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.
The Obama administration has blown half a billion dollars to train workers for “green jobs” that will never exist and a federal audit confirms the costly program has failed miserably, with only half of the trainees getting work and most in areas unrelated to renewable energy industries.
This is hardly surprising considering the president’s $90 billion dollar green initiative has proven to be a monstrous failure plagued by fraud and corruption. Remember Solyndra, the startup California solar panel firm that got $535 million from the government before folding abruptly? The Obama administration fast-tracked the deal despite “serious concerns” of U.S. Treasury officials, according to a Treasury Inspector General report published after American taxpayers had been fleeced in the deal.
There have also been others like Fisker Automotive, the firm that collapsed after getting $200 million from the government to develop a special wheelchair-accessible “green” van. The fly-by-night company 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.
Then there is the $21 million renewable energy experiment at a Virginia Navy base that won’t see a payoff for an astounding 447 years. That laughable project, which will only generate about 2% of the electricity required to operate the base, is part of the administration’s aggressive $335 million plan to transform the way the military gets its power in the name of reducing global warming.
There are a number of other similar examples of wasteful green projects funded by American taxpayers, making the administration’s huge investment in jobs the last hope. Now we know that it too has been a failure, according to report prepared by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress. It confirms that Obama’s promise as a presidential candidate to create 5 million green jobs over the next decade is simply not happening.
After investing $501 million since 2009 to train workers for jobs in fields associated with renewable energy and energy efficiency, few have found work in those areas, the GAO found. In fact job placement was a dismal 55% of the target and most of those positions aren’t considered “green jobs,” according to the GAO’s findings. The funds, which came from Obama’s disastrous stimulus, were managed by the Department of Labor (DOL), which distributed cash to more than 100 grantees.
“The outcomes of Labor’s green jobs training programs remain uncertain,” the report says, adding that challenges include a “lack of reliable green jobs labor market information” and “difficulty placing participants into green jobs.” This seems to defeat the purpose of investing hoards of taxpayer dollars to train people for jobs that don’t exist. It’s too late however, all the money is gone. The only thing the GAO could do is recommend that the DOL “identify lessons learned from the green jobs training programs to enhance its ability to implement such programs in emerging industries.”
In a mind-boggling example of government waste, it will take the U.S. Navy an astounding 447 years to benefit from a costly green-energy project that’s supposed to save money by lowering utility bills.
Like many other failed renewable energy experiments, the Navy project was funded with money from President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus, the fraud-infested disaster that was supposed to jump start the economy and put Americans back to work. Instead, big chunks of money have gone to wasteful projects, including green energy ventures like the northern California solar panel company (Solyndra) that folded after bilking taxpayers out of $535 million.
Part of the administration’s aggressive green initiative is to transform the way the military gets its power in the name of reducing global warming. More than $335 million in stimulus money has been allocated for renewable power projects at military bases, according to Pentagon figures quoted in a Virginia newspaper this week. The story focuses on a massive new solar energy project at the Norfolk Navy Base.
It cost American taxpayers $21 million, features more than 8,600 solar panels and spans 10 acres. Here comes the good part; the monstrous solar energy project, by far the largest in Virginia, can only generate about 2% of the electricity required to operate the Norfolk Navy base. Leave it to a government bureaucrat, the project manager for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, to point out the positive side: “You have to start somewhere,” the manager says in the article.
The same Naval station was blasted by the Pentagon Inspector General last year for its handling of $1 million in solar and lighting enhancements. The changes are supposed to save enough money via lower utility bills to make the investment worth it, but it will take nearly 4 ½ centuries for this particular experiment to pay off! The IG audit focused on $117 million worth of renewable energy projects at the Department of Defense (DOD) that promised unacceptably low returns on investments.
Among them is a $14.1 million Air Force plan to build three wind turbines at radar stations in Alaska. The plan was pushed through without fully assessing the potential for wind at the turbine sites, the IG found. One turbine is already set to be eliminated due to “sporadic” wind at its location and the rest of the project it expected to take north of 15 years to pay off.
There seems to be no end in sight to this outrageous squandering of taxpayer dollars to make military bases more environmentally friendly. Just a few weeks ago a Senate report (“Department of Everything”) focusing on wasteful DOD projects revealed that the agency burned $700 million on “duplicative and unnecessary alternative energy” projects.
Rife with fraud and corruption, President Obama’s ill-fated green jobs initiatives keep receiving large amounts of taxpayer money on the heels of failed projects that have already seen hundreds of millions of dollars go to waste.This week, for instance, the administration doled out $30 million to train the next generation of energy efficiency experts at dozens of universities around the country. It’s part of the president’s continuing effort to make the U.S. environmentally friendly and marks the latest of many costly, publicly-funded projects required to transform America into a leader in “green” technology.Administered by the Department of Energy (DOE), the allocation to train future efficiency experts could not have come at a worse time; days after a fly by night solar panel company stiffed the government out of $535 million. The abrupt closure of the northern California firm (Solyndra) has ignited fury among federal lawmakers because its politically-connected owner had deep ties to the White House. In fact, President Obama touted Solyndra during a visit before Uncle Sam cut the check and Vice President Joe Biden appeared in a ceremony to celebrate the deal once it was sealed.Also this week, the chief financial officer of a Knoxville, Tennessee group (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy) that promotes renewable energy confessed that he skimmed $400,000 in federal funds. In a plea agreement the crooked green energy guru, Cameron Potter, admitted committing fraud and money laundering, according to a local newspaper report.The green projects that are still operating with government funds have also been plagued in scandal. Earlier this year an investigative news report revealed that many of the so-called “green energy plants” actually infest the air with a “toxic brew of pollutants” while the administration promotes them as environmentally friendly generators of electricity and showers them with hundreds of millions of dollars.Obama has also become a cheerleader of expensive green causes overseas. Earlier this year he forked over$5 million to join a new Arab-based organization dedicated to promoting renewable energy worldwide. The U.S. already gives similar international “renewable energy” initiatives, operated by the famously corrupt United Nations, billions of dollars.