong just in that statement. It was a loan guarantee, and for what? CONSTRUCTING A FACTORY.

What did they do? BUILT THE FACTORY.

Why did they decide to go bankrupt? The price of solar panels dropped. Their business model could not sustain itself at that price level.

Why did it drop so precipitously? Lots of factors, but the biggest would be Chinese subsidies of their own solar panel industries.

Thanks for not getting it right in that first sentence though, it shows your view of the truth is not complete. Please do check out more facts, or at least go check out the factory.

See if they built it. See if they did what they were supposed to do with that money.

Or you know, get your numbers right on the government spending. Obama doesn't have unilateral authority over the budget, Congress passed it. Really need to place the responsibility all around, as appropriate. And what would you have had the president spend instead? The US federal budget for 2008 was 2.9 trillion. 6 trillion in 2-3 years is...roughly the same, isn't it? And some of 2009 was Bush's responsibility too, so, even with your number, it doesn't add up to the indictment you try to make it.

You may want to work on the crimes you ascribe to the President, but just that you're trying is a good reason to not believe you.

January 18, 2012 at 9:55 p.m.
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