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Ripping the lid off of Colorado’s Solyndra

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State-level conservative blogs and think tanks are doing the work the rest of the “mainstream media” won’t do on government big green boondoggles.

Last week, Doug mentioned the Abound Solar debacle here in my home state of Colorado.

It’s thanks to the intrepid investigative work of Colorado’s Todd Shepherd and Amy Oliver at Complete Colorado and the Independence Institute and Michael Sandoval at People’s Press Collective that this latest Department of Energy loan scandal has been exposed. Paul Chesser at the NLPC summarized:

Yet another solar company that received loan guarantees from the Department of Energy has dismissed factory workers, lopping off 70 percent of its U.S. employees. Loveland, Colo.-based Abound Solar announced Tuesday it would lay off 280 workers at its production plant near Longmont, leaving 120 still employed. The start-up (2009) company attributed the cutbacks to the need for upgrades at the plant to manufacture more efficient solar panels, with plans to restore production levels and rehire most employees within six to nine months.

“Hopefully at the end of that time period we will bring people back,” said Steve Abely, Abound’s Chief Financial Officer, to the Boulder Daily Camera.

DOE’s $400-million loan guarantee to Abound closed in December 2010, after President Obama delivered a weekly message a few months earlier hyping his jobs plan in a “clean energy economy,” in which he cited his plans for Abound[.]

Energy Secretary Steven Chu was equally boastful about the Abound loan.

“Pioneering projects like this are what will help the U.S. recapture the lead when it comes to supporting innovation in the global clean energy economy,” he said. “Not only is this investment creating thousands of jobs, but it is also increasing our renewable energy manufacturing capacity and putting us on the path for our future prosperity.”

News Web site The Complete Colorado revealed “fingerprints” of a “pay-to-play agenda” when Abound received its conditional approval in September 2010. Wealthy philanthropist Pat Stryker, whose Bohemian Companies has significant investment in Abound, donated $475,599 to federal Democrat candidates and causes over the 2008 to 2012 election cycles, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Included in that amount is $11,900 in maximum contributions to President Obama’s two campaigns for the White House. Stryker also was an $87,500 bundler for the president’s Inaugural Committee, the People’s Press Collective discovered, and donated $50,000 herself. The Sunlight Foundation reported that she gave $35,800 to the 2012 Obama Victory Fund. In October 2009 Stryker also visited a former assistant to the deputy chief of staff at the White House, Kristin Sheehy, who also hosted several visits from SEIU president Andy Stern. The purpose of Stryker’s visits is undisclosed.

Stryker is known to have contributed millions of dollars to Democrat candidates for state and federal office in her lifetime. Among those are gifts to former U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, whose district includes the Abound facility – $9,400 made up of max contributions for her 2008 and 2010 successful runs for office. Abound helped pay for ads in 2009 that thanked Markey for voting for the cap-and-trade bill that passed the House that year, which would have benefited renewable energy companies. And according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Markey also pushed for approval of the loan guarantee for Abound.

“Without the loan guarantees, they would not be able to really move forward on this project,” Markey told the newspaper. “It’s seed money that’s going to be fully paid back by Abound.”

In a fresh exclusive, Complete Colorado has obtained new documents showing “that Abound Solar created an unexpected, and previously unreported 10 day production shutdown over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and then went on to tell employees, Don’t let the rumor mill create false purposes for this shutdown.’ The shutdown was announced to employees just after Thanksgiving by company president Craig Witsoe.”

How many more?

We need a green energy loan moratorium. NOW.

***

Guess who’s reading Complete Colorado? Lots of busy bees at the White House. Hello!






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Comments

  1. Its part of the “Grab Something & Run” program sponsored by our Chief Criminal.

  2. State-level conservative blogs and think tanks are doing the work the rest of the “mainstream media” won’t do on government big green boondoggles Obama’s fraud and ineligibility.

    The evidence is mounting.
    Every blogger and reporter needs to breitbart this!
    To paraphrase Barry Goldwater:
    “Extremism in defense of the Constitution is no vice.”

  3. How long can political cronyism go on? When will the sheep stop allowing the wolves to fleece them? When our Republic is destroyed and turned into memories of greatness of our ancestors?

  4. And take a look at what’s been happening to the price of uber-crony boondoggle FirsT Solar ($4.7B, that’s billion, of taxpayer subsidies) recently.

    The entire solar complex is collapsing. If there was true opportunity in that space, the money would be pouring in. That is what free markets do.

    BTE, former Bush Treasurer Paul O’Neil has been knocking the ball out of the park on CNBC the past 10 minutes. Short version: the entire political system is stuck on stupid and we need to find someone to run for president who dares to tell the truth. Like me, he is an independent conservative who sees little difference between the “two” parties.

  5. No surprise considering this administration’s perspective on Green Energy (folding green, that is).

    Kith and kin with the embrace of pond scum. How utterly appropriate a metaphor!

  6. BTW, one thing I’ve observed on those few occasions that someone with the stature of Paul O’Neil dares to tell the truth boldly is that people from all political persuasion cheer.

    We are tired of liars, chameleons and shape-shifters yet that is all our one-party system throws at us and we keep holding our noses to vote for it. If we would just stop voting for it, things would change fast. At least we would find out the truth about whether we still have a democracy. If enough people vote 3rd party, we’ll find out.

  7. On March 6th, 2012 at 10:23 am, Pasadena Phil said:

    forgot to add the link to First Solar chart.

  8. Only in this administration does loaning millions in tax dollars go from “creating thousands of jobs” to 400 actual jobs, then whittled down to 120. And the left wonders why we do not want our money going to DC.

  9. Let’s place this story in the news cycle where it will get the most play.

    How many overaged, over sexxed co-eds would this money have bought birth control for?

  10. Only in this administration does loaning millions in tax dollars go from “creating thousands of jobs” to 400 actual jobs, then whittled down to 120.

    And if the truth be told it probably is less than 12 jobs.

  11. Only in this administration does loaning STEALING millions in tax dollars go from “creating thousands of jobs” to 400 actual jobs, then whittled down to 120.

    I switched it to the more accurate statement.

  12. Can someone explain something for me? I don’t claim to be an economic genius. If there is such a market for solar panels that it’s worth throwing billions in tax dollars at, wouldn’t that market become hotter as the competition went bankrupt?
    Wouldn’t those still left in the game be making huge amounts of money since the supply would now be less than demand?

  13. On March 06, 2012 at 08:45 am, uffdaubet said:

    Let’s place this story in the news cycle where it will get the most play.

    How many overaged, over sexxed co-eds would this money have bought birth control for?

    …and gender reassignment surgeries since she was also trying to force a Catholic school to pay for that.

  14. ***
    HI PASADENA_PHIL–#7. Nice link to the First Solar “energy” stock price chart. It looks like the sinking data on the Titanic on it’s way down to the bottom.
    ***
    However, the Y-axis on the chart looks very strange. Like someone was cooking the data to make it look far better than it actually was. Creative plotting to show the actual data in a “better” light?
    ***
    So far–I haven’t seen one green “energy” project yet that can “compete” with existing far cheaper energy sources. Not one–mandated higher costs for all consumers! And Comrade Obama and His Ilk keep doubling down on stupid with our taxpayer bucks. Like hitting us on the head with a hammer because it feels sooo good when they stop!
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  15. On March 6th, 2012 at 10:53 am, Republicanvet said:

    Stop making sense. Truth, common sense and logic have no place in crony capitalism economy. If you don’t cease and desist, you will be instructed to gather your belongings and leave.

  16. Again, when will the left start demanding clawbacks of all the outrageous bonuses paid to these CEO’s whose companies have gone bankrupt?

  17. Guess who’s reading Complete Colorado? Lots of busy bees at the White House. Hello!

    The article that the White House folks are reading is from 2010. What made them suddenly take an interest in it? Was it a person’s name that came up on their searches? Or was it the company name?

    Usually, once a report like this gets to be more than a month or two old, the hit counts on that page drop to near zero, unless something links back to that page and renews interest. I wonder what was linking them to the CC site…

  18. On a related note, I read a blurb on the ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) that DOE is running with “only” $522 million, mostly from the stimulus program. They have funded 180 “high-risk but potentially game-changing technologies”, patterned after the “highly successful” DARPA project.

    Apparently, their auditors decided milestones for six projects could not be met, so they were terminated. Money allocated: $13.2 million, money returned to treasury: $3.6 million. 174 projects still spending your money “wisely”.

    The projects were run by Material Methods, NanOasis Technologies, Inorganic Specialists, Nalco, Iowa State University, and United Technologies Research Center.

    It just gives me warm fuzzies that …”DOE has emphasized that all ARPA-E projects are risky, will be closely monitored, and could be terminated or restructured throughout the funding period, which usually runs from three to five years.”

    It took three years and several million dollars to see that Iowa State’s microalgae-based biofuels technology wasn’t going to meet milestones. Good thing DOE has many other bets on algae based biofuels, guess Iowa State needed some new bio-labs.

    Too bad big companies like Exxon-Mobil or BP or start-ups like Solazyme or Sapphire Energy aren’t working on technology like this and the DOE needs to fund “risky” research .. oh wait a minute, these companies are already spending millions on algae technologies.

    This info was in the 20-Feb-2012 issue of Chemical and Engineering News.

  19. On March 6th, 2012 at 10:55 am, rocketman said:

    However, the Y-axis on the chart looks very strange.

    First Solar has been the darling of the solar space for several years now. They not only got billions of US taxpayer subsidies but also benefited from favorable Chinese “influences” and the incestuous relationships between all of these crony companies and their “banksta” masters.

    There is a cliche that devout chartists swear by: there is information in price. In this case, FSLR’s price is telling us that something has been smelly all along. With all of the competition falling by the wayside, you would think the most efficient producer would be cleaning up. Where is that company? The only ones cleaning up are the cronies who got out in time.

  20. ***
    HI REPUBLICANVET–#12. The economic reality is that Chinese solar panel manufacturers build the items for half the cost that the best U.S. based companies can. Far lower labor costs, no real anti-pollution costs, no worker benefit costs, etc.
    ***
    There are no real or rational “competition” or free market economy rules in play here. The government (really taxpayer) subsidy to the “greenie” Comrade Obama crony capitalists and corrupt groups is just a way to get rich by theft.
    ***
    Your problem in not understanding the “economics” at play here is that you are thinking logically in a crooked game being played with a marked deck of cards. When the subsidy runs out the game is over.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  21. On Yahoo news now. Abound is mentioned at the bottom, and only that they laid people off.

    Nice to see the DOE is “troubled” by the bonuses paid.

    Hope the link works.

    http://m.yahoo.com/w/news_america/green-firms-fed-cash-execs-bonuses-fail-200314806–abc-news.html?orig_host_hdr=news.yahoo.com&.intl=us&.lang=en-us

  22. It would be interesting to see a list of all companies involved in this, along with how much tax dollars they got, how many jobs were created, how many are left, what bonuses were paid to whom, and what company personnel are politically connected and how much they donated.

  23. Pasadena Phil:

    Speaking of stuck on stupid…..

    Man, don’t you get that Al LEAST 40% of the population is voting for Obowtome, because they want “freebies”? And that your mythical third party will only divide the other 60%, assuring a second term for the Marxist-In-Chief? Is that what you really want? This is a yes or no question. Anything else will tell me that you’re really for Obowtome.

  24. ***
    HI ZIPPO_DUDE28–#18. I got to see some of the old DARPA projects in action at White Sands Missile Range in the mid 1960?s and 1970?s. They were spectacular cutting edge R&D projects then. They really worked–although they may never have entered operational status.
    ***
    The project that stands out in my mind was a super high speed and high-G turn capability ICBM interceptor missile design. The missile looked like an Indian arrowhead–almost flat on opposite sides. It was built of some super high strength material (tungsten?) and had longitudinal grooves with holes in them along the flat sides of the bird.
    ***
    To turn the missile–two hypergolic fuels were valved into the grooves and exploded there to blast the rear end of the missile onto the next segment of the flight path. Like putting a stick of dynamite along the rear quarter of your car to make it turn on a dime!
    ***
    We couldn’t believe the flight path when the first 90 degree turn was commanded. The smoke trail as seen from a mile away looked like a carpenter’s square in the sky! No apparent turn radius at all in the smoke trail.
    ***
    DARPA did some amazing things–real out of the box thinkers. And their stuff actually worked. Unlike the failed “greenie” energy projects.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  25. Is it a coincidence that the Dems have chosen today to go after “excessive speculators” in oil markets? And guess who is leading the charge? That Marxist Bernie Sanders from VT. He just made a fool of himself on CNBC..

  26. Scratch my comment above….or add to the list, either way.
    Maybe it would be easier to list the companies who received DOE loans and are successfully making a profit on their own.

  27. Errah, The Dept of Labor will probably come out with a new bilion dollar re-training program for all the layed off green workers so they can get educated on the fossil fuel jobs of the future. ENRGY101 – “How to fill the 50 gallon gas tank on a Chevy Suburban in a post-green jobs world”

  28. Maybe it would be easier to list the companies who received DOE loans and are successfully making a profit on their own.

    Do they even exist? I want solid evidence. I’m guessing not.

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