Saturday, October 20, 2012

Green Alert: Tracking President Obama's green energy failures


 At the end of September, Marita Noon and I began to expose the various failures of Obama’s green-energy expenditures (mainly from the trillion dollar, 2009-stimulus package where over $90 billion was earmarked for "green") –– projects and firms that have gone bankrupt (confirming 15 with more on our radar). A hot topic that became part of the first presidential debate where after President Obama pressed Mitt Romney for supporting tax cuts for oil companies, Romney reminded Obama that he put $90 billion into failing green companies like Solyndra, Fisker, Tesla, and Ener1. “I had friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers,” Romney cleverly added.

We then we moved on to those that are functioning, but facing difficulties (approximately 20)–– struggling either financially, while some environmentally, and even those that are facing federal probes for various reasons. Still, many are laying off workers, and quite a few are on life support, with a number experiencing a combination of the aforementioned.

Lastly, we addressed the "5 million green jobs that Candidate Obama had promised in 2008," of which
Team Obama is now claiming victory, however, as we noted, the math doesn't add up, nor does the gimmick accounting –– recycled ones; those that already existed –– used by the Obama administration's Labor Department.

While in Marita's columns we placed an * after the project/company’s name to indicate a political connection (
cronyism and corruption), in my subsequent blogs I expanded upon our efforts, and plugged in my research, listing those critical ties. 

In our three-part series, two focused directly on the failures, and our sums were 15 bankruptcies and 20 troubled (a total of 35 with over 65% having
meaningful Democrat political connections –– bundlers, donors, supporters, etc). Yet, considering the rapid speed of these "green" bankruptcies and issues (about 10 that I read about just last week), I'm compiling new totals here, which will include a new and updated list by the Heritage Foundation dated October 18, 2012 –– President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures –– with their total of 36 (updated later with a number of 34). And most listed at The Heritage and ours are very similar, however, they have some we don't and vise versa.

UPDATE: New calculations as of December 1, 2012: despite eliminating AES Energy (which I am still not sure of) from my list and adding ReVolt Technology, the numbers remain the same: 23 bankrupt, 29 troubled, equals a new "Obama green-energy failure" list total of 52.  While billions of "green-energy  taxpayer money is gone, and we know that the majority of the loans (90 percent) were funneled to Obama and high-ranking Democrat cronies, the "troubled list is a moving target." Thus there is no way to give an exact dollar amount what is still at risk, yet we do know that the percentage of cronyism in the failed and troubled list is hoovering around 56% (29 of the 52), until I have time to dig further.

  1. Solyndra*: Received $535 million DOE loan and $25.1 million in California tax credit. Bankrupt: September 2011
  2. Abound Solar*: Received part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration, and was awarded a $400 million loan under Obama in December of 2010. Abound was awarded a $9.2-million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011. Bankrupt: June 2012
  3. Beacon Power*: Received more than $25 million in DOE grants and a DOE loan for $43 million. Bankrupt: October 2011 

  4. A123 Systems*: Received $390 million, of which $249 million of it was a Recovery Act Grant. Filed for Bankruptcy October 16, 2012, and two companies are seeking to buy A123; Johnson Controls and the Chinese firm Wanxiang Group Corp.
  5. Amonix*: Received $6 million in federal tax credits a $15.6 million grant from the DOE for research and development. Bankrupt: July 18, 2012 
  6. Azure Dynamics*: Received millions in stimulus funds and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits. Bankrupt: March 27, 2012 ––  HF ADDITION: states $120 million
  7. Babcock & Brown: Received $178 million in the largest federal (1603) stimulus wind grant in December 2009. Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009
  8. Energy Conversion Devices Inc./Uni-Solar: Received a $13.3 million Stimulus tax credit. Bankrupt: February 2011.
  9. Ener1*: Received a $118.5 million DOE Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: January 26, 2011.
  10. Evergreen Solar, Inc.*: Received Stimulus funds, grants, tax-credits, low-interest loans and subsidies. Bankrupt: August 15, 2011 
  11. Konarka Technologies Inc.: Received $20 million in grants from government agencies such as the DOE and the Pentagon. Bankrupt: June 4, 2012.
  12. ADDITION Range Fuels*: Range Fuels: $162.25 million in government commitments since 2007, of which $64 million came from a USDA Biofuel loan in 2010 alone, despite financial and technical difficulties, and opposition inside the USDA. 
  13. Raser Technologies: Received $33 million Treasury Department Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: May 2, 2011. 
  14. SpectraWatt*: Received $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Lab via the Stimulus. Bankrupt: August 23, 2011
  15. Stirling Energy Systems: Received $7 million from a federal renewable-energy grant and was eligible for nearly $10.5 million in manufacturing September 28, 2011
  16. Thompson River Power LLC: Received $6.5 million in Stimulus funds from Section 1603. Bankrupt: July 2, 2012.
  17. HF ADDITION: Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million); in our unconfirmed list
  18. HF ADDITION: Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million); in our unconfirmed list
  19. HF ADDITION: Nordic Windpower* ($16 million)
  20. HF ADDITION: Satcon ($3 million) As reported by the Heritage Foundation October 18, 2012, "A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week." 
  21. HF ADDITION: Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981) ($6 million); in our unconfirmed bankrupt list 
  22. ADDITION, October 23, 2012: Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: Received $480,000 through the Section 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit Program. During Obama's visit to Cardinal Fastener, he took a "green Recovery Act victory lap," and touted it as means for "Made-In-America Jobs" for Ohio. Yet, just two weeks after the Obama visit, Cardinal laid off 12 percent of its staff, and in June 2011, Cardinal Fastener filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Lastly, in January 2012, Cardinal Fastener was acquired by Germany’s Wurth Group for just $3.9 Million.
  23. HF ADDITION, December 1, 2012: ReVolt Technology is a Portland-based company, which specialized in developing zinc-air flow battery systems. "ReVolt earned its place in the Graveyard when it declared bankruptcy (October 17, 2012), despite the fact it had been offered a whopping $10 million in funds from federal, state, and local governments. The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy offered a $5 million grant in 2010. Oregon matched the federal government’s promise with $5 million worth of loans." 


A123 Systems UPDATES:

"Republicans and outside business groups are calling on the Treasury Department to reject the sale of bankrupt battery-maker and stimulus recipient A123 Systems, Inc. to a Chinese firm, arguing the move could put American national security at risk." 

"Chinese firm Wanxiang Group won a bid for A123 System on Sunday, beating out the Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls. A123 Systems, which produced lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, filed for bankruptcy in October after receiving $133 million of a $249 million stimulus grant from the federal government." 

Abound Solar UPDATES



  1. Fisker Automotive* –– $528.7 
  2. Tesla Motors* –– $465 million 
  3. AREVA acquired Ausra Inc.* –– $2 billion 
  4. ADDITION November 20, 2012: Georgia Power Company –– $8.33 billion via the 1703 DOE LGP for Plant Vogtle, the construction and operation of two new nuclear reactors at a plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. In July 2012, Bloomberg reported the purchase of The Shaw Group Inc., which is connected to the Vogtle project, noting that Southern Co. is the largest investor in the Vogtle project, and they reported delays and cost overruns. Also, in August 2012, "Plant Vogtle's contractors sue Georgia Power, project's co-owners," yet there is more to this story that I will expose in due time.
  5. BrightSource Energy* –– $1.6 billion 
  6. First Solar* –– $3 billion, plus suspicious Export-Import bank funding 
  7. Nevada Geothermal* –– $78.8 million, plus $69 million in federal stimulus-funded grants
  8. NextEra Energy Genesis Solar Project* –– $681.6 million
  9. SunPower Corp.* (California Valley Solar Ranch project bought by NRG Energy*) –– $1.2 billion DOE loan guarantee
  10. AltaRock* –– $6 million, $25 million, plus $1.45 million 
  11. Bloom Energy* –– $5 million
  12. CH2M Hill* –– $2 billion 
  13. Chevy Volt* –– $151 million, $105 million, plus other stimulus funds HF ADDITION: GreenVolts ($500,000) - I'm assuming this is the Chevy Volt
  14. ECOtality Inc.* –– $126.2 million  
  15. Johnson Controls –– $299 million
  16. Montana Alberta Tie Line –– $152 million of federal financing (some reports say $161 million) 
  17. National Renewable Energy Lab* –– $200 million
  18. Schneider Electric –– $86 million
  19. Serious Material (Serious Energy)* –– $548,100   
  20. Solar World Industries America –– $4.6 million  
  21. ADDITION: Solar City* –– Got a $275 million conditional guarantee (DOE) that was later rejected. Besides some financial issues, Solar City was subpoenaed in July as part of a federal probe of the Treasury grant program. As reported by The Washington Free Beacon (October 18, 2012), SolarCity, is currently being audited by the Internal Revenue Service and investigated by the Treasury Department’s inspector general amid allegations that the firm misrepresented the value of its investment when applying for stimulus grants. So it looks like Solar City" has applied for approximately $325 million in these stimulus grants, according to the SEC filing." So, loan rejected, but the grant is larger (as are the political ties) –– we'll keep an eye on this story.
  22. Solar World Industries America –– $4.6 million HF UPDATE, November 16, 2012: Solar World ($82 million credit from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit). According to the Heritage Foundation, "SolarWorld, which announced a 47% revenue decline in the third quarter, blamed a potential 37 layoffs at its Oregon plant on “illegal” Chinese trade practices." 
  23. HF ADDITION: Vestas ($50 million)
  24. HF ADDITION: LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million, part of the Recovery Act, and millions worth of special state tax breaks based on job creation of all things) LG Chem is another green company that President Obama touted during his visit at the LG Chem battery cell production site in 2010.  This is an amusing story that was recently brought to my attention –– according to Wood TV, Michigan (October 18, 2012), "Workers at LG Chem, a $300 million lithium-ion battery plant heavily funded by taxpayers, tell Target 8 that they have so little work to do that they spend hours playing cards and board games, reading magazines or watching movies." Now, their story (more scandalous than what I posted here) is under investigation by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board –– an oversight agency for the federal stimulus program, what I call the RAT Board –– another huge part of this green corruption scandal.
  25. HF ADDITION: Navistar ($10 million) 
  26. HF ADDITION: Mascoma Corp.* ($100 million)
  27. ADDITION, October 22, 2012: MiaSolé*: Received two Advanced Energy Manufacturing tax credits totaling $101.8 million from the Obama Administration in January 2010, see my Summer 2010 report on Kleiner Perkins, yet also a VantagePoint investment. This month (October), "struggling" and "desperate" MiaSole has agreed to be sold to China's Hanergy Holding Group for $30 Million, which is considered to be dirt cheap. 
  28. ADDITION, October 23, 2012: Smith Electric Vehicles: Received $32 million in federal grants from the American Recovery Act. Smith Electric Vehicles was another Obama touted green investment, however, since 2009 they have "racked up $128 million in losses." In February 2011, Smith Electric Vehicles announced a potential partnership with Wanxiang Group (one of the largest non-government-owned companies in China that is on a "green USA buying spree" –– Smith Electric, A123 Systems and Ener1), and in September 2012, struggling (and "short on cash") Smith Electric scrapped its IPO to “pursue private financing opportunities.”
  29. HF ADDITION, November 16, 2012: SunTech ($2.1 million credit from the Energy Department’s stimulus-funded Advanced Energy Manufacturing (48C) Tax Credit). According to the Heritage Foundation, "SunTech said the U.S. International Trade Commission’s 35.95% tariff on Chinese solar panels was partially responsible for the 50 impending layoffs at its Arizona production facilities."

Telsa and Fisker UPDATES 

"Without the hundreds of millions of dollars Tesla TSLA -1.25% has received from the federal government this year, the electric-car maker’s financials would be gasping for air as 2012 winds down."
"Given the ugly state of Tesla’s finances — and the company’s sky-high valuation: almost $4 billion — it will rank among the top candidates in Silicon Valley for a 2013 stock collapse, unless it receives significantly more cash next year."

NEW INFO on Nissan that received $1.4 billion loan arrangement under the Department of Energy’s ATVM Program (one of five where cronyism and corruption reigned): November 15, 2012, according to The Detroit News, Nissan CEO abandons '12 electric vehicle sales target, which includes the all-electric leaf, and the DOE loan was used for. Do we add them to our "troubled list?"

BEGINNING calculations October 20, 2012: 22 bankrupt, 25 troubled, equals a new "Obama green-energy failure" list total of 47. And so far, at least $15 billion of "green" taxpayer money is either gone or still at risk, and the majority was funneled to Obama and Democrat cronies –– I can confirm that over 62% are political connected. 

October 23, 2012 calculation: 23 bankrupt, 27 troubled, equals a new "Obama green-energy failure" list total of 50. At least $15 billion of "green" taxpayer money is either gone or still at risk, and the majority was funneled to Obama and Democrat cronies –– percentage of cronyism is hoovering around 60% (29 of the 50).

Please check back, as you can see it changes weekly...

Department of Energy Collateral Damage
  1. Aptera Motors 
  2. Bright Automotive
  3. Solar Trust*
 *Denotes companies/projects with confirmed cronyism and/or corruption.

The is the complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies by The Heritage Foundation, October 18, 2012 (updated later to reflect 34)  –– President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures

The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:
  1. Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
  2. SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
  3. Solyndra ($535 million)*
  4. Beacon Power ($43 million)*
  5. Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
  6. SunPower ($1.2 billion)
  7. First Solar ($1.46 billion)
  8. Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
  9. EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
  10. Amonix ($5.9 million)
  11. Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
  12. Abound Solar ($400 million)*
  13. A123 Systems ($279 million)*
  14. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
  15. Johnson Controls ($299 million)
  16. Schneider Electric ($86 million)
  17. Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
  18. ECOtality ($126.2 million)
  19. Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
  20. Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
  21. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
  22. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
  23. Range Fuels ($80 million)*
  24. Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
  25. Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
  26. Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
  27. GreenVolts ($500,000)
  28. Vestas ($50 million)
  29. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
  30. Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
  31. Navistar ($39 million)
  32. Satcon ($3 million)*
  33. Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
  34. Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)
*Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

Figures for four companies have been updated: Beacon Power received $43 million from the U.S. government, not $69 million as originally reported. Azure Dynamics received $5.4 million from the federal government, not $120 million as originally reported. Compact Power Inc. received $151 million as part of the stimulus, not $150 million as originally reported. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group received $700,981 in government funding, not $6 million as originally reported.

The following companies have been removed from the original list: AES’s subsidiary Eastern Energy, LSP Energy and Uni-Solar did not receive government-backed loans, based on additional research. The National Renewable Energy Lab did received $200 million in stimulus funding, but it is a government laboratory.

UPDATE December 1, 2012: I am taking off AES Eastern Energy/Energy Storage*, yet on August 2, 2010 they did received $17.1 million DOE conditional commitment "to support the construction of a 20 megawatt (MW) energy storage system using advanced lithium-ion batteries" –– a project Johnson City, New York, and according to a December 23, 2010  press release by, "DOE Completes $17 Million Loan Guarantee for New York Energy Storage System with Recovery Act Funds." However, AES is not listed as one of the DOE's  Loan Program's Office projects, yet they did go bankrupt: December 31, 2011.

NOTE: My blog reflects the Heritage "corrections," however, I kept in AES and the National Energy Lab –– and we initially had four unconfirmed bankruptcies:
  • LSP Energy
  • Mountain Plaza Inc.
  • Olsen Crop Service/Olsen Mills
  • Willard & Kelsey Solar Group

So far, at least $15 billion of "green" taxpayer money is either gone or still at risk, and the majority was funneled to Obama and Democrat cronies 

As you can see tracking President Obama's failed green-energy expenditures is like aiming at a moving target, and calculating the exact dollar amount is even more difficult to pinpoint. This is partly due the fact that companies/projects received multiple green government subsidies that weren't recorded or tracked properly (federal and state loans, grants and special tax credits, and from various programs and agencies). Also, some of these firms were given a loan guarantee, yet didn't have access to the entire amount,  prior to their bankruptcy.  However, as a ballpark figure, I'd say that at least $15 billion that we know of at this time. And here's why...

I had purposely listed the bankrupt and troubled from the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program (DOE LGP) first. Since 2009, the DOE has guaranteed $34.7 billion – 46% through the 1705 ($16 billion of which 90% are politically connected), 30% through the 1703 ($10.3 billion—AREVA and Georgia Power), and 14% through the ATVM ($8.4 billion and 3 of the five loans are tied directly to Obama).

Marita and I covered eleven companies from the DOE LGP (Solyndra, Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Fisker Auto, Telsa Motors, AREVA, BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal, NextEra Energy's Genesis Solar Project, and SunPower/NRG Energy's California Valley Solar Ranch), noting that from that program alone, close to $10 billion of taxpayer money is already gone, while, as you can see, some is still at risk. What's interesting to note is that of the "26 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.”

Meaning that the DOE had already put the majority of that $16 billion into excessively risky investments. And to add insult to taxpayer injury, the driving force behind these decisions weren't based merit as the DOE would have you believe –– obviously it was cronyism and corruption. My April 2012 analysis of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform March 2012 report confirmed that over 90% have meaningful political ties to President Obama and high ranking Democrats, or both, which gives credence to Congressman Ryan's jab to the so-called "Stimulus Sheriff," Vice President Joe Biden during the VP debate, "$90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups." Ryan went on to call the Obama green-energy expenditures what it is, "crony capitalism and corporate welfare."

In case you missed our Obama Green Energy Failures, Three Part Series:
PS: If anyone cares to add up these failed green-energy expenditures, drop me a line and I'll post it here. Thanks, Christine

Monday, October 15, 2012

Where are the 5 Million Green Jobs Candidate Obama Promised?

PART THREE, Special Report: Obama, the Green Loser
Obama's Green Jobs Promise: 355 Jobs and Counting
October 15, 2012

Continued from...Special Report Part Two: Obama, the Green Loser; Cronyism Inc. –– Obama Green Energy Investments: Troubled 
And, Special Report Part One: Obama, the Green Loser; Cronyism Inc. –– Obama Green Energy Investments: Bankrupt

In Thursday night’s Vice Presidential debate, the Administration’s green agenda was, once again, part of the verbal sparring. The exchange ended with Congressman Ryan’s unanswered question: “Where are the 5 million green jobs…?” Moderator Martha Raddatz cut him off mid-question, steering the conversation elsewhere: “I want to move on here to Medicare and entitlements. I think we've gone over this quite enough.” 

Ryan didn’t finish his question. Vice President Biden wasn’t pressed into an uncomfortable answer that would have wiped the smile off his face. 

Had Ryan not been interrupted and been allowed to finished the question, he likely would have continued: “…Candidate Obama promised in 2008 when he pledged to jumpstart the economy with an influx of green jobs. Many times, he specifically stated: ‘I will invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create 5 million new energy jobs over the next decade—jobs that pay well; jobs that can’t be outsourced; jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and a new electricity grid; jobs building the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow, not in Japan, not in South Korea but right here in the U.S. of A. Jobs that will help us eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years and help save the planet in the bargain. That's how America can lead again.’ Where are those green jobs?”

Had Biden answered, he might have tried the same line Obama used in the 60 Minutes interview clip that didn’t air on national television: “We have tens of thousands of jobs that have been created as a consequence of wind energy alone”—though that hardly adds up to 5 million. Try as he might, Biden couldn’t have smiled his way through a recitation of green jobs created through the proposed $15 billion a year. It is not a happy story. In fact, through the 2009 stimulus, more than $15 billion a year was allocated for green energy projects—which in his four-year term would have added up to $60 billion. Instead, while the numbers quoted vary, $80-90 billion has been made available for green energy projects.

With the assistance of researcher Christine Lakatos, I have been chronicling Obama’s stimulus-funded green energy failures. First we looked at the companies that have gone bankrupt, and then those that are heading that way—or, at least, have financial issues. Within those reports, we frequently addressed specific green jobs failures. For example, regarding Fisker, the electric car made in Finland, we say

ABC reported: ‘Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright, new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs.’ Those jobs didn’t materialize—at least not in America. … Two years after the loan was awarded, the Washington Post stated that Fisker ‘has missed early manufacturing goals and has gradually pushed back plans for U.S. production and the creation of thousands of jobs’… Now, in 2012, Fisker Automotive is laying off staff in order to qualify for more government loans. So, President Obama’s ‘green’ energy stimulus was supposed to create jobs; now it’s destroying jobs so that companies can get more stimulus?” 

About now-bankrupt, and under-investigation for fraud, Abound Solar, we wrote
“President Obama, in July 2010, praised Abound Solar, which was to make advanced solar panels … He believed these plants would be huge job creators: ‘2000 construction jobs and 1500 permanent jobs.’ In December 2011, CEO Craig Witsoe called Abound Solar the “anti-Solyndra” saying that his company is “doing well and growing.” However, just months after that optimistic report, Abound Solar filed bankruptcy…” 
Due to the various loans, grants, and subsidies, it would take an investigative team made up of dozens of people to ferret out each and every true green-energy job that was created, absent that, we are hitting the high points in attempt to answer Ryan’s question: “Where are the 5 million green jobs?” 

Short answer, even optimistically—and perhaps deceptively, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) news release, only 3.1 million green jobs were created. To reach this number, BLS counts jobs that “were associated with the production of green goods and services,” specifically those which “are found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.” It is important to note that most of these 3.1 million jobs are primarily pre-existing jobs that have been reclassified as “green.” Once those existing jobs were shifted into the green column, through three-quarters of 2011 only 9,245 new “green” jobs were generated when the White House touts generating over 200,000 new jobs by 2010.

The House Oversight Committee wondered, just what are those jobs that are “associated with the production of green goods and services?”

On June 6, 2012, at a House Oversight hearing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) questioned BLS Director John Galvin on his agency’s green jobs numbers. Through Galvin’s reluctant responses (he didn’t want to be there), we learned that the Obama administration’s labor department counts oil lobbyists, bus drivers, garbage men, etc., as green jobs—shameful, embarrassing, deceptive. According to how BLS rates green jobs, I have a green job. I qualify under several headings. After all, I do education and public awareness on environmental issues. Next time I am at a social event, where I am asked the inescapable: “What do you do?” I’ll respond: “I have a green job.”

Complete details can be found in a report on the “Green Job Myth” from the Institute for Energy Research (IER). It states: “the green-job definition is extremely broad and includes both direct and indirect jobs.”  Each of the following would qualify:
  • A person who sweeps the floor in a solar-panel manufacturing facility
  • A driver of a hybrid bus
  • A school bus driver
  • An employee who fills the bus with fuel
  • An employee involved in waste collection or water and sewer operations
  • A clerk at a bicycle repair shop
  • A manufacturer of rail cars
  • An oil lobbyist whose company is engaged in environmental issues
  • An employee of an environment or science museum

Now that we know what the BLS constitutes as a green job—even recycled ones; those that already existed—we’ll look at the billions of taxpayer money spent on green jobs. We’ll focus specifically on just two programs: the Loan Guarantee Program and the Renewable Energy Grant Program.

On June 19, 2012, Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, testified at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings on the Loan Guarantee program. Within her thorough assessment of the program, she states: “since 2009, Department of Energy has guaranteed $34.7 billion in loans, 46 percent through the 1705 loan program, 30 percent through the 1703 program, and 14 percent through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.” And, that “some 2,378 permanent jobs were claimed to be created under the program. This works out to a potential cost per job of $6.7 million.” 

The 1603 Grant Program was implemented as part of the Obama stimulus, and is administered by the Treasury Department, with the goal of reimbursing eligible applicants for a portion of the costs of installing specified energy property used in a trade or business or for the production of income. Basically, 1603 gives billions in favored-businesses, tax-free cash gifts that do not have to be paid back.

The June 19, 2012 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on “The Federal Green Jobs Agenda,” highlighted the “gimmick” accounting method used by the BLS. Testimony revealed that a multi-billion dollar stimulus program, the section 1603 grants for renewable energy, does not even include job creation among its primary objectives—which obviously contradicts the purpose of the 2009 trillion-dollar Obama stimulus package.   

Congressional Research Services expert, Dr. Molly Sherlock, deflected direct questions regarding the total jobs created by the 1603 program. “If you’re looking at the direct jobs, this one estimate has direct jobs created at 3,666 in the construction phase, and direct jobs created at 355. Direct jobs would just be the construction jobs and the ongoing operations and maintenance jobs. But if you wanted to look at the supporting jobs in other industries then you’d want to look at the other figures.”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) pressed on: “I just want to know how many jobs were created.” Sherlock admitted: 355 jobs created a year, for $10 billion—which comes out to about $28 million per job.

Photograph by Brea Souders for Bloomberg Businessweek; Source:
These two programs have created a combined total of 2733 jobs (a recent Bloomberg Business Week tally of all green jobs through any program cites a total of 28,854 jobs) and are spending an approximate average of $9.1 million per job. (At this rate, to create the 5 million promised jobs, we’d have to spend $45 trillion—not the $150 billion proposed.) I’ll quote Obama Campaign Official Stephanie Cutter here: “It’s really impossible to do the math.” 

But, at least, as the 2008 campaign promise stated, these are “jobs that can't be outsourced,” right? Wrong.

There are plenty of green jobs going overseas and taking our money with them. According to CNS News, “The Obama administration allowed millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds to go to foreign companies, despite recent statements by President Barack Obama that he opposes ‘shipping jobs overseas.’” 

Billions from the 1603 Grant Program went to foreign wind turbine manufacturers—of the 8,317 turbines installed at major wind projects that received 1603 awards, 4,513 turbines (54.3%) came from foreign manufacturers.

Fisker Automotive received a $529 million ATVM loan that went in part to build their expensive Fisker Karma car in Finland, and according to ABC News, “Fisker may never build electric cars in the US.” Meanwhile, First Solar received over $3 billion from the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program. During the May 16, 2012 House Oversight Committee hearing, Issa surmised that First Solar is “not an American company.” It turns out that the numbers don't lie because CEO Mike Ahearn admitted: “in sheer numbers, most of our fulltime [employees] are outside the US.” 

Just a few examples of helping our economy by creating green American jobs. So much for “made in the USA.”  

Before his departure, Obama’s routed green jobs czar, Van Jones, approved a $5 billion home weatherization program that supposedly outfitted homes (mainly for the economically disadvantaged) with the latest green technology in order to reduce energy prices. This was another part of the 2009-stimulus, which in February 2009, Obama declared: “We're going to weatherize homes, that immediately puts people back to work and we're going to train people who are out of work, including young people, to do the weatherization.” Three years into the program, all we got was excessive waste, fraud and abuse, plus more cronyism and corruption—no “Americans back to work.” In fact, “evidence gathered by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform suggests that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (Weatherization Program) is a stunning example of a management failure which has wasted billions of dollars, done little to achieve energy savings, and may have put people’s lives and homes at risk. While the program may have been a “failure” in terms of the stated goal, Obama’s pals back in Chicago came out winners.

But there are other examples of total inefficiency on the dollars/jobs ratio—interestingly these can be found in another program designed to improve energy efficiency: Retrofit Ramp Up. This program, from the DOE, used “stimulus dollars to have homes insulated and made more energy efficient.” Perhaps Biden remembers inviting Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to the White House as a part of the Retrofit Ramp Up program. Seattle was one of 25 communities to receive a $20 million dollar slice of the $452 million program.

According to a report in The Blaze, the retrofit program used “Stimulus dollars to have houses insulated and made more energy efficient. The plan was to funnel cash into local economies with the intent to create good-paying green jobs while simultaneously reducing energy consumption. … Seattle’s $20 million dollar allocation was projected to create some 2000 “green jobs” and retrofit at least 2000 homes.” However according to Seattle’s KOMO TV, Seattle’s green jobs program is a bust. One year after McGinn joined Biden at the White House, KOMO reports: “Seattle's numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.”

You might be surprised to know that $500,000 of the taxpayer-funded stimulus spending went to a PR firm to “run a barrage of ads on White-House friendly cable programs.” The ads promoted the green jobs training program. The cable shows? “According to government records, the Labor Department paid the money in late 2009 to a company that negotiated a media buy on MSNBC's ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ and ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’ The ad was set to run more than 100 times –– 14 times a week for two months,” yet “the official online entry on the contract listed zero jobs created as a result of the payment.”

There are other stories, such as the one reported by USA Today, in which, according to a government report, $500 million in green job training grants reached just 10% of its job-placement goal. Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates defends the initiative, citing that “it was never designed to provide immediate results.”

One grant recipient, Jeffry Lewis of Pathstone Corp., a Rochester, N.Y. non-profit that spent $2.3 million of its $8 million grant and had trained only 25 people, “conceded that job placements have been much slower than anyone would have liked.”

Then, there is the story from Fox News on a whistleblower, who says his college won millions in federal grants to train workers for green jobs that didn't exist.

Seattle’s KOMO may have most aptly summed up the entire 2008 green-jobs campaign promise: “Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.”

I don’t think so.
There is one other part of the 2008 campaign promise that I must address. Obama talked about these jobs of the future: “jobs building solar panels and wind turbines and a new electricity grid … Jobs that will help us eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East.” I have to point out that jobs “building solar panels and wind turbines and a new electricity grid” do nothing, absolutely nothing, to “help us eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East.” Wind and solar produce electricity—with which Middle Eastern oil has virtually no connection (unless you tie in the failed electric car efforts). We have enough coal, natural gas, and uranium within our borders to provide for our electrical needs for centuries to come. Connecting electricity generation and Middle Eastern oil is at best a marketing campaign, at worst: a scare tactic. To “help eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East,” we need to develop our abundant domestic oil resources, not subsidize wind and solar. 

While millions of Americans were preparing to watch the debate, I was part of a group gathered in a restaurant to watch the debate between New Mexico’s senatorial candidates: Republican Heather Wilson (my former Congressman) and Democrat Martin Heinrich (my current Congressman). Toward the end of our local debate, Heinrich accused Republicans of turning “their back on the jobs of the future.” With the history of the “jobs of the future,” as Obama called them in the 60 Minutes clip, the Republicans have been wise to turn their backs and run far, far away.

Where are the 5 million green jobs? Just another Obama failed promise, one that costs taxpayer billions of dollars.  

This is another collaboration by Marita Noon and Christine Lakatos –– this three-part series was originally posted at, yet more research is presented here at the Green Corruption Blog, in both Parts One and Two here:
  1. Special Report Part One: Obama, the Green Loser; Cronyism Inc. –– Obama Green Energy Investments: Bankrupt   
  2. Special Report Part Two: Obama, the Green Loser; Cronyism Inc. –– Obama Green Energy Investments: Troubled  
  3. Special Report Part Three: Where are the 5 Million Green Jobs Candidate Obama Promised?  

There is much more green corruption in the works, but in the meantime I'll leave you with this commercial break by "Earth Supply & Renewal"––  O’Keefe Exposes Union Corruption Behind ‘Shovel Ready Green Jobs

James O’Keefe and undercover reporters posing as “Earth Supply and Renewal” — a group dedicated to digging holes and filling them back in– meet with labor Bosses, NY legislators, and a former NY Assemblyman who tell them how to secure funding for “BS” Green jobs. (Warning: contains some strong language and corruption). 

VAN JONES UPDATE, October 18, 2012:   

Ironically, shortly after I posted this blog,  found an interesting piece written by Van Jones (October 6, 2012) –– former Obama's Green Jobs Czar (also mentioned in our green jobs report) turned CNN contributor that took aim at Romney's "90 billion green energy" statement at the at the first presidential debate, claiming that Romney "distorted the truth on green jobs."  And he would know, because "he helped oversee the administration's efforts in this area."

However, what Van Jones failed to mention, when he took an Obama victory lap using the Bureau of Labor Statistics "3.1 million green jobs" –– the same one Marita and I dissected in our Special Report –– was that figure was compiled using gimmick accounting, whereas most are pre-existing jobs that have been classified as green.  

So much for Van Jones and CNN with facts. However, Van Jones is also linked to other energy firms that got stimulus funds. Case in point is the one I had mentioned in my Special Report Part Two, Obama the Green Loser, chronicling the troubled taxpayer funded green energy firms/projects.  CH2M Hill –– a consulting, engineering, and construction firm received stimulus funds ($2 billion) for the clean up of nuclear waste from cold war-era sites. 

In short, the far-left wing radical Van Jones also sat on the left-wing Apollo Alliance board, the group that helped craft the 2009-Obama stimulus, has a cozy relationship with CH2M. Van Jones is a Senior Fellow Center for American Progress (CAP), on my green corruption radar since 2010 that is closely aligned with the White House –– CAP that also "helped to craft" the 2009-Obama stimulus, and has a major footprint in this green corruption scandal. 

Van Jones is also tied to Solar Mosaic that $2 million award from the DOE back in June of this year. 
As reported by The Daily Caller, "The solar energy research company has former Obama “green jobs” czar Van Jones listed as an advisor. It also employed Rebuild the Dream, Jones’ firm, to do its public relations work."

As Congressman Ryan so boldy put it during the VP debate, "$90 billion in green pork to campaign contributors and special interest groups" as well as calling it was it is, "crony capitalism and corporate welfare." And what's worse, is that those in charge, like Van Jones and VP Joe Biden are in on it –– not only part to, but part of.

And that's part of the green corruption scandal I hope to unleash soon...