Guaranteed Failure: D.O.E big green loans fund big Obama donors

July 20, 2012 05:34

Yet these loan programs remain popular with Congress and the executive branch. That’s because in general most of the financial cost of these guaranteed loans will not surface for many years…. can approve billions of dollars to benefit special interests with little or no immediate impact to federal appropriations ..


Veronique de Rugy at Mercatus Center


In 2009, renewable energy company Solyndra received $535 million through the federally backed 1705 loan guarantee program of the Department of Energy (DOE). Two years later, the firm filed for bankruptcy and had to lay off its 1,100 employees, leaving taxpayers to bear the cost of the loan. For obvious reasons, more than any other recent events, this waste of taxpayer money has attracted much attention.

But Solyndra isn’t the only company to fail after receiving a loan through this particular program. Back in October, Beacon Power Corp., an energy-storage company that received $43 million in backing from the 1705 loan program, filed for bankruptcy. More recently, Abound Solar, Inc, a U.S. solar manufacturer that was awarded $400 million through the program, announced that it would suspend operations and file for bankruptcy. Abound borrowed about $70 million against the guarantee, which is likely to result in a cost of $40 million to $60 million to U.S. taxpayers after Abound’s assets are sold and the bankruptcy proceeding is completed.

In addition, there are signs that other companies may follow in the steps of Solyndra and Abound. First Solar’s Antelope Valley project, which received a $646 million 1705 loan in 2011 through its partner Exelon, is one likely casualty; SunPower’s California Valley Solar Ranch— now owned by NRG Solar—is another. The ranch received a $1.2 billion loan guarantee last September. Whether these companies will fail or not is not yet clear, and the potential cost to taxpayers is not known. However, the precarious situation of these companies exemplifies the risk faced by taxpayers when the government extends loan guarantees to high-risk companies.

Now, the important question is whether or not these examples are representative of the 1705 loan program. What we find is that loan guarantees in this program go to two types of projects:

• Projects that would not have been funded in the open market without a government guarantee because they are too risky, and

• Projects that could have gotten a loan but were happy to benefit from the lower interest rate available through a DOE loan guarantee.

The failure of Solyndra has attracted much attention, but the problems with loan guarantees are much more fundamental than the cost of one or more failed projects. In fact, the economic literature shows that every loan guarantee program (a) transfers the risk from lenders to taxpayers, (b) is likely to inhibit innovation, and (c) increases the overall cost of borrowing. At a minimum, such guarantees distort crucial market signals that determine where capital should be invested, resulting in lower interest rates that are unmerited and a reduction of capital for more worthy projects. At their worst, these guarantees introduce political incentives into business decisions, creating the conditions for businesses to seek financial rewards by pleasing political interests rather than customers. This is called cronyism, and it entails real economic costs.[1]

Yet these loan programs remain popular with Congress and the executive branch. That’s because in general most of the financial cost of these guaranteed loans will not surface for many years. Consequently, Congress can approve billions of dollars to benefit special interests with little or no immediate impact to federal appropriations, because these dollars are almost entirely off budget.


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Editor’s note:


Veronique de Rugy points out further in her testimoany that the vast majority of funds went to four companies:

 – The recipient of the most 1705 loans was NRG Energy, Inc.,  which received a total of $3.8 billion—23.7 percent of the overall amount guaranteed under the 1705 program.
–  Four companies— NRG Energy, NextEra Energy, Arbogea, and Prologis—received 64 percent, or $10.3 billion, of the total amount guaranteed under the program.


The largest recipient of funds, NRG, has ties to Obama contributor’s:

Consider this from GREEN CORRUPTION:


I have been “following the green-energy money” (close to $100 billion dollars) since the passing of the 2009 stimulus package…And, early this morning –– a subscriber of The Washington Free Beacon, one of the few that has their eye on Green Cronyism –– I found this headline, Bundler of Sunshine: Obama Bundler’s Husband Has Received More Than a Billion in DOE Solar Loans.

Yep, NRG snagged two major DOE loans that by the way, were on the “Junk bond” portfolio that I had written about last month –– NRG with two green projects:

  • NRG Solar, LLC (Agua Caliente) –– Rating BB+ by Fitch; Aug 2011 for $967 million
  • NRG Energy (California Valley Solar Ranch) –– Rating BB+ by Fitch; Sept 2011 over $1.2 billion

NOTES on the Agua Caliente Project:

And, as revealed by The Washington Free Beacon, “the multiple DOE loans did not stop NRG Energy from reporting a first-quarter 2012 loss of $206 million.” “Even so, NRG has recently expanded its operations…”

However, NRG has many, or are connected to green projects that are being funded by taxpayer green cash.

  • NRG Energy is part of a project dubbed Project Amp, which in September 2011 received a partial DOE loan guarantee for a whopping $1.4 billion. As reported by Forbes last June, Project Amp will be built over four years and financed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and owned by industrial real estate firm Prologis. NRG Energy will invest in the first 15-megawatt phase of the rollout with an option on the remaining phases. Also, Project Amp’s application was submitted by the lender-applicant, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP).  Keep in mind that Project Amp was also on the “DOE junk bond portfolio” with a BB rating by Fitch in Sept 2011.
  • NRG Energy is building an engineering marvel… The project (set between LA and San Francisco) is a compound of nearly a million solar panels that will produce enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes,” whereas “taxpayers and ratepayers are providing subsidies worth almost as much as the entire $1.6 billion cost of the project.
  • In fact, according to The Boston Globe November 2011 piece, Clean energy projects powered by massive subsidies –– “NRG, along with partners, ultimately secured $5.2 billion in federal loan guarantees plus hundreds of millions in other subsidies for four large solar projects.”
  • Also, according the Green Street Journal in October 2010, “NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), through its wholly owned subsidiary, NRG Solar, executed a letter of intent to partner with BrightSource Energy to construct, finance, own and operate the largest solar thermal project in the world, the 392-megawatt (MW) Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in southeastern California’s Mojave Desert. NRG Solar plans to become the lead investor in Ivanpah, investing up to $300 million over the next three years.” This is the same project that belongs to BrightSource Energy –– complete with a long list of meaningful political ties that I exposed just last week in another BREAKING story –– was also on the “DOE Junk bond portfolio” (BrightSource Energy, Inc with three projects; two Rating BB+ by Fitch and the other Rating BB by Fitch; Apr 2011) that snagged a whopping $1.6 billion taxpayer funded “bailout,” and is also expected to receive Treasury grants once the project is complete.

With over eleven projects listed at NRG Solar alone, and NRG Energy with over 50 “Generation Assets” across the nation that not only include solar, but also natural gas, wind, coal, nuclear, and oil,  the full count of government subsidies that have gone to NRG Energy are probably still unclear. As a Citizen Watchdog, this is what I have uncovered at this time, however, the political connections are damaging to the Obama administration.

While Patrick Howley notes the following meaningful political connections: Arie Few –– 2012 Obama Bundler, and her husband Jason Few, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer of NRG Energy and President of Reliant as well as Warren Buffet’s (an Obama buddy) stake in NRG Energy, he missed the other BIG GREEN FISH in this green-energy scheme, George Soros…

Soros –– a 2008 Obama Donor through Soros Fund Management was #15 on the Obama’s Top 20 Contributors to Obama’s Campaign Cmte and Leadership PAC. Most damning is the fact that Soros is connected to many companies that benefited from the 2009 Stimulus package that HE helped craft, including alternative energy. The big green winners that I tracked are American Electric Power AEP (Soros bought 1.5 million shares) and NRG Energy (Soros bought 500,000 shares of NRG Energy).

According to Wynton Hall in an interview over at Stephen K. Bannon’s Victory Sessions  a while back…

Billionaire George Soros gave advice and direction on how President Obama should allocate so-called “stimulus” money in a series of regular private meetings and consultations with White House senior advisers even as Soros was making investments in areas affected by the stimulus program.

It’s just one more revelation featured in the blockbuster new book that continues to rock Washington,Throw Them All Out, authored by Breitbart News editor Peter Schweizer.

Mr. Soros met with Mr. Obama’s top economist on February 25, 2009 and twice more with senior officials in the Old Executive Office Building on March 24th and 25th as the stimulus plan was being crafted.  Later, Mr. Soros also participated in discussions on financial reform.

Then, in the first quarter of 2009, Mr. Soros went on a stock buying spree in companies that ultimately benefited from the federal stimulus.

  • Soros doubled his holdings in medical manufacturer Hologic, a company that benefited from stimulus spending on medical systems
  • Soros tripled his holdings in fiber channel and software maker Emulus, a company that wound up scoring a large amount of federal funds going to infrastructure spending
  • Soros bought 210,000 shares in Cisco Systems, which came up big in the stimulus lottery
  • Soros also bought Extreme Networks, which, months later, said it was expanding broadband to rural America “as part of President Obama’s broadband strategy”
  • Soros bought 1.5 million shares in American Electric Power, a company Mr. Obama gave $1 billion to in June 2009
  • Soros bought shares in utility company Ameren, which bagged a $540 million Department of Energy loan
  • Soros bought 250,000 shares of Public Service Enterprise Group, 500,000 shares of NRG Energy, and almost a million shares of Entergy—all companies that  came up winners in the Department of Energy taxpayer giveaway that produced the Solyndra debacle
  • Soros bought into BioFuel Energy, a company that benefitted when the EPA announced a regulation on ethanol
  • Soros bought Powerspan in April 2009.  Just weeks later, the clean-energy company landed $100 million from the Department of Energy
  • In the second quarter of 2009, Soros bought education technology giant Blackboard, which became a big recipient of education stimulus money
  • Soros also bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe and CSX, both beneficiaries of Mr. Obama’s plans for revitalizing the railroads
  • Soros bought Cognizant Technology Solutions, which scored stimulus funds in education and health care technology
  • Soros also bought 300,000 shares of Constellation Energy Group and 4.6 million shares of Covanta, both of which landed taxpayers’ money through the stimulus, the former of which bagged $200 million

Also, Soros (and Warren Buffet) stand to benefit from “rejection of the Keystone Pipeline” as well as the Nat Gas Act. Plus, “President Obama recently (to expedite this natural gas boom)  decided to form an interagency natural gas council run by Cecilia Muñoz, a former community organizer with La Raza and White House bureaucrat with deep ties to George Soros.”

It should be noted that Bank of America/Merrill Lynch were both on the Top 2008 Obama Donors list –– and besides the San Francisco-based ProLogis project that got a $1.4 billion DOE loan guarantee, of which Bank of America Merrill Lynch and NRG Energy, were announced as investors, we do know that Big Banks have invested in “green!”

In fact, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch is heavily invested in “green” (BAML Renewable Energy Finance) and through their Renewable Energy Finance  section, we can confirm NextEra Energy is part of their “wind energy assets” — Deals and Transactions. NextEra Energy, of which the CEO Lewis Hay sits on Obama’s Job Council, was a huge DOE winner of two large solar loans: $852 million and $1.46 billion, both of these projects were also on the “DOE Junk bond portfolio.”

There are more BofA/Merrill Lynch green investments, one in particular,”A $1 billion plan to put solar panels on 160,000 U.S. military-base homes was collapsing in September after a $344 million U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee fell through. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) stepped up to finance the effort headed by SolarCity Corp“–– the same Green Corporation, complete with meaningful political ties like Google, who back in June 2011 invested, a Top 2008 Obama Donor. However, in the wake of the Solyndra Saga, the DOE loan was “rejected” / “rescinded” At any rate, that was as of September 2011 –– after all billions of dollars in “green subsidies” have been rapidly doled out by various government agencies, the majority going to Obama and Democrat Cronies!


  1. My three years of Green Corruption research
  2. Schweizer’s Throw Them All Out book
  3. The Washington Free Beacon and others linked here
  4. Open Secrets “2008 Obama donations” ––– Top 20 Contributors to Barack Obama 2008 Election Cycle
  5. Open Secrets: Barack Obama: Top 100 Contributors to Campaign Cmte

Stay tuned, this Green Corruption scandal is huge, and I’m just getting started…
Your Citizen Watchdog on the “green front”


And it goes on and on:

Obama’s Green-Energy, Crony-Corruption Story – Special Seven, Part 1 Expanded Version

Shining the Light on BrightSource Energy’s $1.6 Billion Shady DOE Deal: Special Seven, Part Two

General Electric Making “Bank” off Obama’s “Green” Stimulus Money; Over $3 Billion and Counting

Senator Harry Reid’s Part in Green-Energy Crony-Corruption, Part Three of The Special Seven

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