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Green Corruption: Department of Energy “Junk Loans” and Cronyism, Part One

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While the media was “tripping out” over Energy Secretary Chu giving himself “an A grade on controlling the cost of gasoline at the pump” during his testimony before a House panel last month, they missed the real scandal!

As insulting as that seems (especially since gas prices have doubled under Chu’s watch), Gene Koprowski of The Daily Caller unleashed the most outrageous part of the House Oversight’s investigation –– “Obama energy officials funded solar firms despite ‘junk bond’ ratings from S&P and Fitch.” Koprowski detailed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) lack of caution in backing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans for “tainted solar power projects.” Also documented are “other dramatic abuses at the green energy firms,” the most egregious being those firms which, received DOE funding, went bankrupt, “but not before paying their executives bonuses.”

In fact, the report released last month by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (led by CA Representative, Darrell Issa) “painted a startling picture of mismanagement at the Department of Energy.” The most damaging is that of the 27 loan guarantees under the 1705 program, of which the DOE doled out in excess of $16 billion, “23 of the loans were rated “Junk grade” due to their poor credit quality, while the other four were rated BBB, which is at the lowest end of the ‘investment’ grade of categories.” According to Issa’s Team, the DOE’s 1705 loan portfolio overall average was BB-.” Now, I’m no financial guru, but I wouldn’t want that grade on my report card.

So why did the DOE back so many high-risk investments, particularly at a time when we are drowning in a tsunami of debt?

In a gripping line of questioning, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan confronted this issue head on during that same hearing where he pressed Secretary Chu on nine of the firms that received loans, revealing their political connections. Chu countered that the loans were based on merit. Yet Jordan was perplexed, “so if you weren’t helping your buddies, and you were basing your decisions on the merits of the loan, how do you explain the fact that 23 of 27 recipients of the loan guarantees were rated as junk status investments?” Jordan concluded, “If it wasn’t your political buddies, it had to be incompetence.”

Finally, the probe into the DOE and how they “pick winners and losers” for “green ventures” has gone in the right direction, however, Congressman Jordan overlooked the fact that it’s not just nine –– it’s the majority of the 27 projects recorded by Issa’s Team.

Political buddies indeed –– 21 energy firms are behind the 27 projects found in the House Oversight investigation, and 18 of them are politically connected to President Obama (15 alone) and the Democratic Party, that’s over 85%! 13 were bundlers, donors, and supporters for Obama’s 2008 campaign, and two are members of the president’s Job Council, while three are allied to Senator Harry Reid –– all with ample other Democrat links in the mix.

Nevertheless, before Congress caught on, Peter Schweizer’s New York Times bestseller, Throw Them All Out –– released last November and featured on 60 Minutes, exposing the “permanent political class” and the insidious practice of “Congressional insider trading” perpetrated from both sides of the political isle –– devotes an entire chapter to alternative-energy, “Spreading the Wealth… to Billionaires!” Whereas, others players in this clean-energy scheme are uncovered by Schweizer, this chapter digs into a few of the major DOE programs operating under the stimulus, including the tens of billions of dollars that was dished out through the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program.

That’s right –– millionaires and billionaires got their fare share of green funds! Interesting enough, Schweizer’s book divulged over half of the energy firms listed in the Houses Oversight’s investigation, and what’s astounding is that once again, the majority, 80% of the DOE loans, grants and special tax credits, reviewed by Schweizer, “went to companies with Obama-campaign connections or large donors to the Democratic Party,” and that was as of September 2011!

As the president doubles down on clean energy –– all the way from his 2012 State of the Union address, to his 2013 budget, and off to “algae pushing” –– many of the “green lottery winners” are bundling and campaigning for Obama again, including Secretary Chu, albeit with Hatch Act restrictions.  And you can bet your bottom dollar that these large donors are banking on President Obama’s 2012 reelection victory, counting on more government subsidies.

Within the pages of the House Oversight report, are disturbing charges –– backed up with corroboration –– that range from poor to disastrous management, to bias and favoritism, as well as wasteful spending, in some cases a series of DOE violations, and how the DOE touted “misleading job creation statistics.”

Even so, the DOE has come under fire by other federal watchdog agencies, especially since their loan programs have significantly expanded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was meant to stimulate the economy and create jobs. But now it has become clear that it’s stimulating the pockets and securing jobs for those that have significant ties to the Democratic Party and the White House –– “green cronies.”

Criticism ranges from Secretary Chu winning the 2011 Porker of the Year, awarded by Citizens Against Government Waste, to more serious indictments coming from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). While the GAO has addressed many areas of concern within the DOE (and their newfound clean-energy stimulus funds), in 2010, they declared, “[loan] applicants were treated inconsistently,” with favoritism at play. Meanwhile in March of 2011, the Department of Energy’s Inspector General, Gregory Friedman (not a political appointee) ­­rebuked the alternative energy loan and grant programs, even testifying about “investigative matters,” covering a disturbing feature –– contracts and grants were “directed to friends and family.” Just last month, the GAO slammed the DOE’s loan guarantee program and their inability to gather data “required to conduct timely oversight” as well as disapproval with the DOE’s loan applicant process, revealing that the DOE, in some cases, “omitted and or had poorly documented reviews.”

Additionally, under investigation by the Senate Budget Committee are seven solar companies –– severely scrutinized in this House Oversight inquiry –– that in March 2009 “received fast-tracked approval by the Department of Interior (DOI) to lease federal lands in a no-bid process,” a recent story tracked by The Washington Free Beacon. Ironically, these decisions were made with “little scrutiny over environmental damages,” and according to the Los Angeles Times, it has caused strife amongst environmentalists and some “eco-drama,” including news that “Gang Green,” the nation’s big environmental players, “were silent on the projects or actively lobbied for them.” This same “solar seven” also snagged billions of DOE funds under the 1705 loan program, as well as renewable energy grants from the Treasury Department.

Hmmm, favoritism, poor documentation, questionable transparency, special treatment, and so much more to ponder…still, we’ll move on and examine the energy department’s “junk loans” that were funded with tens of billions of taxpayer money.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Report, March 20, 2012
The DOE Portfolio of Loan Commitments –– Junk Bond Portfolio

President Obama and Other Democrat Connections:

1. General Electric with two projects:

  • 1366 Technologies Inc, Rating B by Fitch, Sept 2011 –– $150 million
  • Caithness Shepherds Flat, LLC –– Rating BBB- by Fitch; Oct 2010 for $1.04 billion (or $1.3 billion)

2. Abound Solar (financial issues) –– Rating B by Fitch; Dec 2010 for $400 million

3. Beacon Power Corporation (went bust) –– Rating CCC+ by S&P; Aug 2010 for $43 milllion

4. BrightSource Energy, Inc with three projects (environmental issues)

  • Ivanpah I and Ivanpah III  –– Rating BB+ by Fitch
  • Ivanpah II –– Rating BB by Fitch; Apr 2011, total $1.6 billion

5. Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC –– Rating B by Fitch; Sept 2011 for $90.6 million

6. Exelon (Antelope Valley Solar Ranch) –– Rating BBB- by Fitch; Sept 2011 for $646 million

7. Granite Reliable Power, LLC  –– Rating BB by Fitch; Sept 2011, over $135 million

8. Kahuku Wind Power LLC –– Rating BB+ by Fitch; July 2010 for $117 million

9. NRG with two projects

  • NRG Solar, LLC (Agua Caliente) –– Rating BB+ by Fitch; Aug 2011 for $967 million
  • NRG Energy (California Valley Solar Ranch) –– Rating BB+ by Fitch; Sept 2011 over $1.2 billion

10. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC with two projects

  • Genesis Solar (environmental issues) –– Rating BBB+ by S&P; Aug 2010 for $681.6 million (or $852 million)
  • Desert Sunlight –– Rating BBB- by Fitch; Sept 2011 for $1.2 billion (or $1.46 billion)

11. Record Hill Wind, LLC –– Rating BB+ by S&P; Aug 2011 for  $102 million

12. SolarReserve Inc, LLC (Crescent Dunes) –– Rating BB by Fitch; Sept 2011 for $737 milllion

13. SoloPower Inc. –– Rating CCC+ by S&P 7/11/2011; Aug 2011 for $197 million

14. Solyndra, Inc (went bust) –– Rating BB- by Fitch; Sept 2009 for $535 million

15. U.S. Geothermal, Inc (Malheur County, Oregon) –– Rating BB by S&P; Feb 2011 for $97 million

Senator Harry Reid and Other Democratic Connections:

16. Nevada Geothermal Power Company Inc (documented as a bailout) –– Rating BB+ by Fitch; Sept 2010 for $78.8 million

17. Ormat Nevada, Inc –– Rating BB by S&P; Sept 2011 for $280 million

Add SolarReserve Inc.

Democrat Only:

18. Abengoa with three projects:

  • Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas LLC –– Rating CCC by Fitch; Aug 2010 for $132.4 million
  • Abengoa Solar, Inc (Solana) –– Rating BB+ by Fitch; Dec 2010 for $1.45 billion 
  • Abengoa Solar, Inc (Mojave Solar) –– Rating BB by Fitch; Sept 2011 for $1.2 billion

Unknown Political Connections:

19. LS Power (Transmission Line project) –– Rating BB+ by Fitch; Feb 2011 for $343 million

20. Mesquite Solar I, LLC (Sempra Mesquite) –– Rating BB+ by Fitch; Sept 2011 for $337 milllion

21. Prologis (Project Amp) –– Rating BB by Fitch; Sept 2011, over $1.1 billion (or $1.4 billion)

 KEY POINTS

  • 23 of these loans were junk grade, while the other four –– GE’s Caithness, Exelon’s Solar Valley Ranch, and both of NextEra’s projects were considered at the lowest end of the investment grade categories.
  • The “Special Solar Seven” are Abengoa Solar, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, Ormat Nevada, SolarReserve, BrightSource Energy, and NextEra Energy Resources (Genesis Solar project). While the ladder two are having environmental issues –– killing turtles and foxes, all seven carry Obama and Democratic political ties, three alone to Senator Harry Reid. 
  • First Solar (another politically connected solar company) –– not directly in this junk bond inventory, but linked to three of the projects listed –– is under extreme heat in this report (“The First Solar Scheme”). Further, since the finalization of the three DOE loan guarantees at a price tag of over $3 billion, First Solar has “experienced serious financial problems,” fired their CEO, is suffering from declining stock value, and um as of late –– you guessed it, “is laying off 2,000 workers and closing factories.” 
  • Two of the DOE junk loans were considered bailouts, a clear violation of DOE contract regulations –– Nevada Geothermal, found in this House report, and BrightSource Energy, as expanded upon in Schweizer’s book.
  • There are three on this junk bond portfolio that are either having financial issues or have gone bankrupt. This is an ever-growing trend, of which I have tracked over 26 government-backed firms that can be placed in the “alternative-energy failure category.” Not to mention the $5 billion weatherization “waste, fraud and abuse,” the $500 million green jobs program boondoggle, millions in federal grants to train workers for green jobs that didn’t exist, and so on.
  • As stated, behind these 27 green projects are 21 energy companies, however, three are unknown to me (at least for now) –– LS Power, Mesquite Solar (Sempra Energy), and Prologis, yet the ladder two have other interesting political connections, and Prologis is highly criticized in this House report. But I can confirm that 18 of them (over 85%) are politically connected to President Obama and the Democrat Party –– in the realm of campaign donations, support and more.

Above is the list, but as we move forward, I will continue to probe and reveal this tangled and damaging web of DOE crony capitalism, starting with Secretary Chu’s $16 billion junk bond portfolio –– each has its own story.

After spending weeks analyzing Issa’s DOE report, cross-referencing it with research that I have gathered since 2009 as well as Schweizer’s findings (plus recent collaboration efforts with Schweizer himself!), it gives credence to Issa’s initial assertion that the $825 billion stimulus package was “walking around money.” More so, it confirms a disturbing theory that I had presented in 2010 –– Obama’s Political Payback: Green Corruption, calling for a special prosecutor  –– Part One, Part Two, and The Plot Thickens.

Still, as I stressed to TheDC –– and anyone else that would listen, “Issa has one-third of the story” (on the record anyway), and it has become extremely clear to me that this scandal is much deeper and more explosive than I had anticipated.

Later we’ll go back to the Department of Energy, exposing more “clean-energy dirt.” Although in 2010, I was one of a few ringing the “conflict of interest flag” surrounding Obama’s Green Team –– left-wing radical czars included. Even as it remains to be seen Secretary Chu’s actual participation in this green-energy scheme, it’s apparent that Chu is cut from the same “left-wing cloth” as the rest of the energy and environmental leaders the president chose back in 2009. Radicals aside, the red flag was waved in reference to the DOE staff and the venture capitalists that had joined the DOE early in the Obama administration. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that those who occupy, in many cases occupied, key DOE positions were capable (and willing) of exerting influence as to where the green-government subsidies would be funneled.

In the case of the $525 million Solyndra federal loan –– labeled as a junk investment that went bust –– we have the proof. Equally, there are “chains of influence” that have the power to push a deal through. Apparently this may have occurred with the $529 million Fisker Automotive loan (via the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program –– ATVM) that somewhat incriminates both Secretary Chu and Vice-President Joe Biden, as hinted in 2009 by The Wall Street Journal. And it doesn’t hurt to have the former Vice President Al Gore and his billion-dollar buddy, John Doerr –– both major 2008 Obama supporters –– in the forefront.

It’s no wonder that the White House stalled in turning over internal emails to the House Oversight Committee in regards to Solyndra, and refused to release details on the Fisker Auto bailout to Judicial Watch –– so much for transparency, a platform candidate Obama ran on! 

These are just two examples, plus additional cases can be found in the House Oversight report. Yet, we’re in the dark as to the probable backroom deals that were cut in hidden emails, at White House visits and “coffee shop meetings” –– or if perhaps, early on, this “energy agenda” was set up as a “pay to play” scam –– albeit under the guise of “saving the planet.”

We’ll eventually steer back the ATVM loans, another DOE program where cronyism reigned. Yes, Gore and Doerr too. Both partners in the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers that were a main focus of my 2010 research –– with snippets of Goldman Sachs and their deep ties to the Democratic Party, plus a few early renewable energy investments that snagged DOE funds. Back then, I calculated that over fifty percent of Kleiner Perkins’ green investments were winners of green government subsidies –– yet they have since tripled their cleantech portfolio, thus more taxpayer cash. We’ll also return to Goldman Sachs, who tapped the number two spot on Obama’s 2008 top contributors list, disclosing more large 2008 “Obama financiers” and discovering Goldman Sachs’ DNA all over “green.”

Even more corrupt is that DOE officials and so-called advisors (along with friends, family, and cohorts) have received sizable shares of green funds, or are associated to companies that soared as a result of the stimulus –– at least ten confirmed thus far, with others on my radar. 

Business as usual? Perhaps. But when you connect the “green dots,” eventually a picture emerges. Throw Them All Out exposes “at least ten members of Obama’s 2008 finance committee and more than a dozen Obama bundlers.” With the DOE in mind, let’s throw in those individuals and groups that helped craft the stimulus package, more specifically the clean-energy section and its over $80 billion earmark, then add in at least five members of the president’s Jobs Council (a panel stacked with Democratic donors) ––  all making bank off of taxpayer money, and you’ve got yourself a “racket.”

Moreover, it is one thing when just a handful of green firms enter the “favored category,” but percentages present a much dire picture, as presented in Schweizer’s book and now Issa’s investigation. Worse, is when well-connected investors –– 2008 Obama bundlers, large donors and supporters –– secure government loans, grants and special tax breaks for sizeable portions of their entire alternative-energy portfolios. Those companies that receive multiple green government subsidies are suspect as well. So eventually, we’ll venture off to visit Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Big Energy, Big Oil, and others –– giving homage to our BIG winners in this taxpayer-funded “rigged green” lottery!

On the other hand, I have to chuckle at Schweizer’s statement, “it would take an entire book [and a team of investigators] to analyze every single grant and government-backed loan doled out since Barack Obama became president.”  Most likely an encyclopedia, nevertheless, I will attempt to unravel this massive scandal in an on-going Green Corruption series.

However, the fact alone that the DOE spent in excess of $16 billion of taxpayer money on a clean-energy portfolio where the vast majority were junk grade investments with over 85% carrying meaningful political connections, is more evidence that cronyism is the driving force behind the DOE as well as other government agencies that are dishing out alternative-energy contracts. While I am perfectly aware that “political paybacks,” infiltrated our government long ago, and that cronyism and corruption runs deep in both political parties, I believe that there is something more sinister happening on the “green-energy front” –– this time it’s linked to the left and their political buddies, chiefly to President Obama.

Following the “green money” and tracking the energy polices coming down the radical pipeline –– under the Obama administration –– will at least expose that we are witnessing the largest, most expensive and deceptive case of crony capitalism in American history.

Our first look into the 21 firms listed from the DOE’s junk loan portfolio will be General Electric (GE) –– another generous Obama donor, giving his 2008 campaign $529,855 –– whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt, sits as Chair of President Obama’s Job Council. GE is major player on the clean-energy scene as well as in this green-energy scheme. Other than the two projects documented in the  House Oversight investigation, GE was the recipient of government subsidies for a multitude of green projects, programs, and through some of their “green alliances.” From what I have gathered thus far, GE’s “green tab” is over 1.5 billion in taxpayer cash, and counting. In the meantime, I will leave you will this “not-so shovel ready” commercial break.

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About Christine Lakatos

  • http://frivolousdisorder.com/ Frivolous D

    Christine, It’s is a shame that you undermined such a thoughtful and well researched article with an impassioned and bias conclusion. Three green dots don’t make a triangle until you decide to draw the lines. To wit:

    General Electric is the best example of how to create an impression of cronyism where none exists. Political donations by cycle:

    2004: D=901,790, R=$1,022,714
    2006: D=$711,730, R=$951,086
    2008: D=$1,815,081, R=$999,184
    2010: D=$1,385,760, R=903,210

    GE could give a rats-ass who’s in office, they just want access. It is true that Obama received 5 times as much as McCain. ($530,155 v $102,073) Given GE’s historical pattern of donations, the only thing that can be inferred is that they saw McCain as a bad investment. This donation pattern was echoed in many corporations across all industries.

    Now put yourself in the board-room of an alternative energy start-up. Are you going to put your money on McCain, and his chanting throngs of “Drill, baby drill?” That would make zero business sense.

    Further, it makes all the sense in the world to be putting our government dollars into risky energy companies. First, energy independence is a national security issue and it is just plain stupid to ignore alternative energy options. Secondly, of course these companies are going to be a higher risk. Duh! You don’t give penicillin to a healthy patient (unless you are an oil company, of course).

    You should have stopped at “Perhaps, it is just business as usual.”

  • http://concernedcitizen09.blogspot.com/ christine

    Hey Friv D: Nice to see that someone here at BC read the entire piece prior to the criticism. Good point, and in full disclosure, SoloPower (in this investigation) and John Doerr, with a few others, have ties to the GOP. In fact, Doerr wrote the “Energy Independence” part of Bush’s state of the of the Union (just can’t remember date). But the majority are to the left. Yet, all will come out in due time, when I reveal each energy company listed here. So much to cover in a blog!

  • http://concernedcitizen09.blogspot.com/ christine

    Clarification: good point on GE!

  • http://frivolousdisorder.com/ Frivolous D

    “Clarification: good point on GE!”

    In politics, an inch can feel like a mile. I’ll take it. Thanks.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    While partisan, this is an infinitely better treatment of the topic than that offered to us by a certain other BC Politics contributor.

    Couple of quick points: Christine, you remark that Issa only has one-third of the story. Given that he and the rest of his committee are all politicians, could there be some cherry-picking going on here?

    Secondly, am I the only one who finds it ironic that, despite all those folks buying Throw Them All Out and making it a bestseller, the vast majority of Congress will not get thrown out in November by that very same public?

  • Igor

    I didn’t read the entire article (yet) because I pulled up after the second sentence, which is inaccurate and biased: ” …gas prices have doubled under Chu’s watch…”, and then cites a rightist blog that cites another rightist blog that cites another rightist blog…ad infinitum, without a citation to seminal data.

    Maybe, after a lot of searching, a person could find some facts, real facts. But I went directly to the source of data at the Energy Information Administration page for gas price history gas price history and thence to the 1993-2012 graph: EIA graph.

    That’s a nice graph because you can move the cursor over a data point and read out the detail data. Thus, one finds that on 7/1/2008 gas was $4.10, 1/5/2012 $1.70 and… on and on and on. YOU see if you can make sense of it with regard to president. It doesn’t relate! Gas price is independent of who’s president, which is what the experts said all along. Go ahead, try to figure out a rationale for blaming either Bush or Obama for gas prices.

    What REALLY caused the big drop in price was the dreadful 2008 world recession.

    Oil prices are world prices. They are set in world markets. There is almost nothing the USA or it’s president can do to affect prices. Not George Bush, Not Barack Obama. Nor would phanthom president Newt Gingrich. Prices have a longterm secular upward trend because India and China have rapidly expanding driver numbers. After the Big 2008 recession Hit prices resumed the rate of increase under Bush.

    Maybe I’ll get back to this article later, but my first impression is that it is a lazy and superficial repetition of propaganda.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    welcome back, Christine. But I have to agree with Igor because I was not paying $2 for gas the day before Obama got sworn in.

  • Igor

    That’s right, EB. In fact, the EIA graph shows that the high price paid during Bush was $4.1 on 7/1/2008 and that it plummeted precipitously until 12/22/2008 when it resumed it’s longterm secular increase before Obama took office.

    As I stated (confirming what every real oil expert has said) gas prices are independent of presidential politics. Oil and gas prices are out of our hands, they are decided by large universal international markets that, these days, are dominated by China and India and the USA only consumes 20% of all oil, thus has weak influence over price.

  • Larry Stewart

    Jim Jordan is a bird brain

  • Larry Stewart

    I would tend to label myself as a conservative to moderate politically and I am a resident of Ohio but I am not super impressed by the opinions of Rep Jim Jordan. I don’t agree with a lot of Obama’s politics but I do like the fact that we are providing support for energy R&D etc.
    If I have to choose between Jim Jordan and Obahma, my choice would be none of the above.

  • Igor

    I finally read this article through and it’s a mess. It sprawls all over hurling out copious accusations but not bothering to establish a single case. It’s just more of the same superficiality that Christine exhibited in Earlier article.

    It’s just impossible to read.

  • http://concernedcitizen09.blogspot.com/ christine

    Thanks Igor!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hm…let me see – the conservatives oppose hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent for alternative energy, while liberals oppose several BILLION in taxpayer dollars in subsidies for (or in taxes not being collected from) Big Oil. Which one makes more sense?

  • Cannonshop

    #13 “Neither” is not an option in your world, Glenn, so it’s just pick six of one, or half dozen of the other, or some mixture of both.

    given that “Neither” is not an option, then, the question devolves to which one produces more taxpayers as opposed to dole collectors, in more states. In which case, it ends up being Oil that produces more jobs, hence more income tax collected, hence less of an impact when scaling is taken into account. For all the talk about ‘green jobs’ there sure aren’t a hell of a lot of them actually turning up relative to the money spent. I’d suggest that for every Solyndra that tried to actually MAKE something, there were ten outfits who only generated papers and promises and bills unpaid. Kind of like the RTA in Washington State, which ran through ten years’ funding in one with repeated ‘studies’ and not a foot of rail laid until half a decade AFTER going past deadline.

    Some of it is, as Christine and Warren suggest, corruption-and let’s be honest here, that corruption’s on both sides of the aisle, but a lot of it is also in-built barriers to actually producing anything beyond promises and vaporware, and a lot of THAT ends up coming from Your government and mine, and has since the late seventies when a lot of promising projects were killed by regulatory requirements that the developers just didn’t have the money to meet, time to meet, or allies in government to meet.

  • Igor

    14-Cannon: Oil only employs about 310,000 in the USA while alternate energy already employs about 2.5 million. So this statement is wrong:

    “…it ends up being Oil that produces more jobs, hence more income tax collected,”

    And the projected employment figures for XL are just fantasies. Even the for-hire consultant only projects 18,000 jobs (according to their secret formula), while the public report from Cornell says a few hundred to 4,000 at most.

    Big Oil is a capital-intensive business, as befits a sunset industry that throughout it’s history has assiduously pursued policies that replaced men with machines. It’s the glory of capitalism, after all, to replace men with machines. Unfortunately, Capitalism dictates that the money benefits of mechanisation be kept by the capitalists.

  • http://brokebackmountaintribute.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    I could swear that someone somewhere had already covered the FACTS concering the XL pipeline… oh wait, it was!

  • http://brokebackmountaintribute.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    Of course now that was just the facts covered in the mere comments section, now if you wanted to read the article, you’d have to click here.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/scott-deitche Scott Deitche

    As someone who works in (though not at all in cleantech) and covers the “green” jobs sector, which BTW is wayyy more diverse and robust that just solar, this article is both a blessing and a curse.

    It’s a blessing in the sense that the type of cronysim that existed in this program should definitely be exposed for the reasons cited in the article, and the blowback that it causes.

    The curse is found in the article, where “scheme” is used to describe clean energy. I’m assuming it was meant in the capacity of the loan program and not all clean energy sectors, but as per usual, there are those that take this as a condemnation of all technological progress when it comes to anything vaguely green. For example, the ludicrous anti-sustainability bill in Arizona.

    Rest assured, that despite the best efforts of crooked politicians and anti-science fringe dwellers, cleantech will continue to move forward. The best illustration is the surge in private investment in cleantech R&D and companies from geothermal to wind.

    As for solar, the market is undergoing a major correction, based a lot on the entrance of China into the market which has resulted in significant downward pressure on prices. But also showing a maturing market where there is not a need for thousands of upstart solar companies.

    I recommend cleantechblog.com and The Green Skeptic, two great sources for up-to-date news and insight into cleantech and investments.

  • Igor

    Upon reading the article it seems to me that there is the possibilty of a very good article if the author concentrated on just a few of the ideas at the very beginning and expanded on them instead than sprawling across the whole spectrum. It comes out looking like a clumsy broadside against Obama personally rather than an expose of poor practices by the administration.