Thursday, July 19, 2012

Into the black (hole)


More good news from the Environmental-Industrial complex...

You know what's eating us about the Department of Energy being unable to locate $500 million worth of equipment? It's not necessarily the amount; that $535 billion we sunk into Solyndra is effectively missing as well and makes this case look almost like a rounding error. It's just that... well, read on, you'll find out.

An audit conducted by the Energy Department's Office of Inspector General was "unable to locate" $500,000 worth of equipment purchased with stimulus money by a recipient of funds distributed through the deparment's "Advanced Batteries and Hybrid Components Program," according to an audit report published by the OIG.

The DOE said it would not be "appropriate" to release the name of stimulus-money recipient where the $500,000 worth of equipment could not be located.

Pray-tell, why? It's our money, dammit. Or is this just some more of that new transparency this administration has promised us?

The program was given nearly $2 billion in stimulus funds "to support the construction of U.S. based battery and electric drive component
manufacturing plants." As of June, DOE had "expended" about $1.2 billion of that money and had made grants to "30 for-profit manufacturers," according to the July 10 audit report.

For-profit? Well, good for them. If they are indeed for-profit ventures then why are we subsidizing them with our tax dollars? Or is our subsidization being counted as revenue that pushes them into the black, if these manufacturers are indeed making a profit. In the world of Peronist picking winners and losers, these lines of accounting get awfully blurry.

From the OIG's audit:

The other two "conclusions and observations" in the audit were:

--"Better define regulations governing the retention of documentation supporting procurement decisions. Regulations currently require for-profit recipients to follow best commercial practices, but do not define such practices. One recipient in our sample had purchased about $24 million in equipment and services without adequately documenting purchasing decisions."

Our limited exposure to the acquisition rules end of things in our career in defense acquisition bears out that the government does allow for a bit of leeway in exactly how receipts are documented but they damn well had better have some ISO-approved system in place.

What strikes us about the DoE green loan program is just how poliiticized it has become. There is a zealous and near-maniacal pursuit in the green technology sector absent any regard for traditional business models. There aqppears to be absolutely zero regard for risk management, transparency, ethics, technological feasibility and return on investment. In short, ignored are the very factors that would sink, immediately, a privately-funded venture. Ventures like Solyndra, Beacon Power, A123 and SunPower are doing just that, yet with tens of billions of our tax-dollars being sunk along with them.

It is our fervent wish to see President Romney take a blow torch to this inept, failed and corrupt Department of Energy green loan program.



SarahB said...

You will love to hear that SunPower consistently forgets to automatically withdraw our solar lease payment each month...the first three months we had to call and TELL them to do it. Profit, my ass.

Dean said...