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Beacon Power received a nearly $43 million loan guarantee from the government in August 2010

The Solyndra failure has put alternative energy loans in a negative light as of late, and now the financial failure of yet another renewable energy company is here to add insult to injury. Beacon Power has claimed bankruptcy after receiving government loans as well.

Beacon Power, which creates flywheels to store power and increase grid efficiency by preventing blackouts, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday. The company received a nearly $43 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in August 2010.

More specifically, Beacon Power owes the Department of Energy $39.1 million and the state of Massachusetts $3.45 million. It received these loans because its technology was seen as aiding grid reliability.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who is leading the recent Solyndra investigation, was quick to attack the Department of Energy with its decision to give not just one bad alternative energy loan, but now two.

"This latest failure is a sharp reminder that DOE has fallen well short of delivering the stimulus jobs that were promised," said Stearns. "Now taxpayers find themselves millions of more dollars in the hole."

The Department of Energy defended its position with Beacon Power, saying that unlike Solyndra, Beacon Power has an operational facility in Stephentown, New York. Solyndra may have closed down completely the day it claimed bankruptcy, but Beacon Power has long term contracts with the Stephentown facility as well as cash reserves, which can be used to pay the government back.

"Protecting taxpayer dollars remains the top priority for Secretary [Stephen] Chu and the Department, which is why we were careful to include many protections for the taxpayer in the loan guarantee for the Stephentown project," said Damien LaVere, DOE spokesman.

While analysts such as Walter Nasde of Ardour Capital believe Beacon Power's technology was a good idea, CNN reports that the company couldn't survive due to the low rates that the government put in place for utilities. In other words, Beacon Power couldn't charge utilities any more than the rates the government set, and it wasn't enough to keep Beacon Power alive.

The low price of natural gas for generating additional power, its failure to attract investors, and an issue with one of its flywheels in July were also listed as nails in Beacon Power's coffin. In addition, Beacon Power's shares, which were down to $3.44 at the end of February and were recently at below $1 a share, led to a notification from NASDAQ that Beacon would be delisted. The company's shares traded for as much as $47.40 in 2005, but closed Monday at 10.7 cents a share, which gives Beacon Power a market value of $3 million.

"The current economic and political climate, the financing terms mandated by DOE, and Beacon's recent delisting notice from NASDAQ have together severely restricted Beacon's access to additional investments through the equity markets," said Beacon Power CEO William Capp.

Beacon Power's revenues from the Stephentown plant were $525,000 in Q2 2011.

Back in September, Capp described the government's role in supporting the construction of the Stephentown plant, and how it would have been impossible without the loan.

"We absolutely couldn't have done it without support from the government, because no one was willing to do it," said Capp. "The projects are so huge, that's the problem. If you demonstrate an energy technology on a grid scale, that's $100 million."

The Beacon Power bankruptcy echoes Solyndra's recent failure, which is a solar panel manufacturer that received $535 million in loan guarantees back in 2009. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy two months ago, and there is an investigation looking into whether DOE properly assessed the risks before giving the loan and whether the Obama administration was pushing the loan despite risks in order to meet political deadlines.

Sources: CNN, Washington Post,

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RE: I'd like some cash too!
By FITCamaro on 11/1/2011 2:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying people don't have the right to protest.

I'm saying they have no point and are nothing but the useful idiots that Marx talks about.

And I was at several Tea Party protests. We were peaceful, we had a point, we delivered the message we wanted to, we cleaned up when we left, and we went back to work. No one got arrested. No one assaulted cops. No one trashed the area they were in.

Hell I was at the 9/12 rally in 2009 and with a few hundred thousand people there, the place was left clean when we left.

RE: I'd like some cash too!
By YashBudini on 11/1/2011 9:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
the place was left clean when we left

The same condition Wall St left many bank and retirement accounts.

Hardly worth overlooking or down playing.

RE: I'd like some cash too!
By YashBudini on 11/1/2011 9:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying people don't have the right to protest.

No you said this:

Everytime there's a protest of any sort, the protesters are automatically deemed a bunch of weirdo, hippy, college students.

Exactly like Spuke stated. Not exactly big on ownership, are we?

Mocking ethical behavior and standards doesn't come as any surprise from a country where a lot of people look up to fake characters like Al Pacino's Scarface and The Soprano's. Apparently real success to many means screwing over anybody and everybody. Ethics are for sissies. Only fools play by the rules. You said it yourself, in school you were taught to win, I recall you never mentioned at what cost.

RE: I'd like some cash too!
By FITCamaro on 11/2/2011 11:27:32 AM , Rating: 1
Where did I say the second thing? That's a quote from Spuke's post. Are you implying that's what I meant? Or that I said that some time long ago?

But many of them are hippy college students who are brainwashed by their professors into believing in crap like Marx. Others are true Marxists and Socialists.

Also where do I say that all people on Wall Street have acted ethically? No where. I fully agree with the statement that some of those on Wall Street got greedy. But a bunch of Marxist/Socialist bums sitting on Wall Street from months doing drugs and yelling isn't going to change that. Electing politicians who don't encourage them to make bad decisions in order to gain support among certain ethnic groups can.

And yes I was taught to win. As everyone should be. But you know what you're also taught (or should be)? Fair play.

RE: I'd like some cash too!
By YashBudini on 11/2/2011 2:33:25 PM , Rating: 3
But many of them are hippy college students who are brainwashed by their professors into believing in crap like Marx. Others are true Marxists and Socialists.

I've seen right and left wing extremists in schools. Both are whack jobs. To say or imply otherwise is the real brainwashing. Right wing extremists today essentially behave such that if you're not a total misanthrope you're a socialist. And another common phenomenon of the faux crowd is that the opposition can be 100% wrong, totally discredited. There's never been a human argument where that's true, but apparently it's true in US politics today. Must be that fair and balanced stuff we hear about.

I fully agree with the statement that some of those on Wall Street got greedy.

Lack of full disclose is beyond greed. They broke the law. The SEC slapped them on the wrist while giving them a hummer. If you really believe in fair play you'd address this accordingly, which is what those slobs of protesters are trying to do.

And those in charge that have robbed businesses blind or made a mess on Wall St, they come from non-Marxist business schools, or didn't you notice? Oh I keep forgetting the extremist pendulum only swings 1 way, yeah right.

You may want to address fair play with your congressman. They are exempt from insider trading laws regardless what party they are in.

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