Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More great moments in the history of crony capitalism

We suppose the good news here is that potentially only $43 million will be lost as opposed to the over $500 million that was sunk into the doomed-to-failure Solyndra outfit here in California.

Beacon Power Corp filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, just a year after the energy storage company received a $43 million loan guarantee from a controversial Department of Energy program.

The bankruptcy comes about two months after Solyndra -- a solar panel maker with a $535 million loan guarantee -- also filed for Chapter 11, creating a political embarrassment for the administration of President Barack Obama, which has championed the loans as a way to create "green energy" jobs.

Beacon Power drew down $39 million of its government-guaranteed loan to fund a portion of a $69 million, 20-megawatt flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York.

There are several key differences between the two loans, an Energy Department spokesman said on Sunday, noting the Beacon plant continues to operate, unlike Solyndra, which shut down shortly before filing for bankruptcy.

The Energy Department also had agreed to restructure Solyndra's debt in a last-ditch effort to keep the company alive, a deal which put taxpayers behind $75 million in private investment. But for the Beacon project, the government loan is the first debt the company must pay, the spokesman said.
(italics, ours)

It's comforting to know that in running this green jobs picking winners and losers program, the Dept. of Energy is becoming a little more PR-savvy in recognizing that it's important that the tax-payer recoup at least some of their "investment".

Oh, and about that crony capitalism thing, just how was it that Beacon Power secured that loan?

Beacon is using the money to develop a 20 MW regulation plant at a site in Stephenton, NY. The site will use several 1 MW flywheels to store energy as well as electrical and technological equipment.

Company spokesman Gene Hunt said Beacon didn’t have financial advisors per se, just its outside law firm of Edwards, Angell, Palmer & Dodge. “We also used our in-house expertise and we have good relationships with our congressional members.”

Per se!

For those of you scoring at home: the afore-linked Solyndra, SunPower, Fisker, Lightsquared and now Beacon Power.

Stacking up like cord wood.

H/T: Hot Air


Road Dawg said...

They didn't even have the good sense to mix it up a bit. One would have thought the cronyism would have looked a little less suspicious rather than a bunch of green dominoes.

SarahB said...

For kicks & giggled I called my solar lease broker to ask how Sunpower was doing in all this. Poor girl at the phone had no idea what on earth I was talking about. They may not be on the chopping block just yet, but if I were her, I'd refresh. Still hoping my aray goes up before they go down.

Harrison said...

Big Oil with Republicans, Big Green with Democrats. At least people NEED oil.