SEPTEMBER 24, 2013
For the third time in just a few months, another one of President Obama’s alternative energy ventures has failed after getting tens of millions of dollars from American taxpayers. It’s a tired old story that nevertheless keeps repeating itself as the administration moves forward with an aggressive plan to make America green.
This month’s failed green experiment du jour features a company (ECOtality) that makes charging stations for electric cars. Like many of the other bankrupt businesses that have received government handouts, it’s situated in northern California and Uncle Sam gave it $99.8 million before it collapsed. The cash was doled out by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars for similar projects.
ECOtality was supposed to make charging stations for electric cars but instead it filed for bankruptcy which means that, once again, American taxpayers have been fleeced by another one of Obama’s alternative energy ventures. Get this; the company attributes its financial problems to “disappointing sales” and “a suspension of payments from the federal government.”
In the last few months two different fly-by-night companies went down after getting large sums from the government for their failed ventures. The first was Fisker Automotive, which received nearly $200 million to develop a wheelchair-accessible “green” van. The startup had been heavily touted by the administration as an innovator that would develop two lines of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that could run up to 300 miles on a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. In fact, the Obama administration planned to give Fisker $528 million but the cash finally stopped flowing when the company laid off three quarters of its employees and announced it was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Soon after Fisker’s collapse another startup called Vehicle Production Group (VPG) went under after losing $50 million in taxpayer funds. VPG was supposed to create special vans for the disabled that run on compressed natural gas. Here’s how the Obama administration justified funding this experiment with public dollars: “This project invests in a socially and environmentally responsible product that will create new jobs, promote the use of alternative fuels, and help the U.S. maintain its competitive edge in the automotive industry.” The DOE has since taken the page down, but we got the quote straight from the agency’s announcement touting VPG.
There have been many other clean energy ventures that have also failed miserably after receiving exorbitant allocations from American taxpayers. Remember Solyndra, the northern California solar panel company—bankrolled by Obama fundraiser George Kaiser—that folded after getting $529 million from the government?
Despite the “serious concerns” of U.S. Treasury officials about the risky infusion, a federal audit exposed how the controversial deal was suspiciously rushed through for a politically-connected entrepreneur that had raised large sums for Obama. Judicial Watch is investigating the Solyndra scandal and has sued the administration for records related to the shady deal.
Then there’s the administration’s multi-million-dollar investment in “green jobs’ that will never exist. A few months ago a federal audit revealed that the government has blown half a billion dollars to train workers for the fantasy positions to fulfill Obama’s promise of creating 5 million green jobs over the next decade. It’s simply not happening and only half of the trainees in the program get work, most in areas unrelated to renewable energy.
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