You’ve heard of “Honest Abe” and “Gorgeous George” – let’s introduce you to “Sly Steven” Chu, American Energy Secretary. And while we’re at it, move over Solyndra, Chevy Volt and Ener1, Inc., according to documents uncovered by the House Oversight Committee it appears Arizona-based Obama-supporting business leaders of First Solar, Incorporated received at least $3.1 billion of its total of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees based largely upon “adjustments” made to First Solar’s loan application by Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s personnel suggesting falsification of documents and/or corner-cutting by the Energy Dept. itself was required to get the loans approved. According to an ABC News story, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (a Republican from California) accused the Department of Energy of “manipulating analysis, ignoring objections from career professional scientists and business people and strategically modifying” loan evaluations in order to “force project funding out the door.” The Energy Dept. vehemently denied the charges, “The Department backed loans for two innovative solar projects that will support hundreds of jobs and provide clean power to tens of thousands of homes,” according to spokesman Damien LaVera.
The roughly 3,250 permanent green energy jobs created in three-plus years across the whole nation by the Obama administration’s green-tech emphasis has thus far cost taxpayers $38 billion or more than $1.15 million for each permanent job, 90% of which pay less than $15/hr.
Energy officials insisted to ABC News that the department followed a rigorous process to evaluate each applicant, and the two projects being scrutinized by Issa's committee are some of the most exciting solar ventures underway in the United States. If successful, the massive generating facilities would be by far the largest of their kind in the world -- comprised of more than five million solar panels and 35,000 metric tons of steel. Note the confusion between newness and excitement and solid business decision-making. Meanwhile Issa and his committee say they sifted through tens of thousands of pages of internal records turned over by the Energy Department in response to their requests. The granting of multiple loans to First Solar, a solar energy giant based in Arizona to create Agua Caliente in Arizona and the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch in California and then turn these facilities over to utility companies is unusual (First Solar also received a separate $1.5 billion loan). The standard for the loans was not “viability” and not “potential profit” but rather merely providing evidence that the projects “would employ new and innovative technologies to generate energy.” It appears that Energy Dept. officials “adjusted” First Solar loan documentation to fulfill this requirement. It appears that First Solar did not qualify even upon this narrow requirement. Among the documents the Oversight Committee cites is an email from a top technical expert inside the department, written well before the loans to First Solar were approved, in which the scientist argues one of the supposed advances -- use of a "single axis tracker" -- was actually not new at all.
"Be clear this is not an innovation," wrote Dong K. Kim, the director of the loan program's technical division. "The record will show we did not grade this as an innovation." Kim also wrote that "someone keeps changing" internal documents to hold out the tracking technology as innovative. And he warns that "whoever continues to make this change needs to understand that Technical does not support” emphasis of the trackers as an actual innovative component the Energy Department itself has identified their use in over 200 units in Europe, according to the internal documents.
"These facts make clear DOE substantively failed to fund innovation, and instead gambled with $3 billion taxpayer dollars on a single firm, First Solar," said Becca Watkins, an oversight committee spokeswoman. Meanwhile despite the positive spin put upon matters by company officials, First Solar is not proving profitable and only the huge government loans so far have kept the company afloat. .
First Solar, Inc. officials say they are forecasting more than $3 billion in revenue this year (revenue, NOT profits, you’ll notice) but acknowledged the company has suffered along with the rest of the solar industry. The company's stock has been sliding, and has become a favorite for so-called stock market "short sellers" -- investors who are betting on the company to fail. While this Solyndra story might serve as a case-study in venture-socialism, this January’s failure of once highly respected Ener1, Inc., a huge maker of automobile batteries intended for green vehicles, provides a much more significant cautionary note. Ener1’s financial collapse appears to have occurred NOT because their product is lacking in technological merit, but rather because there is no market for the recipient’s of Ener1’s batteries: ultra-expensive, low-performance green autos.
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In related news and relevant background: Energy Sec. Chu, of course, who has come under attack for a long and repeated history of advocating letting American gasoline prices rise to European levels, last week on Capitol Hill, Chu said he “no longer” believes that way; President Obama, for his part has embarked upon a nationwide “gas-price-apology tour” aimed at denying any and all responsibility for gasoline price rises of $2/gallon (national average $1.83 in January, 2009; $3.85 today) and rising since he took office. And even though the mainstream media won’t hold you accountable for it, you and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar were informed three weeks prior to the BP Gulf spill that big problems were in the works at the Deepwater Horizon site and were still ready to present BP with a national safety award . . . and then POUNCE! Your opportunity came with the BP oil spill and you shut down drilling EVERYWHERE and put into effect a shameless foot-dragging policy of grudging approvals where you had no choice.
When I was a college student, one of the psychological principles I learned about was called “word magic.” No, I’m not referring to the two magic words “Please” and “Thanks,” but rather to the childish use of words and labels (positive and negative) to seek to affect and change the world to our liking rather than dealing with it (the world) in a more adult fashion. Mr. Obama used word magic in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008 which was never run (it’s still on the paper’s website and now found all over the internet, however) by the Chronicle or any other mainstream media (MSM) in which he pledged to “bankrupt the coal industry” and bragged that “under my environmental policies and cap and trade, electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket.” Mr. Obama seems to believe that merely by saying “green energy” his words will create a viable reality. Sorry, Mr. President but algae won’t make my car run presumably anytime in the next couple centuries. The two top green energies are hydro-electric power and wood-burning just as they were back in 1940. Wood-burning, of course, is renewable and not particularly clean . . . nevertheless, wood-burning provides 2.5% of America’s energy which is more than solar, wind, geothermal, and cold fusion combined. Face the facts; you’re saying that oil is the “energy of the past” doesn’t make it true. And your equating drilling to create lower gasoline prices with “snake oil” is a monstrous lie. The only ones selling snake oil to the public is you, Barack Obama, and your progressive sycophants.
Ya’all live long, strong and ornery,