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BrightSource, Another DOE Scam

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BrightSource got a $1.4 billion bailout from the Department of Energy (DOE). So what, you say. That’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedure for you non-military types) for the DOE. What is of interest here is the owner of the company receiving the bailout, and how it was received. Robert Kennedy, Jr., nephew of President John F. Kennedy, got a $1.4 billion bailout for his company, BrightSource, via a loan guarantee from the DOE. Further, the loan guarantee was issued by Sanjay Wagle, a former Kennedy employee at BrightSource. Sanjay Wagle was one of the main BrightSource employees who raised money for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. He is now a DOE official advising energy company grants. Coincidence?

The first question is, why does a Kennedy (any Kennedy) need a bailout loan? The second question is, if alternative energy source technology is so great, why does BrightSource need a bailout?  But I get off the subject.

BrightSource says that its Ivanpah project is a green jobs creator. Yet as its own website reveals, the thermal solar plant will only create 1,400 construction jobs and 86 permanent jobs. Even using the construction jobs figure of 1,400, that is a cost to taxpayers of $1 million per job created. (Go to the Ivanpah website, hover over the number 1,400 in the center of the page to get employment figures.)

“Investing” taxpayer money in BrightSource is risky. In 2010, BrightSource, whose largest shareholder is Kennedy’s VantagePoint Partners, had debt obligations of $1.8 billion. BrightSource lost $71.6 million in 2010 on $13.5 million of revenue. My research has not uncovered any evidence that BrightSource is doing any better in 2011.

BrightSource advertises the Coalinga project, which it calls a demonstration facility, on its website.  BrightSource says Coalinga was intended to be a proving ground, and it had estimated losses of $10.5 million at that time. But, as of June 30, 2011, BrightSource says its loss has been $58.6 million, “or $48.1 million greater than the initial loss estimate as recognized in December 2008.” These cost overruns are causing worry because BrightSource is currently building a much larger 392 MW farm, the Ivanpah project. Are we beginning to connect the dots here?  This information was not featured, or even mentioned, on 60 Minutes. This revelation is by investigative journalist and Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer in his new book, Throw Them All Out. And, as Ronald Reagan said, “Facts are stubborn things.”

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  • Glenn Contrarian

    Thank you, Doc, for putting it in a more understandable way.

    And like you, my wife’s wishes are the first and foremost reason I won’t use my real name online – we don’t even use our real names on Facebook.

  • REMF(MCH)

    @ costello;
    Oh, yeah, I notified the site’s editors and the cops know what he did. And this is an individual that espouses “family values.”

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I’ve no idea why the wives of Doc D or Glenn C don’t want them to use their real names online but doubt it is anything other than mistrust or even paranoia.

    The employment angle is something of more substantive potential concern of course.

    There are many crazy employers (or clients as we freelancers get to refer to them) out there, particularly in the USA which is peculiarly prone to excessive political correctness, and I’ve had more than my fair share of them.

    Fortunately there are also loads of really sane and professional people out there too.

    Just as an employer wouldn’t want to hire a psychopath, an employee possibly doesn’t want to be employed by a company where those in power consider one’s entirely reasonable dislike of the cheesefest that is Glee a reason not for hiring you.

    In the Doc’s case, I would have thought that anyone reading the almost always excellent comments he makes, combined with his obvious good judgement in how he carries out his role here, would consider that as making him more employable than his achievements as a runner.

    As to starting one’s own business or becoming self-employed, that really is something that literally anybody except the most simple minded of people can do.

    I’ve been in that happy if occasionally precarious position for many years and my wife joined me in that lifestyle choice over ten years ago.

    After knowing nothing but having jobs before, she was a little scared about the seeming uncertainty of the independent lifestyle but now would not go back into employment for anything but in the most desperate of situations.

    As to not using one’s real names on Facebook, that is surely just daft. The only people that don’t do that are the criminal and the paranoid!

  • troll

    …you think you’ve got problems Dreadful?

    I’m self-employed and when I discovered that I was posting comments as ‘troll’ I had to fire myself

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Suing yourself for wrongful dismissal must have been interesting.

  • REMF(MCH)

    “If I could I’d divorce myself! And I’d take me for everything I could get!!”
    - the late Freddie Prinze

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    It looks like Bobby Kennedy Jr got bailed out by the DOE and Warren got bailed out of his argument by our lengthy sidetracking into the question of online identities.

  • barry

    just kill these bastards. every single damn one of them. they’re nothing but worthless parasites living without accountability off the rest of us.

    Just kill every single one of them.

  • Tom Roe

    How does the meaty story about Bobby, Wagel, and a billion well-timed dollars churn into this drivel. Lets not lose sight of the scam taking place here. We want emails and a full Congressional investigation into these “Chicago values” deals. Lets do some good.