Department of Energy Spending Money Just to Spend Money?

This is what happens when you put people in charge who’ve never held a real job or had responsibility that mattered. Remember Solyndra? The Department of Energy loan guarantee that is going to cost taxpayers $500 million or so that was rammed through even though common folk in the DoE warned against it and their underwriters and auditors were waving big red flags.

Well, it turns out that the Keystone Loan Underwriters tried their best to throw your money at Solar Trust of America, a company whose majority owner is a German green energy company that is currently in bankruptcy, and if it hadn’t been for the CEO of Solar Trust refusing the guarantee, we’d be on the hook for another $2.1 billion, or roughly four times more than we threw down a rat hole with Solyndra. Thank you Ewe Schmidt!

The US Department of Energy is such a clusterfark that even the Washington Post – our equivalent of Pravda – is taking shots at them.

The Obama administration’s vaunted initiative to catalyze the U.S. clean-energy industry — under attack for betting half a billion dollars on the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra, which closed last month — has become a case study of what can go wrong when a rigid government bureaucracy tries to play venture capitalist and jump-start a nascent, fast-changing market.

In other words, the people at the Department of Energy, starting with Secretary Chu don’t have a clue how the free market works. But then, like his boss the President, he’s never had a real job either. This project is a textbook case for shutting down the stupidity known as the Department of Energy. The Washington Post goes on to detail just how poorly this program was run, and I have no confidence that anything else they’re doing is being done any more effectively.

Inundated with proposals, the small Energy Department loan office was initially overwhelmed, and companies complained that it was moving too slowly, not too quickly as has been alleged recently in the case of the now-bankrupt Solyndra.

While Chu was striving to get things moving, top White House economic officials, including Lawrence H. Summers, then director of the National Economic Council, doubted the government’s ability to shape a new industry, and some wanted to tighten up oversight by the Office of Management and Budget …

“The Department of Energy supports a process that would limit OMB and Treasury review,” said an Oct. 25, 2010, memo to the president. “OMB and Treasury support the establishment of clear policy principles for project review, recognizing that this may pose a risk that some program funds may not be obligated by the program’s Sept. 30, 2011 sunset date.”

In other words, Chu recommended to President Obama that the Department find places that the Department could throw money because time was running out. In any rational world the villagers with torches and pitchforks would enter stage right. But we’re talking about Washington DC not the rational world. Let’s look at just how far the DoE is out of the loop.

We know, for example, that the DoE blatantly ignored the huge red flags related to Solyndra who filed for bankruptcy just a few months after receiving their loan guarantee whose only apparent purpose was to protect President Obama’s political fundraisers by putting them in front of the taxpayers for any funds realized from the bankruptcy. You might think they’d have learned a lesson, but remember, they’re government employees playing with YOUR money not theirs.

Solar Trust was founded in 2005 by Solar Millennium and another German industrial heavyweight, Ferrostaal AG. Ferrostaal, which owns a 30% stake, stopped putting money toward Solar Trust two years ago, according to court papers.

Ahhh, the owners stopped throwing good money after bad in 2009 and in late 2011 Secretary Chu wants to give them $2.1 billion of US taxpayers’ money? To a firm owned by a German conglomerate? Yep. Secretary Chu is supposed to be a really “smart” guy. Has a PhD in physics and all that stuff. Apparently the “smart” guy has been taken over by pod people, here’s what he said about Solar Trust, courtesy of the Washington Examiner

Senior officials in Obama’s administration had very high hopes for the Blythe project. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which he described as “a historic moment in America’s new energy frontier” and “another important step in making America’s clean energy future a reality.” Chu trumpeted at the time that Solar Trust would prove that “when we rev up the great American innovation machine, we can out-compete any other nation.”

Secretary Ken Salazar would be the same guy who is blocking offshore drilling and is costing the American people thousands upon thousands of jobs. THAT Ken Salazar. And guys listen up. The “great American innovation machine” is in no way shape or form connected to or associated with the federal government. Stop throwing taxpayers money into these green rat holes and start rolling back the regulatory idiots at the EPA, etal and you’ll see innovation and jobs. Keep doing what you’re doing and we won’t have enough electricity to innovate anything because you idiots are busy shutting down the coal industry.

November is on the way folks. Get involved. It matters. It really matters.

Michael Becker