Thursday, January 23, 2014

All you Obama haters it is time to bond again. We all love our current President even if we won’t admit it. He has been a kind and gentle representative of our great country for close to 6 years now. We all have to admit he has been the greatest preacher for change and hope and blah blah.   Then he seems to stop there. Follow ups on his programs seem to fail from health care to energy projects to jobs.  He hasn’t even been able to keep faithful inner staff members for long. At least Bush had his Cheney even in retrospect seemed to have run everything in their White House.

During the Bush years it was all about oil and the Middle East. How coincidental since Bush was a Texas oil man. About a decade ago the smart people who funded the Internet turned their attention to the energy sector. Tech engineers were working hard to find ways to get us out of the oil business and out of the Middle East to quench our thirst for power and energy in this country.  When the power goes out in this country all civilization stops. People cannot even count money or do transactions because the cash register is down in a power failure.
Obama’s speeches of change were to get America focused on devising powerful solar panels, clean cars and futuristic batteries. The notion even had a good name. Clean Tech.  Hoping to create innovation and jobs, Obama opened the purse strings and poured tax payer money to the tune of one hundred Billion dollars in loans, grants and tax breaks to Clean Tech companies.  Instead of breakthroughs now almost 8 years later there are expensive tax funded flops of companies who spent the money and produced little.

Suddenly Clean Tech has become a dirty word.  There have been more than 50 energy start up companies in recent years.  There are bio-fuel companies designed to replace oil drilling with oil making.  Using corn raised food prices when they made Ethanol. Pulverizing trees cost more in energy to make the new magic oil than it was worth. These companies are still in the red not making any profits and the manufacturing of the products take too long with delay after delay.  You Obama haters should love this story.  Just another example where he has failed to follow up on his great ideas.
The energy start up companies underestimated the challenges like managing risks that have to do with markets and supply and operations with regulations and at the end of all that, hoping to get returns on their investments. Over the years the Federal Government has committed over one hundred million dollars to various Clean-Tech ventures. We have a system now where they over promised and under delivered on a new way of energy life. Share prices in energy companies are down 80% per cent. Tax payers should not be paying for some start up   companies’ experiments and failures.  We should have only invested in sure tested advances in energy technology.
Under the Obama Stimulus Act, the government wasn’t just supporting research. It was shoveling money to build assembly lines helping start ups in the manufacturing phase.  Over half a billion dollars went to a solar company called   Solyndra to build a factory. When solar was undercut by low prices in China, Solyndra died. Another half billion dollars in loan guarantees went to Fisca, a clean car start up that promised to open a plant in Delaware but went bankrupt. As with other companies where production was cranked up before there was any demand.  Basic business and economics say not to do this like with companies like LG Chem in Michigan.
The plant was built with $151 Million dollars from the stimulus to make batteries for electric cars that people never bought. So, the plant went idol and workers were paid tax dollars to sit around and do nothing. These loans and grants were administered by the Energy Department. Steven Koonan, the head scientist for the Department defends all that money being spent by saying, “I think there have been significant developments that came out of that spending that have impacted our energy system now. New technologies demonstrated and a good value for the money.”  Really? Is anyone ever held accountable for failures in government spending anymore? 
Solyndra went through a half Billion dollars before it failed. Other failures were Abound Energy, Beacon Power, Fyscra, VPG, Range Fuels, NRQ, A123 systems, and Ecotality.  The blame falls here on Obama’s zeal and on Congress that had the inability to set some constraints on the spending for this energy policy.   Our government cannot afford to simply write checks out without looking back on some return for the American people.

Steven admits that he was involved in approving about 30 loans.  Part of it all was about creating jobs. It all didn’t create much of anything but more debt. By the end of 2012 investors were dropping Gigaom, Sustainable, Oil Price, and Pandodaily from their portfolios. Now China owns most of our failed energy companies that were sold on the auction block. Smith Electric Trucks is starting to make money now under China’s supervision. God help America. China owns us.

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