Despite Harm to the Environment and the Economy, Fiscal Cliff Deal Fuels Continuing Corporate Welfare
The new year began with “fiscal cliff” midnight drama and fantasy, and the wind-production tax credit (PTC), despite its negative impact on our environment and economy, packaged as a job creator and measure to save the planet, made its way into H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 –– a piece of legislation hyped as for the American people, yet it included a number of key tax extender provisions for special interest groups. “Congress extended wind energy tax credits worth billions of dollars in the last-minute deal hammered out by Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff, a move decried by free market organizations as corporate welfare,” writes the Washington Free Beacon.
Crammed through in the dark of night behind closed doors –– where the Senate was given minutes to read the bill, and the House caved under White House threats –– and with support of many Republicans, the looming and controversial (PTC) that many high-powered energy corporations have taken advantage of, rely heavily upon, and were fiercely lobbying for, was revived once again.
"The wind industry hired a team of heavyweight lobbyists with cozy connections to Capitol Hill and the Obama administration to ensure the survival of the tax credit, the Washington Examiner’s Timothy P. Carney reported," more specifically K Street firm McBee Strategic Consulting, of which I've found over and over in my green corruption research.
NOTE: “The Lucky Seven Stimulus Authors” are those that helped craft the 2009-Recovery Act and have financially benefited, of which I have already covered General Electric, John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins, Senator John Kerry, which I wrote about yesterday. I have given mention to billionaire George Soros as well as the left-wing organization the Apollo Alliance, with TJ Glautheir and McBee Strategic Consulting topping off my list. Full report soon to be released.
“Congress first enacted the wind energy PTC in 1992 and has renewed it seven times since,” even as part of the 2009-Recovery Act. The Institute for Energy Research counts the hidden realities of the PTC extension, noting that "The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the one year extension will cost American taxpayers over $12 billion." "But that figure doesn’t begin to represent the full cost of wind power,” including the detriment to ratepayers. And if Big Wind gets its way over "the next six years, then the PTC would cost over $50 billion."
Unknown to the American public is another green government freebie blowing out of the stimulus package. The 1603 Grant Program –– a relative of the PTC, which is part of President Obama’s trillion-dollar spending spree –– is administered by the Treasury Department, where billions in favored-businesses are given tax-free cash gifts. This program was also touted as a jobs creator (of course saved and supported), yet most of the so-called green job gains are temporary.
According to energy.gov, “The Section 1603 program was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support the deployment of renewable energy resources. The 1603 program offered project developers the option to select a one-time cash payment in lieu of taking the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) or the Production Tax Credit (PTC), for which they would have otherwise been eligible.”
Last week, the Energy and Commerce Committee released an “in-depth report on its ongoing investigation into the implementation of President Obama’s green energy stimulus spending,” exposing a shocking detail; “foreign corporations have received approximately one-quarter of $16 billion spent on 'Section 1603' renewable energy stimulus program.”
The report, “American Taxpayer Investment, Foreign Corporation Benefit,” states that as of December 5, 2012, “nearly $16 billion in federal funds (ironically, the same amount as the Department of Energy’s 1705 risky loan portfolio) has been awarded under this program,” of which “approximately $10.8 billion (68%) of the total amount in Section 1603 grants awarded was for wind and another $3.8 billion (24%) was for solar projects.”
Furthermore, “President Obama’s FY 2013 Budget proposes extending the Section 1603 grant program for another year, to include property with a construction start date of 2012.”
What’s funny is that as I was preparing my Big Wind findings, at the end of December 2012 I had downloaded the 1603 awards spreadsheet, which records 8275 awards, totaling $15, 964, 130, 442.00. Moreover, tucked neatly inside the fiscal cliff deal is where we find the 1603 again ––– now part of the two-month delay on sequestration. This means that there was no “immediate reduction in 1603 cash grants from the Department of Treasury. However, this 1603 reduction can still happen on March 1, 2013 if Congress does not enact another extension or strategy to avoid sequestration.”
Now we know President Obama's priority for his second term –– he's dead set on pushing a fierce and radical climate change agenda and funding green energy with taxpayer money, no matter the cost or consequences. So, we’ll anticipate March; follow the president’s budget; and watch for future requests for stimulus funds as well as earmarks tucked away in unread legislation coming down the green pipeline, but for now we'll go back in time to the president’s job council…
Lewis Hay chairman and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy, Inc.: Part of President Obama’s Multi-millionaire, Billionaire Jobs Council Club
Lewis “Lew” Hay, III is executive chairman of NextEra Energy, Inc., and it is estimated by Forbes, that CEO “Hay earns nearly $10 million in total compensation from NextEra.” Despite the fact that Hay was actually a “major political contributor to Sen. John McCain in 2008,” he quickly learned which side his power company could generate the title of the "Third Largest Recipient of DOE Risky Loans." Hay too joined wealthy Democratic donors on Obama’s Jobs Council in 2011, along with the other two I have tackled in this series, “Spreading the Wealth to Obama’s Ultra-Rich Job Council” –– Jobs Czar, Jeffrey Immelt CEO of General Electric has raked in $3 billion and counting, meanwhile John Doerr, along with his “climate buddy" Al Gore's, VC firm Kleiner Perkins is tied to at least $10 billion of stimulus funds. Both General Electric and Doerr were key contributors to what went into the 2009 Stimulus.
In my opening, I had stated that “NextEra Energy’s Green Money” was at least $2.3 billion, but that’s just from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 1703 Loan Guarantee Program, of which I recorded in another green energy, crony corruption post last summer. We’ll revisit the DOE and Big Wind, but for now there is more you should know about NextEra…
NextEra Energy, Inc. is one of the oldest, third largest, and arguably one of the most solid power companies in the world, with “2011 revenues [that] totaled more than $15.3 billion.” And NextEra Energy Inc. has two primary subsidiaries:
Florida Power & Light is the third largest electricity producer in the US (about which a September 2009 report states: “it's a political dynamo, making millions in political contributions and lobbying assiduously to achieve its goals”).
NextEra Energy Resources is the largest generator of energy from sun and wind resources in North America. The company also has the third largest fleet (8) of nuclear powered electricity generating plants in the United States.
NextEra: Biggest User of the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit
As a follower of NextEra, I found a fascinating analysis by John Fund of the National Review Online which states, “Begun 20 years ago to spur the construction of wind-energy facilities that could compete with conventional fossil-fuel power plants, the tax credit [PTC] gives wind an advantage over all other energy producers. But it has mostly benefited conventional nuclear and fossil-fuel-fired electricity producers. The biggest user of the tax credit is Florida-based NextEra Energy, the nation’s eighth-largest power producer. Through skillful manipulation of the credits, NextEra from 2005 to 2009 'paid just $88 million in taxes on earnings of nearly $7 billion,' Businessweek reports. That’s a tax rate of just 1.25 percent over that period, when the statutory rate is 35 percent.”
Wind Turbines Kill 440,000 Birds Each Year
Moreover, Fund gives us an astonishing and heartbreaking look at the “carnage inflicted on Mother Nature," quoting Paul Driessen of the Washington Times, "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that wind turbines kill 440,000 bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, cranes, egrets, geese, and other birds every year in the U.S., along with countless insect-eating bats.”
Sadly, Fund states, “The actual numbers are probably far higher. The turbine blades of the nation’s 39,000 windmills move at 100 to 200 miles per hour and can mow down anything that gets in their path.” “Over the past 25 years, turbines at Altamont Pass, Calif., alone, have killed an estimated 2,300 golden eagles leading to an 80 percent drop in the golden-eagle population of southern California.”
Ironically, when you read the fine print, as exposed by the Manhattan Institute, who calculated “The Real Costs to Taxpayers in Subsidizing Big Wind,” –– federal taxpayers (under former President Bush and now Obama), in effect, are subsidizing the killing of federally protected birds.”
Where are the environmentalists and Rachel Maddow screaming bloody murder? The chirps are light, and prosecution is non-existent because our “federal government looks the other way as wind farms kill birds, but haul oil and gas firms to court” –– all the while the Obama administration protects Big Bird at all costs.
But then again, Big Wind, to many like the Telegraph, is the most corrupt industry in the world –– “without the lies it tells as a matter of course and without the cosy stitch-ups it arranges with regulators and politicians at taxpayers' expense, it simply would not exist.”
Gone With the Wind: Wind Energy Grants Gone Overseas and to the Politically Connected, Including NextEra
The “gone with the wind” story is a little tricky due to the “fact that there are few restrictions on the how the grants can be used, according to a transcript of a Treasury Department briefing,” thus millions in grants went to wind farms built before the stimulus even passed, as recorded by the Investigative Reporting Workshop in February 2010 –– also alerting that coming out of the Treasury’s pocket were wind energy grants propelling overseas.
As stated above, the Energy and Commerce Committee presented some details into these grant winners, which are owned or operated by U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations, scoring $4 billion of the $16 billion in 1603 grants. Here’s your top eight, of which two are familiar to my green corruption research that I will get to shortly.
Iberdrola Renewables, LLC –– U.S. division of Parent Company, Iberdrola, S.A., “Spain’s number one energy group”: $1,769,610,214 in Section 1603 Grants
EDP Renewables North America LLC (formerly Horizon Wind Energy LLC) –– a subsidiary of EDP Renováveis, S.A., headquartered in Spain, “a global leader in the renewable energy sector”: $722,468,855 in Section 1603 Grants
E.ON Climate and Renewables North America, LLC –– a subsidiary of E.ON AG, Germany, “one of the world’s largest energy companies, and the largest investor-owned utility in the world”: $576,446,482 in Section 1603 Grants
EDF Renewable Energy (formerly EnXco) –– the U.S. subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, France, “the renewable energy arm of the EDF group, the leading electricity company in the world”: $204,986,935 in Section 1603 Grants
Eurus Energy America Corporation –– responsible for renewable energy development in North America on behalf of Eurus Energy Holdings, owned jointly by Toyota Tsusho Corporation and Tokyo Electric Power Company, Japan: $188,270,541 in Section 1603 Grants
Enel Green Power North America –– the U.S. subsidiary of Enel Green Power, “Italy’s largest power company, and one of Europe’s main listed utilities”: $181,598,497 in Section 1603 Grants
Gestamp Wind North America –– a subsidiary of Spanish-based parent corporation, Corporación Gestamp, “a global company and market leader”: $105,518,635 in Section 1603 Grants
Acciona Energy North America Corporation –– a subsidiary of Acciona S.A., Spain, “a global leader in the development and management of infrastructure, renewable energy, water and services”: $70,774,803 in Section 1603 Grants
Cronyism also blows in Big Wind Obama buddies, snagging their fare share of stimulus loans and grants. A few green corruption tales I’ve shared are General Electric –– one in particular was “The Shepherds Flat $1.3 Billion Deal,” pressured by Vice President Joe Biden. And in a 2010 analysis I found that GE was contracted to at least 26% of the wind projects as the turbine manufacturer, but as you dig through more wind projects, you’ll find more GE turbines.
Meanwhile in 2007, Goldman Sachs sold Horizon Wind Energy of Texas to EDP-Energias de Portugal for $2.5 billion in cash, and starting in 2009 until the end of 2012 they received over $700 million of free taxpayer money for eleven wind projects, placing them at the number two spot of these foreign firm US grant winners.
Horizon Wind is just one of the many alternative energy companies in which Goldman was an early investor. Another investment is Nordic WindPower –– also part of another politically connected VC firm that I addressed in my last post, Khosla Ventures "sustainability portfolio" –– which in July 2009 was offered a conditional commitment for a $16 million loan guarantee from the 2009-Recovery Act to support the expansion of its assembly plant in Pocatello, Idaho. However, that loan did not materialize, but according to Idaho state records, sometime before June 2010, they did receive $3 million from DOE / Treasury, Clean Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (48C) –– only to go bust in October 2012.
Last September, I highlighted four Obama cronies that made a special DNC Cameo, which included Jim Rogers, Chairman of Duke Energy, the 2012 DNC host as well as an Obama donor. Duke was the recipient of a $22 million DOE grant from the 2009-Recovery Act “to design, build and install large-scale batteries to store wind energy at one of its wind farms in Texas.” Then June 8, 2010, Notrees Windpower LP received a 1603 grant worth over $90 million for “wind in Texas” [docket #7812 –– $90,354,625]. And after a quick glance, we find more 1603 grants for Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, totaling over $60 million for "hydropower" and "solar electricity."
Another interesting twist that I have yet to expose is UniStar/Constellation –– a DOE loan candidate seeking $7.5 billion of American taxpayer money for its proposed Calvert Cliffs 3 facility in Southern Maryland, whereas in the October 2012 House Oversight leaked emails I found more evidence of a “fast track process imposed at the POTUS level,” and implemented by DOE Officials. These correspondences reveal a series of other questionable practices, including coercion, cronyism and, cover-up –– a story we broke last November. In the case of UniStar, it implicates Secretary Chu and his over-commitment to Steny Hoyer when he was the House Majority Leader in 2010. A green deal that was already approved by the Obama administrant; however, it apparently blew up in October 2010.
UniStar Nuclear Energy’s parent company is EDF Group, whose partner is AREVA and others, as well as the fact that they are in cahoots on a variety of fronts. But what’s critical to point out is that billions of stimulus funds went to foreign firms from the DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program as well as the 1603. I had written about the French nuclear giant AREVA, and its $2 billion "POTUS approved" 1703 loan, which they closed in May 21, 2010, for their Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility planned for development near Idaho Falls. I shared AREVA’s connection to Kleiner Perkins via Ausra, which was resurrected as Areva Solar Inc. in July 2010. Yet on February 26, 2010, just weeks after AREVA acquired Ausra, they were awarded over $13 million from the 1603 grant program for "solar electricity" in California [docket #486 –– 13,931,962]. Now we see that EDF Group was in the top eight 1603 foreign winners, the recipient of two wind grants, totaling over $200 million of American taxpayer cash.
There’s also the Big Wind winner close to the Obama administration found in Peter Schweizer’s Throw Them All Out book –– Michael Polsky of the Chicago-based company Invenergy, LLC that snagged quite a few 1603 grants, and two were for wind projects.
September 22, 2010, Beech Ridge Energy LLC received 1603 grant worth over $68 million for “wind in West Virginia” [docket #8073–– $68,609,459].
June 2, 2010, Vantage Wind Energy LLC received 1603 grant worth over $60 million for wind in Washington [docket #8068 –– $60,682,795].
There’s a massive wind project in California that is "on its way to being the largest wind energy farm in the nation," yet not without the help of the government, more specifically the PTC. Alta Wind Energy Center, which of course utilizes GE turbines, in just over a year time period (July 2011 to August 2012) –– scored 21 of the 1603 grants with a grand total close to $500 million of Obama green spending cash [dockets #1361 to #1381].
Who needs a government loan then with all the free Obama cash?
July 28, 2011 –– $29,974,983
July 28, 2011 –– $29,974,983
July 28, 2011 –– $29,974,983
July 28, 2011 –– $29,974,983
September 8, 2011–– $22,791,621
September 8, 2011 –– $22,791,621
September 8, 2011 –– $18,233,297
September 8, 2011 –– $13,674,973
September 8, 2011 –– $13,674,973
September 8, 2011 –– $23,093,966
September 8, 2011 –– $23,093,966
September 8, 2011 –– $23,093,966
October 24, 2011 –– $15,482,478
October 24, 2011 –– $15,482,478
October 24, 2011 –– $15,482,478
October 24, 2011 –– $15,482,478
October 24, 2011 –– $25,649,674
October 24, 2011 –– $25,649,674
October 24, 2011 –– $25,649,674
October 24, 2011 –– $25,649,674
August 17, 2012 –– $84,117,894
Moreover, the Big Wind 2010 “construction financiers” in the Alta Wind project (done in phases) are Citi, Barclays Capital and Credit Suisse. While there are more green players like Google and Warrant Buffet, amongst others (Google mentioned in my last post and Buffet is also part of the "$3 Billion First Solar Swindle" as well as NRG Energy and George Soros), the one relevant in this green corruption series is Citibank, the consumer banking arm of the financial services giant Citigroup. I gave a headshot of "The Green Five" in my opening of “Spreading the Wealth to Obama’s Ultra-Rich Jobs Council,” including another jobs panel member, Richard Dean "Dick" Parsons, former Chairman of the Board of Citigroup, Inc. from 2009 until he announced stepping down in March 2012.
We’ll get to Mr. Parsons in Part Four, but for now we can confirm the third jobs council member, Mr. Hay as a winner of many of these federal grants. November 20, 2009 is when nearly $100 million was "awarded to NextEra Energy Resources to expand the Northern Colorado Wind Energy farm in Peetz, Colorado." This was “funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in lieu of a production tax credit,” and the turbine manufacturer is a German company [docket #1825 for Northern Colorado Wind Energy, LLC –– $99,900,326]. Also, July 26, 2012 NextEra Energy Montezuma II Wind, LLC snagged $50 million 1603 grant for "wind in California"[docket #1399 –– 50,101,558].
NextEra: A Gust of other Stimulus Grants
In 2009, the DOE started dishing out $3.5 billion from the "Smart Grid Investment Grant Program" –– awarded to select utility companies for particular smart-grid projects, as part of the 2009-Recovery Act. After a recent analysis of the Kleiner Perkins portfolio and recheck of Silver Spring Networks, one of their shining green investments, I found that of their 26 customers, half are foreign, while the other half are American. And, all but one of the thirteen U.S. utility companies scored large smart grid grants, which means Silver Spring is tied to at least $1.3 billion of these government handouts (full story can be found in Part Two of this series).
In April 2009, Florida Power and Light, Silver Spring, General Electric, and a few others joined forces on a smart grid project in Miami dubbed at that time as "Energy Smart Miami," of which they were seeking stimulus funds to power it up. And on October 2009, FPL, one of those lucky Silver customers, was awarded the maximum grant amount of $200 million for Energy Smart Florida, which means they got the money. However, FPL also snagged their fair share of millions in 1603 grants as well.
June 2, 2010, Florida Power and Light received a 1603 grant worth over $62 million for “solar electricity in Florida” [docket #2082 –– $62,371,777].
January 28, 2011, Florida Power and Light received another 1603 grant worth over $123 million for “solar thermal in Florida” [docket #2270 –– $123,767,270].
According to a 2010 analysis by Edgar A. Gunther, FPL had already been on its way as the number one winner of the 1603 Treasury cash grants, recording two I missed: $43.9 million for the DeSoto solar plant in January 2010, which President Obama personally visited, and in June 2010, $18.4 million for the Space Coast solar plant. Ironically, SunPower Corporation is part of both these projects –– a company were we find a large $1.2 billion DOE, which is "Twice As Bad As Solyndra," and tied to the number ONE recipient of the 1705 loans, NRG Energy Inc. Thus it has double the amount of cronyism and corruption –– meaningful political connections to President Obama and other high-ranking Democrats –– and warrants a future bombshell "green corruption" post.
NextEra: Third Largest Power Company in the World is the Third Largest Recipient of Risky Loans
Mr. Hay and NextEra was part of our Special Seven series –– those that are not only part of the DOE's risky investments (some also scored millions, if not billions, from the 1603 Grant Program) –– which also received fast-tracked approval by the Department of the Interior to lease federal lands in a no-bid process. We showed how NextEra Energy generated the "Third Largest Recipient of DOE Risky Loans,” detailing the huge large projects they are involved with.
Genesis Solar Project –– $852 million DOE loan
In August 2011, NextEra Energy Resources received a partial loan guarantee of $852 million from the DOE for its Genesis Solar project in Blythe, California. This was one of the few 1705 loans that were not considered junk rated, as S&P placed it at a “lower medium grade.” And it was estimated to create approximately 800 construction jobs and 47 operating jobs.
Desert Sunlight –– $1.46 billion DOE loan
In September 2011, the DOE approved a $1.46 billion partial loan guarantee for the junk-rated Desert Sunlight project in California, estimated to create 550 construction jobs and 15 permanent.
A day after the loan was approved, First Solar, the project developer/owner sold Desert Sunlight “to affiliates of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the competitive energy subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), and GE Energy Financial Services.” It was also announced, "First Solar will continue to build and subsequently operate and maintain the project under separate agreements.” NOTE: This project was part of “$3 Billion First Solar Swindle" –– my research from last summer.
Apparently, these two green-energy deals cost taxpayers approximately $2 billion of Recovery Act funds–– meant to stimulate the economy and create jobs –– yet we only got 1412 jobs out of the deal, of which 62 are permanent.
Well at least First Solar kept their job, and Mr. Hay too.
A Twister of Sweetheart Deals Found in the Department of Energy’s Four Risky Wind Projects
In April 2012, I had released my findings, “Department of Energy Junk Loans and Cronyism” whereas, since 2009, DOE has guaranteed $34.7 billion of taxpayer money. While, I covered the 1703 briefly, and the ATVM extensively, the 1705 loan guaranteed program –– created under the 2009-Recovery Act –– has steered $16 billion to 26 projects, of which 22 were rated as "junk bond" status. We can confirm that over 90 percent are politically connected to the president and other high-ranking Democrats –– some both.
Within the pages of the House Oversight March 20, 2012 scathing report are disturbing charges –– backed up with corroboration –– that range from poor to disastrous management, to bias and favoritism, as well as wasteful spending, and in some cases a series of DOE violations. To ad insult to taxpayer injury, the DOE touted “misleading job creation statistics."
If you've been following our work, you may have caught our report on the so called "green jobs," coupled with hype –– Obama's Green Jobs Promise: 355 Jobs and Counting, where in 2008, Candidate Obama promised to create 5 million new energy jobs over the next decade, as he was pledging to jumpstart the economy with an influx of green jobs.
However, not only has Obama's Labor Department been using deceptive methods on the green jobs calculations, we find that regardless of Obama's 2008 campaign promise where he stated, these are “jobs that can't be outsourced,” plenty of green jobs, and now we can confirm billion of stimulus funds, are going abroad, while fueling corporate welfare here in the United States.
Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center, in June 2012, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform with a subsequent shocking written assessment, “under the 1705 program most of the money has gone to large and established companies rather than startups.” Ms. Rugy goes on to state, “there seems to be an even more troubling trend of 'double dipping' by large companies that received loan guarantees from the DOE program.” This double dipping includes another "massive taxpayer-backed fund for corporate welfare" –– the U.S. Export-Import Bank as well as the 1603 grant program, and this too was reflected as a huge issue in the March 20, 2012 House Oversight investigation.
Besides the wind grants and PTC incentives, there were four 1705 DOE loans that went to wind projects –– all were low- to non-investment grade, and of course they too come with influential political ties.
#1) Caithness Shepherds Flat received a partial guarantee of $1.3 billion in Oct 2010 for Gilliam and Morrow Counties, OR.
GE sponsored the Caithness Shepherds Flat, and also supplied the project with 338 wind-turbines. On top of the $1.3 billion loan, the Caithness project is set to receive a cash grant of $490 million from the Treasury Department once those turbines start turning. The details of this transaction can be found in my July 2012 piece, “General Electric Making Bank off Obama's Green Stimulus Money; Over $3 Billion and Counting” as well as the National Review Online, “America’s Worst Wind-Energy Project.”
#2) Granite Reliable received a partial guarantee of $168.9 million in September 2011 for a wind project in Coos, NH, and on May 23, 2012 received over a $56 million 1603 grant for "wind in New Hampshire" [docket #4217 –– $56,201,202].
According to Peter Schweizer, 2011 Throw Them All Out, “White House involvement is particularly interesting because several loans appear to have gone to companies with direct connections to senior White House staff.” While Schweizer goes on with an accurate claim that Granite Reliable Wind “is largely owned and managed by CCMP Capital, which is where White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle had been managing director before joining the Obama administration [and soon may be leaving her White House post],” there’s more…
According the March 20, 2012 House Oversight report, “Nancy Ann DeParle, the current Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy in the White House, had a financial stake in the success of Granite Reliable…
Prior to joining the White House, DeParle was a Managing Director of multi-billion dollar private equity firm CCMP and she both had a financial interest in and sat on the Board of Directors for Noble Environmental Power, LLC. Noble owned Granite Reliable, a wind energy project. Prior to her departure, her position on Noble’s board of Directors positioned her to understand the most confidential and material aspects of Noble Environmental and its subsidiary Granite Reliable. DeParle misrepresented her relationship with Noble Energy, claiming on disclosure forms that her interest had been divested, when in fact it had merely been transferred to her 10-year old son.
During her time at the White House, Granite Reliable sought and, in September 2011, obtained a partial guarantee of a $168.9 million loan. Granite Reliable’s application for a DOE loan guarantee was made at least by early 2010, and probably earlier than that, according to signed documents relating to the loan application. Noble sold Granite Reliable in December 2010 to Brookfield Asset Management, just 6 months prior to the conditional approval of the DOE loan guarantee and deep into the application process. The DOE loan guarantee was conditionally approved on June 2011 and finalized in September 2011. DeParle’s ownership stake in Noble, which owned Granite Reliable, a beneficiary of a DOE loan, represents a clear conflict of interest.
Until 2011, Granite Reliable was owned and controlled by Noble Environmental Power, Inc. Noble sold that 75% interest to BAIF Granite Holdings, Inc., just prior to the project’s loan approval in September 2011. BAIF Granite Holdings (BAIF) was created by Brookfield Renewable Power, a subsidiary of the $3.2 billion company Brookfield Asset Management (BAM). Brookfield Renewable Power financed the creation of BAIF from its Brookfield Americas Infrastructure Fund, which reportedly has assets totaling $2.7 billion. The remaining minority interest is owned by Freshet Wind Energy, LLC, which partnered with BAIF on the project. Given the solid financial background from which Granite Reliable was formed, it is unclear why DOE determined that the company needed a $168.9 million loan guarantee.
One reason DOE determined a loan guarantee may have been necessary may lie in the inner workings of the BAM family of companies and the companies’ strong Democratic ties. BAM owns BAIF, which owns Granite Reliable, as well as Brookfield Office Properties (BOP). BOP’s Board of Directors is chaired by John Zuccotti, the man for whom New York City’s Zuccotti Park is named, and includes Diana Taylor, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s long-time girlfriend. George Soros and Martin J. Whitman, both prominent Democratic donors, are both heavily invested in Brookfield. Moreover, Heather Podesta, sister-in-law of Obama’s influential White House transition director John Podesta, and the Podesta Group served as the lobbyists for BAIF.
#3) Kahuku Wind Power, LLC, a project of First Wind in Kahuku Oahu, HI, was granted a $117 million loan in July 2010, estimated to create a whopping 200 jobs. And then on February 3, 2012 this same project received a 1603 grant for over $35 million [docket #2594 –- $35,148,839].
Sadly, in August 2012 a fire that destroyed First Wind’s battery storage facility and sent toxic fumes into the air, left ratepayers in the dark over costs and safety. We should keep an eye on that one, however, there is more corruption to expose...
The First Wind plan was to secure taxpayer money and then go public. Now they achieved their first objective from the Bank of Obama –– since he took office (and as of 7/18/12), First Wind's projects have received over $452 million in grants through the Stimulus' 1603 Program.
First Wind's Stetson Wind Farm in Maine –– $40,441,471
Cohocton Wind Farm in New York, $52,352,334
Dutch Hill Wind Farm In New York, $22,296,494
Milford Wind Corridor Phase I In Utah; $120,147,809
Milford Wind Corridor Phase II In Utah, $80,436,803
Rollins Wind Farm In Maine; $53,246,347
Sheffield Wind Farm In Vermont, $35,914,864
Kahuku Wind Farm In Hawaii, $35,148,839
Steel Winds II Wind Farm In New York, $12,778,75
However, in November 2010, Bloomberg announced, “First Wind Holdings Inc., the operator of wind-energy projects backed by D.E. Shaw & Co. and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, said it withdrew its initial public offering because of unfavorable market conditions” that’s code for “weak demand.”
Speaking of IPO's...
Within the House Oversight leaked emails that were unleashed late October 2012, you'll discover that these correspondences basically prove that the White House, Secretary Chu, and certain DOE Officials lied about how they handled the green energy loans on various fronts –– a story I have emphasized in many of my recent green corruption posts.
In the 350+ page Appendix II, I discovered a series of intriguing emails dated in May 2010, where the DOE staff was discussing the Kahuku loan, just months prior to the final approval in July 2010. It seems that on May 12, 2012, LPO Credit Advisor James McCrea was concerned about the Loan Guarantee Program Office's "credit policies and procedures" –– so much so that he intensely clarified the importance of order, "...everyone needs to understand is all that has to go in order to put the transaction into the Federal accounting system which requires collaborating among OMB, Treasury, and parts of DOE with which you do not normally interact. To be clear, one of the reasons this is so carefully handled is that there are several penalties for a violation of the Ant-deficiency Act including jail time..." Later McCrea writes, "I know the processing is frustrating for First Wind. The deal will close when it is time."
Five days later, McCrea writes, "To fill Brian in, we have a pretty good mess on First Wind and it is looking like it is going to get a lot worse and quickly at that. Someone is pressing Jonathan [Jonathan Silver is the former Executive Director of the Loan Program Office] who is now pressing hard on the everyone as the sponsor has an IPO in the works. I have told Jonathan that the deal has huge issues and the sponsor's overriding is not helping at all and that further, the sponsor's pending IPO is irrelevant."
While there's no mention of where that pressure came from, the first-rate, high-powered political ties to First Wind are vast, starting with D.E. Shaw & Co, a New York-based investment firm –– "a $39 Billion Hedge Fund Giant" (also a First Solar investor), which so happens to be one of the three top contributors to Democrats –– is a backer of First Wind Holdings Inc. The founder David Shaw, is a two-time Obama bundler, who employed Larry Summers, and before heading to the Obama White House, as the top economic advisor, "Lawrence Summers received about $5.2 million over the past year in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw,” as revealed by the Wall Street Journal, noting his "frequent appearances before Wall Street firms including J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers." Towards the end of 2011, Summers left the Obama administration and rejoined the firm as a consultant.
As revealed by Peter Schweizer, “another 42 percent of First Wind is owned by Madison Dearborn Partners, an investment firm with close ties [and friend of] to then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanual. The founder of the firm, David Canning, had been a bundler for George W. Bush. But he switched sides in 2008 and gave heavily to Obama. Madison Dearborn gave more to Emanual’s congressional campaigns than did any other business.”
While the GOP found that "Julia Bovey, First Wind's Director of External Affairs, was formerly Director of External Affairs for Obama's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (June 2009 to June 2010)," there is much bigger fish here. All government backed green comes with a slew of lobbyists, and First Wind is no different –– enter in Larry Rasky's Lobbying Firm with ties to the top.
Larry Rasky, "a longtime confidant and campaign strategist" of Vice President Joe Biden, was also a 2012 Obama bundler, and since Obama took office, "Rasky has visited the White House at least 21 Times," half of which were during the course of the DOE loan review process (Data.gov, Accessed 7/18/12). Moreover, we know that in 2009, about the time the 2009-Recovery Act passed, First Wind retained lobbyists Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications as well as Brownstein, Hyatt et al, who is primarily a Democrat donor, with some Republicans in the mix –– and as of 2012, maintains the work of Rasky.
#4) Record Hill Wind received a $102 million loan, announced in March 2011, and it was finalized in August 2011 for a wind project in Roxbury, ME, and on June 8, 2012 they scored a 1603 grant for over $33 million for “wind in Maine” [docket #3044 –– 33,736,709].
According the March 2012 House Oversight report, the “DOE relied on the First Solar precedent [see my "$3 Billion First Solar Swindle" story] to approve Record Hill Wind’s $102 million loan guarantee project as 'innovative,' despite the project using commercial technology. DOE knew that the Record Hill project did not use significantly innovative technology. The Standard & Poor’s credit rating for the project that DOE received clearly indicates the commercial (and non-innovative) nature of the project…”
As exposed by Schweizer once again, “former Governor of Maine headed up Record Hill, along with his partner Robert Gardiner, the former head of the Maine Public Broadcasting System. Neither had background in energy. King, however, endorsed Obama in 2008 and campaigned for him.”
Record Hill Wind "began in 2007 as a partnership between Independence Wind and Wagner Forest Management," of which Independence Wind is where we find founders Mr. King and Mr. Gardiner. And while Record Hill reports that in March 2012 (just a day before the House Oversight released their investigative findings, sited above), “King left Independence Wind and has fully divested his stake in the company.” However, that was prior to Brietbart.com busting the Record Hill bailout initiated by King, adding him “to the long list of Obama administration cronies who have personally made money off the $800 billion Obama Stimulus program.” It turns out that “King's personal bailout came in the form of a $407,000 'success fee' he received in 2011 from a wind energy project that remains in business today only because it received a $102 million federal loan King played a major role in securing.”
King, an Independent, now Senator Angus King (who caucuses with Democrats but does not identify as one), has recently become a proponent of “American banking financial reform” –– “the fight to rein in the financial establishment,” yet doesn’t mind the out-of-control spending from the Bank of Obama that King personally and financially benefited from.
No matter how you slice it, whether we are sending money abroad or fueling corporate welfare here in the United States as well as the egregious practice of crony capitalism, the 2009-Recovery act is a lie, a travesty and a scam, favoring wealthy financial backers of President Obama and the Democratic Party as well as those with influential political connections to both. And with a president that's dead set on pushing a fierce and radical climate change agenda and funding green energy with taxpayer money, no matter the long list of failures, there is no end in sight to this green corruption scandal.
Besides NextEra Energy taking full advantage of the federal production tax credit (PTC), we now can confirm that the Bank of Obama has rewarded this conglomerate of a power company, and his millionaire job council buddy Lewis Hay, with two large DOE loans ($2.3 billion); one large stimulus smart-grid grant ($200 million); and six 1603 stimulus grants totaling $398.5 million. Thus NextEra's green tab is on its way to $3 billion of taxpayer money, and that's not factoring in the PTC.
This was Part Three, The Green Five: Spreading the Wealth to Obama’s Ultra-Rich Jobs Council Members –– stay tuned for the final installment where we take a look at Billionaire Penny Pritzker and Richard Dean "Dick" Parsons, Former Chairman of the Board of Citigroup, Inc –– both part of Obama’s Multi-millionaire, Billionaire Jobs Council Club.
Signing off as THE Green Corruption blogger,
One Woman, One Mission, One Green Corruption Piece of the Scandal at a time...
Due to lack of donations and funding, this may be my last post even though I'm just getting warmed up –– I have at least 6 months more stories to tell...