The stories just keep coming. The Department of Energy offers huge loan guarantees for “renewable energy” projects, and they keep going belly-up.
Not yet two years after the Department of Energy awarded $43 million in loan guarantees for Beacon Power’s energy storage plant, government attorneys are calling the bankrupt solar company and its affiliates little more than “empty shells” benefiting lawyers and other bankruptcy professionals.
The Department of Energy was created by Jimmy Carter in his first year: 1977. It has not led to the creation or discovery of new energy sources. It has provided lifetime employment for career bureaucrats.
Government attorneys also are criticizing what they said were early estimates by the Massachusetts-based company that its New York plant was worth $68 million and its so-called “flywheel intellectual property” held a value of $28 million to $47 million.
“Those representations proved to be wildly off the mark, and today debtors are empty shells with no interest in the disposition of their remaining assets, consisting of a pot of cash woefully insufficient to pay even its administrative claims,” Justice Department attorney Victor W. Zhao wrote in a filing last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.
How good a job has the Department of Energy done? A Christian Science Monitor article described this in 2010.
In 1980, when the DoJ was fully operational, about 38% of oil consumed in the United States was imported. By 2009, over 50% was imported.
In 1977, the USA produced about 3 billion barrels a year. In 2009, it was under 2 billion.
In 1979, the average price of gasoline in the U.S. was $0.58 per gallon. Adjusted for inflation, that is the equivalent of $1.85 in 2010 dollars. Today, the price is close to $4.
A huge federal bureaucracy was created. The Department of Energy brought together under one Cabinet secretary more than 50 agencies that dealt with energy, including the Atomic Energy Commission. Upon its creation in 1977, according to official estimates, the new DOE employed a total of 20,000 people. Today, the Department of Energy has 16,000 permanent employees and 100,000 contract employees around the nation.
The more energy the nation imports, the more power the Department of Energy gets.
In government, nothing succeeds like failure.