Mitt Romney Aims to Axe Green Energy Loans to Private Businesses
June 6, 2012 3:15 PM
(Source: ABC News)
Romney criticizes Solyndra failure while a Romney-backed solar company files for bankruptcy
Former Massachusetts Governor and U.S. Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has attacked the Obama administration's green energy loans once again, saying that he wants to put a stop to providing loans and guarantees to private businesses in the name of clean energy.
"The government is now picking winners and losers -- or in the case of this president -- it's picking losers and the private sector does a much better job," said Romney. "I would cease and desist sending out money. The idea of individual investments being made and guarantees being made to specific companies I think is a less effective course than the government investing in basic science and technology -- and then letting private enterprise exploit the innovations."
Romney's comments came after visiting Solyndra, a California-based solar panel company that went bankrupt in 2011 after receiving loans from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
In September 2011, Solyndra filed for bankruptcy after receiving
a $535 million loan
from the DOE in 2009. Government officials reportedly warned the administration of the viability of Solyndra, saying the company would go bankrupt in a matter of two years. The warnings were put aside in order to meet political deadlines.
Later in November 2011, Beacon Power, a company that creates flywheels to store power and increase grid efficiency by preventing blackouts, filed for bankruptcy after receiving
a $43 million loan guarantee
from the Department of Energy in August 2010.
But the failed energy loans didn't end there. Battery maker
EnerDel's Ener1 subsidiary
filed for bankruptcy in January 2012 after winning an $118.5 million grant from the DOE in August 2009. Ener1 was supposed to develop batteries for electric vehicles.
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney gives a speech in front of the offices of failed solar company Solyndra. [Image source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
Automakers have caught some heat for green energy loans as well. Tesla Motors, known for its all-electric Roadster, received $465 million in loans from the DOE. In October 2011, it was discovered that Tesla
lost money on every Roadster sold
. However, that same month, it was announced that Tesla's 2012 production of the new Model S had sold out and that the company would
earn a profit in 2013
Other automakers haven't been so lucky.
, which received $529 million in loans from the DOE, may have to build its Atlantic Hybrid outside of the U.S. because the government froze nearly $340 million of its loan last year after the Karma plug-in hybrid was late to meet certain milestones. Fisker has since worked to find other avenues for money with no luck. However, the good news is that Fisker's Karma generated revenue of over $100 million for just 1,000 Karmas sold in the first four months of 2012.
This isn't Romney's first
attack on the Obama administration's energy loan choices
. Last October, Romney blasted loans given to Solyndra, Fisker, and Tesla. He even accused the government of playing venture capitalist.
"Alas, like Solyndra, these loans are turning out to be historic opportunities to line the pockets of major campaign fundraisers," said Romney back in October.
Interestingly, a solar company that Romney backed as Governor of Massachusetts
filed for bankruptcy
just days after he made his comments regarding Solyndra. As governor, Romney granted Konarka Technologies, Inc. a $1.5 million state-backed loan and announced the formation of $15 million in funds for renewable energy in the state.
The Detroit News
Konarka Technologies, Inc.
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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