Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another bust (at the taxpayers' expense) in the new green economy

The clean energy sector creates the jobs of today and tomorrow, helps protect our environment, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
According to Barack Obama:
 “I strongly agree with Vice President Gore that we cannot drill our way to energy independence, but must fast-track investments in renewable sources of energy like solar power, wind power and advanced biofuels, and those are the investments I will make as President. It's a strategy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced, and one that will leave our children a world that is cleaner and safer." - Barack Obama, July 17, 2008
According to yesterday's Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Georgia ethanol plant sold, at taxpayers' loss
Dan Chapman 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 
The failed Range Fuels wood-to-ethanol factory in southeastern Georgia that sucked up $65 million in federal and state tax dollars was sold Tuesday for pennies on the dollar to another bio-fuel maker with equally grand plans to transform the alternative energy world.
LanzaTech, a New Zealand-based biofuel company, paid $5.1 million for the plant in Soperton. Its main financial backer: Vinod Khosla, a California entrepreneur who also bankrolled Range Fuels, and helped secure its government loans, before Range went bust last year.
LanzaTech hasn't received the same type of loans, but the company has received $7 million from the U.S. departments of Energy and Transportation to assist in the development of alternative fuels.
The Range fiasco harkens other, failed renewable energy companies that received major taxpayer funding. California solar panel maker Solyndra got $535 million in federal loan guarantees. Beacon Power of Massachusetts, which makes energy-storage equipment, took in $43 million in federal money. Both filed for bankruptcy last year.
Range cost U.S. taxpayers $64 million and Georgia taxpayers another $6.2 million. Tuesday's sale netted $5.1 million which will help offset losses suffered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Georgia's money, which paid for some of the ethanol-making equipment, won't be recouped outright, but state officials expect LanzaTech to use the machinery.
According to Sam Shelton, director of research programs at Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Institute:

"It was too damn big a risk for an apparently unproven technology and the due diligence I personally performed on Range would not entice me to invest in it," Shelton said Wednesday. Shelton was invited by Range a few years back to check out its operation in Colorado where it was based.
"Government should not be in the venture capital business selecting technologies," he added.
By the way, LanzaTech got a $7 Million loan from the Obama Administration to buy for about $5.1 Million the failed company that owed taxpayers almost $70 Million.  So it used our money to "pay us" a few cents on the dollar for the assets securing the first loan from the Obama Administration where we got defaulted on (screwed out of) for more than $68 Million.  I do not know about you, but of the above choices, I am going with Mr. Shelton.


Dave H said...

Rememebr when con men used to have to go door-to-door or send out thousands of emails? Now all they have to do is listen for politicians to say "we will invest..." to find their marks.

2cents said...

Good point. Maybe if they had to invest their money instead of mine they'd be a little more careful.