Corruption In The Department
Of Energy
Green Subsidies under Obama. The Washington Post found that
“Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at
every level.” The $535 million loan guarantee for the failed
Solyndra is a prime example. The Department of Energy
approved the loan after pressure from the White House. A main
Solyndra investor was a billionaire Obama fundraiser. The New
York Times found that Solyndra “spent nearly $1.8 million on
Washington lobbyists, employing six firms with ties to members
of Congress and officials of the Obama White House.”
Crony Capitalism has existed for a long time. So energy companies
have been able to get government officials to pass legislation that
helps them make more money. So they get tax breaks, loopholes,
subsidies while the rest of the economy suffers and they make huge
profits (and in some cases, record breaking profits).
Clearly the Department of Energy has failed at it's job.
Green Energy Corporations Rolling in the Green, Thanks to
Friends in High Places
This a portion of a much longer article entitled “Podesta Power and Center for American Progress: The
dark, driving force behind the president’s massive green energy scheme“, published on March 3, 2014
Center for American Progress Finally Reveals its Corporate Donors:
At least 17 raking in tens of billions of tax dollars from the Green Bank of Obama
While the left-wing think tank is a well-known favorite of billionaire George Soros, as well as other
left-leaning ultra-rich donors, “the center does not disclose who finances its activities, a policy it is
declining to change even as Mr. Podesta prepares to wield influence over the shape of the Obama
administration,” wrote the New York Times in 2008.
However, “after heavy pressure arising from CAP’s quasi-lobbying history. That scrutiny ratcheted up
following the announcement that CAP founder John Podesta would be formally joining the Obama
administration. Both Politico and the New York Times called for the donor list to meet the public eye,”
reported Breitbart News.
So, on December 13, 2013, CAP “revealed that it’s funded by some of the country’s largest and most
powerful corporations, trade associations and lobbying firms,” announced POLITICO. The donor
disclosure excluded individuals and foundations, only giving insight into their corporate influence,
leaving more darkness in its wake. Moreover, it was reported that each of those listed (58 donors) has
given the group more than $10,000 in 2013, yet the exact amount was not disclosed.
CAP’s 2013 donor list “contains a myriad of massive corporations, including Apple Inc., AT&T, Bank
of America, BMW of North America, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Discovery, GE, Facebook, Google,
Goldman Sachs, PepsiCo, PG&E, the Motion Picture Association of America, Samsung, Time Warner
Inc., T-Mobile, Toyota, Visa, Walmart and Wells Fargo” –– many of which are part of this massive
green energy scheme.
Still, The Nation, in their May 2013 piece “The Secret Donors Behind the Center for American
Progress and Other Think Tanks, released a list of CAP’s 2012 corporate donors –– labeled “American
Progress Business Alliance Members,” which are charged fees:
A confidential CAP donor pitch I obtained describes the Business Alliance as “a channel for
engagement with the corporate community” that provides “the opportunity to…collaborate
on common interests.” It offers three membership levels, with the perks to top donors
($100,000 and up) including private meetings with CAP experts and executives, round-
table discussions with “Hill and national leaders,” and briefings on CAP reports “relevant
to your unique interests.”
The Nation also divulged that CAP doesn’t publicly disclose the members of its Business Alliance, but
they “obtained multiple internal lists from 2011 showing that dozens of major corporations had joined.”
What’s relevant here is that in 2011 the lists compiled by The Nation of CAP’s donors included
Comcast, Walmart, General Motors, Pacific Gas and Electric, General Electric, Boeing and Lockheed
–– with three confirmed winners of green energy funds.
So basically the donor list and the membership list are one and the same. And, what’s even more
interesting is how The Nation chronicles CAP’s assets:
“After growing rapidly in its first few years, tax records show, CAP’s total assets fell in
2006 for the first time, from $23.6 million to $20.4 million. Assets started growing again
in 2007 when CAP founded the Business Alliance, a membership rewards program for
corporate contributors, and then exploded when Obama was elected in 2008.”
We know that CAP founded its Business Alliance (corporate donors) in 2007, but since we only have a
hint of 2011, combined with lists for 2012 and 2013, the mystery remains. Missing are the corporate
donors CAP enlisted from 2007 until 2011. When did these now public donors join CAP, and what was
dollar amount of money that was given?
While I am about to dissect the corporations from these lists (2011 to 2013) that received green energy
taxpayer money (loans, grants and special tax breaks), in full disclosure, the majority of the stimulus
and non-stimulus clean-energy funds ($150 billion through 2014) were doled out between 2009 and
2011. However, as I reported in the beginning of this post, “green” funds continue to flow, and the
Obama administration wants billions more of taxpayer money to save the planet.
I hate to be redundant, but as you’ll see, CAP’s corporate donors are connected to many of the same
projects and firms that we have documented in previous Green Corruption Files. This is due to the fact
that meaningful political ties –– Obama’s bundlers (both in 2008 and in 2012), top donors, financiers,
and green cronies –– have surrounded the green energy money from the onset. However, considering
that CAP players operated inside the Obama White House as well as the Energy Department –– prior,
during and after the money was doled out –– this adds another layer of corruption behind the green
energy deals.
At any rate, several of these corporations include Big Banks (even the “too-big-to fail”) that have
benefited immensely from President Obama’s cleantech push. Even though many on Wall Street stood
by the president in 2012, the majority sided with Mitt Romney. But that was after Obama enjoyed his
fair share of Wall Street buddies who helped ensure his victory in 2008, pouring millions of dollars into
his campaign coffers, making their mark as TOP campaign donors (PAC) –– with even Wall Street
executives bundling huge sums of money for then-candidate Obama. Additionally, “the big bundlers
had broad access to the White House for meetings with top administration officials and glitzy social
Inside these CAP corporate donor lists we find a few TARP recipients such as Citigroup, Goldman
Sachs, Bank of America, and Merrill Lynch. What’s more telling is the infiltration of so many
Citigroup and Goldman Sachs executives operating (past and present) inside the Obama administration,
even shaping his economic policy.
CAP’S 2013 DONORS: Green energy money winners
#1) Bank of America (now Bank of America Merrill Lynch –– confirmed donor since 2012):
Both Bank of America and Merrill Lynch (Campaign Committee’s), from 2003 to 2008, supported
Senator Obama. Meanwhile, Bank of America, a heavy hitter donor with major lobbying pull, plays
both sides of the isle. But in 2008, this Big Bank put their money (PAC and individuals) on blue,
including donating to candidate Obama.
In the final days of the DOE loan program (September 2011), the DOE awarded a partial guarantee of
$1.4 billion loan –– another shady stimulus deal (“non-investment grade”) that was “personally
championed” by then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu –– for a project called Project Amp. Prior to the
finalization of this DOE transaction, in June 2011, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Prologis and NRG
Energy joined forces on Project Amp, which was “a four-year, $2.6 billion project to place solar panels
on rooftops in 28 states, one of the most ambitious clean-energy projects in recent years,” reported the
Wall Street Journal.
The Journal goes on, “Bank of America Merrill Lynch unit will provide $1.4 billion in loans for the
project,” of which “the financing is part of Bank of America’s plan to put $20 billion of capital to work
in renewable energy, conservation and other clean technologies that address climate change.”
However, by October 2013, the Energy Department pulled the plug on Project Amp, and according to
POLITICO, Prologis never tapped into the $1.4 billion. Still, along the way, Prologis did secure “a
grant for $68,000 for the purpose of “rent for warehouse space” under the Recovery Act.
While I have yet to do a complete analysis on Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and their renewable
energy portfolio, there are additional firms or projects that this bank has backed that also received
“green” taxpayer funds from the Obama administration.
NextEra Energy Wind Energy Assets
Fist is NextEra, whose CEO Lewis “Lew” Hay, III was member of President Obama’s Jobs Council
(from 2011 until 2013), that was awarded two large DOE stimulus loans, as well as a slew of other
green energy stimulus funds. This is part of the scheme that we’ve been documenting since the summer
of 2012 (“Third Largest Recipient of DOE Risky Loans“), and later in my January 2013 Big Wind
But since Bank of America has invested in the wind side, what’s key here is this: NextEra was the
biggest user of the wind energy production tax credit. In an analysis by John Fund of the National
Review Online, he 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.
Considering that the Podesta Group added SolarCity as a client in 2012, I highlighted the various
political connections to this solar firm earlier, including billionaire players that received taxpayer
money for other green energy deals, such as Elon Musk, Nicholas J. Pritzker, and George Soros.
But what most don’t know is that SolarCity was in line to get a stimulus loan from the DOE for $275
million. However, that deal –– dubbed SolarStrong –– fell apart due to the Solyndra “red flags” just
prior to the loan program’s deadline in September 2011. A month later, SolarCity found a willing
partner in Bank of America, which was followed by this official announcement: “SolarCity and Bank
of America Merrill Lynch today announced that they have agreed to terms on financing for
SolarStrong, SolarCity’s ambitious five-year plan to build more than $1 billion in solar power projects
for privatized U.S. military housing communities across the country.”
It should be noted that without government subsidies, SolarCity wouldn’t be the success it is today:
“SolarCity currently benefits from tax credits totaling as much as 30 percent of the cost of these
systems,” noted Bloomberg. And, as I documented earlier, SolarCity, so far (and since 2009) has been
subsidized with “green” through various stimulus funds, grants and federal tax breaks at the tune of
$514 million.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch and SunPower have worked together since 2009. And this year they
announced a $220 million financing program for residential solar lease projects. In January 2010,
SunPower Corp, the San Jose, Calif.-based designer and manufacturer of solar panels and systems,
received four of the stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits totaling $10.8 million. Then, despite
SunPowers well-known financial issues and the fact that it was under a shareholder suit alleging
securities fraud and misrepresentations, just days (September 2011) before the 1705 Loan Guarantee
Program’s deadline (along with four other solar companies), this “non-investment” grade $1.2 billion
stimulus loan was approved –– to support the construction of the California Valley Solar Ranch
(CVSR) in San Luis Obispo County.
The conditional loan to SunPower was announced on April 12, 2011, and shortly thereafter (April 30,
2011), the French oil conglomerate Total committed to buying a $1.37 billion controlling stake (60%)
in SunPower Corp –– a bailout that was confirmed in June 2011. Now, SunPower never directly got the
cash, because on the final closing of the DOE loan guarantee, they sold the California Valley Solar
Ranch to NRG Energy. However, SunPower continued on as the developer and Bechtel as the primary
contractor building the project.
Also, to date, SunPower Residential, in 2013 and 2014, snagged 34 federal stimulus grants from the
1603 Program for “solar electricity” that ranges across 12 states, totaling over $86 million tax dollars.
Besides Bank of America, both SunPower and NRG Energy have additional meaningful political
connections to President Obama and other high-ranking Democrats, of which we’ve documented a few
times: First in my October 2012 report (troubled green energy projects) and then in my February 2013
analysis on Citigroup, another CAP donor that is up next, which is a huge player inside this “climate”
scam. Lastly, due to the fact that NRG Energy, a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company, of which
they and their subsidiaries, initially, were the recipient of most of 1705 stimulus loans: at least $5.2
billion of taxpayer money (now minus the $1.4 billion for Project Amp). NRG Energy was one of
George Soros’ timely investments that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, yet more Intel can be
found in my March 2013 Green Corruption File.
#2) Citigroup (confirmed donor since 2012):
Since 2007, Citigroup has been heavily involved in “climate change activities.” We also can confirm
that this “too-big-to-fail bank has made a massive footprint inside President’s Obamas clean-energy
dirt –– the candidate that Citigroup helped get elected in 2008 as the number seven top donor (PAC)
with many executives and friends of Obama bundling for both his campaigns. Meanwhile, in 2012, Citi
contributed to both President Obama and Mitt Romney.
By 2011 –– prior to the presidential reelection –– through their “50 Billion Climate Change Investment
Initiative,” Citigroup had “directed $36.35 billion into such initiatives so far…” –– of which they brag:
“In the U.S., Citi has the largest market share (28 percent) of U.S. Department of energy section
1703/1705 Loan Guarantee program financings for alternative energy, and we are the leader in such
bond transactions.”
Considering that in February 2013, I dedicated an entire post to Cit and their Massive ‘Green’ Money
Machine,” which included a careful analysis of their “2012 alternative energy portfolio” that lists about
37 transactions (plus SolarReserve) –– both foreign and here in the United States, here I’ll just give
some highlights.
What I found is that 58 percent (22) of Citi’s clients had received government subsidies, totaling
approximately $16 billion from the taxpayer-funded Green Bank of Obama, the majority from stimulus
package. Furthermore, my research not only “followed the green money,” but profiled the Citi
executives that operate (d) inside the White House, some with key positions, which included President
Obama’s 2013 choice to replace Timothy Geithner for Treasury Secretary with Jack Lew (former Chief
of Staff), Michael Froman, Richard Parsons, Louis Susman, and Michael Eckhart –– to name a few.
Many of the alternative energy projects that Citi was involved are mentioned in today’s study, starting
with the Energy Department’s junk bond portfolio, which were doled out between 2009 and 2011:
BrightSource Energy was awarded $1.6 billion DOE loan for the Ivanpah solar facility in
Brookfield Renewable Power, whereas Granite Reliable received a $168.9 million loan for a
wind project in New Hampshire.
Caithness/General Electric received a $1.3 billion DOE loan for the Shepherds Flat wind project
in Oregon
NextEra Energy /First Solar got a $1.46 billion loan for the Desert Sunlight project in
SolarReserve was awarded $737 million DOE stimulus loan for the Crescent Dunes project in
According to their renewable energy portfolio, Citi, in February 2011, became a major investor in
SolarCity. And, as I documented earlier, SolarCity, so far (and since 2009) has been subsidized with
“green” through various stimulus funds, grants and federal tax breaks at the tune of $514 million.
Citigroup, as of 2010 was listed as SunPowers bookrunner. Then in August 2011 SunPower and Citi
set up a $105 million fund for residential solar leasing projects, which states, “SunPower will use the
fund to extend its SunPower Lease programme to customers in 8 US states, expanding the financing
options available to homeowners interested in SunPower solar energy systems. The SunPower Lease is
now available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and
Pennsylvania. Citi is contributing $80m to the fund.” Again, I covered SunPower under Bank of
America, showing that this solar firm was given plenty of green government subsidies:
In January 2010, SunPower Corp received four of the stimulus-enacted Section 48C Tax Credits
totaling $10.8 million.
In September 2011, SunPower is part of the $1.2 billion stimulus loan to support the
construction of the California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) in San Luis Obispo County.
SunPower Residential, in 2013 and 2014, snagged 34 federal stimulus grants from the 1603
Program for “solar electricity” that ranges across 12 states, totaling over $86 million tax dollars.
#3) Goldman Sachs (possibly a donor since 2012):
Goldman Sachs was a top Obama donor in 2008, but we also know that two Goldman executives sat on
Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee and a slew of partners, executives and board members bundled for,
and donated to Obama’s 2008 campaign. Meanwhile, his administration has been infested with
Goldmanites –– even as early as 2008 when a Goldman board member, James A. Johnson (also an
Obama bundler that I profiled many times due to his former firm Perseus), was chosen as head of
Barack Obama’s vice presidential search team. Known as Jim Johnson and “a fixture of establishment
Washington, with ties to Wall Street and “a major presence in Democratic politics for more than two
decades,” Mr. Johnson resigned his VP vetting role amidst criticism over his part in the Countrywide
Financial scandal as well as controversy surrounding his role as Fannie Mae’s chief executive from
1991 to 1999.
Even though in 2012, Goldman Sachs turned their back on Mr. Obama in 2012, there were many
executives and board members who helped him get reelected.
Like Bank of America, I haven’t had the opportunity to examine Goldman Sachs’ Alternative Energy
Group and its Environmental Markets financing and advisory; however, we do know that Goldman has
been investing in renewable energy since at least 2005.
By 2014, Goldman Sachs “declared that the renewable sector is one of the most compelling” –– even as
they backed “green” in 2012, having committed $40 billion to renewable energy (made and planned
investments). According to Renew Economy, “Stuart Bernstein, who heads the bank’s clean-technology
and renewables investment banking group, told Recharge in a recent interview in a story titled
Goldman goes Green, ”It is at a transformational moment in time.”
As Goldman promotes President Obama’s Climate Action Plan along with other winners of clean-
energy funds, they also brag about their climate change roles: “In 2012, we financed nearly $2 billion
and co-invested more than $430 million in the sector. We also served as financial advisor on clean-
energy transactions valued at more than $1.1 billion.”
Needless to say, since 2010, I’ve been following Goldman and tracking how this Big Bank has been
cashing in on the stimulus funds. As my research developed, I found their DNA all over this green
energy scheme, of which to date we can confirm that Goldman Sachs has a vested interest –– via
various roles, and having entered the scene at different junctures (before, during and after taxpayer
subsidies were awarded), in many projects and firms that received loans, grants and special tax breaks.
So far I’ve tracked at least 14 firms connecting Goldman to over $8.5 billion from the Green Bank of
Obama, the majority from the 2009-Recovery Act.
Keep in mind too, that Goldman is associated (former executives and investments) with the Big VC
firm Kleiner Perkins as well as Generation Investment Management (GIM) –– mentioned a few times
already. As a reminder, Kleiner Perkins is where we find the “climate duo,” whose combined carbon
footprint is larger than my entire city: Billionaires John Doerr and Al Gore (partners at the firm), where
Doerr, “a very big-ticket Obama donor,” in January 2009, persuasions were reflected in the 2009-
Recovery Act via his “meetings with Obama’s transition team and leaders in Congress” as well as the
fact that he made “five recommendations to Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to jumpstart a
green-tech revolution and fight global warming.”
Shortly thereafter (around February 6, 2009) and just days prior to signing the stimulus bill (February
18, 2009), Obama appointed Doerr as a member of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB),
which later morphed into the president’s jobs council –– only to close down in February 2013.
Meanwhile, back in 2004 Gore started GIM with former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management
David Blood, who is another Obama bundler. Apparently, Blood is the “wizard behind” GIM, and
behind this “sustainable firm” are several former Goldman executives and partners –– even as Doerr, in
2007, joined the GIM advisory board.
This and more insight were profiled in my January 8, 2013 file on Doerr and Gore, whose “Greentech
Portfolio” (at least 50%) and GIM’s “Sustainable Investing” secured billions in loans, grants and
special tax breaks –– the two firms combined are tied to at least $10 billion from the taxpayer-funded
Green Bank of Obama, the majority coming from the 2009-Recovery Act, of which Doerr had helped
As far as Goldman: first off they made big money from the sale of Horizon Wind Energy to Portugal’s
EDP for $2.5 billion in 2007, of which ironically, starting in 2009 until the end of 2012, EDP
Renewables North America LLC (formerly Horizon Wind Energy LLC), received over $700 million of
free taxpayer money from the Obama stimulus bill ($722,468,855 in Section 1603 Grants) for eleven
wind projects, placing them at the number two spot of foreign firms that were winners of US grants.
This was a shocking report released in early 2013 by the Energy and Commerce Committee, exposing
the extent to which foreign corporations are benefiting from green energy stimulus funding.
Goldman’s Green Losers, Winners, Biofuels, & Smart Grids
Nevertheless, Goldman is credited as the “exclusive financial adviser” for the now bankrupt Solyndra
($570.4 million loss), and in 2010, handled the IPO of what most deem a government winner, Tesla
Motors that was awarded $465 million from the DOE ATVM program. Also, according to Goldman,
“In May 2013, [they] helped raise over $1 billion in new financing for Tesla Motors.”
There are more bankrupt ones as well: SpectraWatt ($20.5 million), Nordic WindPower ($8.6 million),
and Suntech Power Holdings Co. ($2.1 million) –– all taking millions of taxpayer money down with
them, while Goldman remains unscathed.
Goldman is also active in advanced biofuels and feedstock companies, handling the IPOs of biofuel
companies, of which at least two won money and contracts from the Obama administration: Amyris
($25 million stimulus grant), Kior (seeking $1 billion DOE loan) and Solazyme ($21.7 million DOE
stimulus grant; plus part of the $12 million biofuel contract with the U.S. Navy) –– the latter company
has its very own direct connection to CAP: Jonathan Wolfson, Solazyme co-
founder and Chief Executive Officer, “is an active participant in many advisory groups, including
sitting on the board of the Center for American Progress (CAP) Clean Tech Council.
Meanwhile, Goldman hooked up with another huge winner of stimulus funds: “In March 2013, [they]
served as lead-left bookrunner on the $93 million initial public offering for Silver Spring Networks” ––
a Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Google (all with friends in the White House) green
investment, which in 2009, cashed in big time when the DOE starting handing the smart-grid grants as
part of the 2009-Recovery Act. During the course of my January 2013 analysis on Silver Spring, I
found that 30 percent of the $4.5 billion stimulus smart-grid grants went to their “customers” –– that’s
over $1.3 billion. Then in my May 2013 report, “Smart Gird, Dirty Devices”, I documented additional
ties and an interesting analysis of its IPO: “Silver Spring IPO has more red flags than a Communist
Party military parade,” PrivCo CEO Sam Hamadeh.
Goldman’s Green DOE Stimulus Loans
Considering that First Solar is also a CAP Business Alliance Member (donor), we’ll expand on that
solar firm later, but what is key here is that Goldman was an early investor in First Solar that snagged
three large DOE stimulus loans (over $3 billion) –– a story we’ve featured many times, starting with
“The First Solar Three Billion Dollar Swindle.”
Still, Goldman was (is) also an investor in U.S. Geothermal that in February 2011, landed a $97 million
DOE stimulus loan slated to build a 22-megawatt power plant in the eastern Oregon desert. This was ––
one of the first geothermal projects funded by the DOE, despite the fact that in December 2010, S&P
had rated this loan as non-investment grade. Yet, the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump” prove that this
deal was rushed and approved in time for a POTUS photo op. Moreover, U.S. Geothermal had other
projects that snagged millions in green energy subsidies.
Then in September 2011, Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC (Cogentrix Energy a subsidiary of Goldman
Sachs), was awarded a $90.6 million DOE stimulus loan for the Alamosa Solar Generating Project in
Colorado. Cogentrix, on July 16, 2012 bagged a $34.6 million stimulus grant (free taxpayer money)
from the 1603 Grant Program –– I’m assuming this is for the same project.
But that’s not all….
BrightSource Energy Just Got Darker
According to Renew Economy (January 2014), “[Goldman] has also a substantial investment in
BrightSource Energy,” which actually brought its Ivanpah solar power facility into full production last
month –– and if not for a federal loan guarantee, the $2.2-billion project would have never seen the
light of day. Now this massive solar power plant (struggling to produce power) has become the “$2.2
Billion Bird-Scorching Solar Project” –– with even the left-leaning Los Angeles Times, chronicling
their grand opening like this:
After nearly four years of construction that killed desert tortoises, burned the feathers off passing birds
and mowed down thousands of acres of native flora, Ivanpah officially opened last month with a gala
that included a rock band and a horde of dignitaries — Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz among them.
We’ve been uncovering BrightSource Energy’s $1.6 billion shady DOE deal since July 6, 2012, and as
new information became available we’ve revisited this huge solar transaction several times. In short,
the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS) in California was subsidized with a
$1.6 billion DOE stimulus loan, which was announced on February 22, 2010 and finalized April 11,
2011 –– a project that also received special treatment by the Department of Interior, which was
documented in our “2012 Special Seven Series.”
Still, BrightSource investors not only include Goldman Sachs, but additional 2008 Obama donors such
as Google, Morgan Stanley, and BP Alternative Energy. Meanwhile the Ivanpah project incorporates a
slew of ties to President Obama as well as Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Harry Reid. This story
comprises of big donors, political cronies and connections such as BrightSource, VantagePoint, Google,
NRG Energy, PG&E, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, George Soros, the former Commerce Secretary John
Bryson, McBee Strategic Consulting, lobbyists Bernie Toon, and others –– with DOE officials,
Obama’s Green Team, and several in Congress from the Democrat side involved.
While I briefly addressed Citigroup’s part in this billion-dollar deal in February 23, 2013 (Ongoing ––
$250mm IPO / Joint Bookrunner), it should be noted that just days after the finalization of the $1.6
billion government loan, BrightSource had filed for and IPO, of which Goldman Sachs Group Inc.,
Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG were leading the proposed offering. However, a year later, they
canceled their IPO, and BrightSource CEO John Woolard (now former) told that it was
“because of the weak public markets, particularly for solar and greentech companies…” –– of which, to
date the IPO is still pending. Yet, we do know that Goldman has made equity investments in the solar
developer BrightSource.
We also can confirm that additional political heavyweights have been hovering over this deal, starting
with Bechtel (another big corporation with their hand in the stimulus) that constructed BrightSource’s
Ivanpah project as well as the fact that sometime in October 2010, during the time of their DOE loan
review process, “NRG became the lead investor ($300m) in Ivanpah solar project. In fact, as
mentioned, this was one of the four (now three) large taxpayer-funded stimulus projects that NRG
Energy is part of.
Side Note: My March 22, 2013 file covers The Soros connection, its CEO David Crane, and more. My
September 2013 post on BrightSource’s Top DC lobbyist (since 2009) gives more insight into other
players inside this $1.6 billion DOE deal, such as VantagePoint, Google Inc, and PG&E, which
included ongoing interaction and pressure from the heavyweight K Street firm McBee Strategic
Consulting –– another huge player inside this green energy scam. What’s key is that Steve McBee
“reportedly wrote key provisions in the stimulus bill to open the spigot of green corporate welfare” ––
thus over 60 percent of his energy client list cashed in under the Obama administration.
Lastly, in November 2013, we unleashed BrightSource’s connection to Senator Harry Reid as well as
the incriminating “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump” relevant to this particular DOE transaction.
What’s key here is that BrightSource Energy has never been solid. In fact, the “Oakland-based
BrightSource Energy Inc. had emerged from the bankruptcy of its parent company.” Now I’m assuming
this was out of the ashes of BrightSource Industries (Israel) Ltd. that was formerly known as LUZ II
Ltd., and changed its name in December 2008.
Nevertheless, according to Schweizer in Throw Them All Out, as he described the financial issues they
were having, “BrightSource badly needed this infusion of taxpayer cash.” So in essence this $1.6
billion stimulus DOE deal was a bailout, which is a clear violation of the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act of 2009 –– a fact that we elaborated on many times.
Goldman: SolarCity, SunEdison & SunRun
According to Renew Economy (January 2014), “Goldman Sachs also provided $500 million of finance
to SolarCity, to allow the biggest solar installer in the US to expand its solar leasing business. Goldman
is one of a number of banks to do that –– the latest was Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.”
Goldman, in 2012, also handled the IPO for SolarCity –– the solar firm I first highlighted under the
Podesta Group (became a 2012 client) and expanded upon under Bank of America, noting that
SolarCity was not only in line to receive a loan from the Energy Department, but as documented
earlier, SolarCity, so far (and since 2009) has been subsidized with “green” through various stimulus
funds, grants and federal tax breaks at the tune of $514 million. We’ll keep watching…
There is also SunEdison LLC –– a global provider of solar-energy services –– which was also an early
Goldman Sachs investment. Due to the fact that this solar firm also became a client the Podesta Group
in 2012, I covered the fact that in 2013, SunEdison won 5 federal stimulus grants from the 1603
Program for “solar electricity” that ranges across 5 states, totaling over $1.8 million tax dollars.
Furthermore, SunEdison is in cahoots with JPMorgan, GE Capital as well as Southern Company and a
few other familiar green energy players and CAP donors such as Bank of America, Duke Energy, and
First Solar.
Just last month, the Wall Street Journal reported, “Sunrun Inc., a company that finances and installs
home solar projects, has retained Goldman Sachs to raise a growth equity round of more than $100
million, according to a person familiar with the situation.”
SunRun can be found in my May 2012 research on Foundation Capital –– another friend of the Obama
White House and big VC winner of taxpayer money from the Green Bank of Obama, adding to my
long list of Big VC’s that have had made out like bandits. As of October 2013 , I found that SunRun,
between 2011 and 2013, snagged 23 federal stimulus grants from the 1603 Program for “solar
electricity” that ranges across 10 states, totaling over $141 million tax dollars, thus far.
Plus in 2010, SunRun announced a $100 million joint program with major utility Pacific Gas &
Electric, which according to Venture Beat, “PG&E will be funding the rooftop systems in question via
its subsidiary, Pacific Energy Capital II, a tax equity fund,” of which “In lieu of traditional returns, the
investor — PG&E in this case — gets tax benefits in addition to some cash returns.”
#4) Covanta Energy (confirmed donor since 2012):
This was one of those Soros timely investments (twelve alternative energy and utility companies) that I
had alluded to in the beginning of this post and exposed in my March 2013 Green Corruption File. I
found that Covanta, a clean-energy company and the recipient of federal stimulus grants, also received
millions in 2010 through Congressional earmarks, yet it is unclear as to how many green government
subsidies or the exact stimulus dollar amount that Covanta Energy snagged. Also, Covanta Energy
stands to benefit from the NAT GAS Act if it comes to light again.
#5) General Electric (confirmed donor since 2011):
General Electric (GE) is a heavy donor to both Republicans and Democrats, and its CEO Jeffrey
Immelt “plays the role of typical corporate donor who hedges his bets on both sides of the fence.”
However in 2008, GE gave the Obama campaign $529,855, marking them as a top Obama donor.
Meanwhile, in early 2009, Immelt was first appointed as a member of Obama’s Economic Recovery
Advisory Board (PERAB), which later morphed into the president’s jobs council, where Immelt served
as the Jobs Czar, until it closed down in February 2013.
Nevertheless, GE is a major player on the clean-energy scene as well as in this green energy scheme,
starting with the fact that they were also part of the DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee that had
influence into the 2009-Recovery Act. In 2009, the New York Times recognized GE’s green power,
noting, “GE lobbied Congress to help expand the clean-energy subsidy programs, and it now profits
from every aspect of the boom in renewable-power plant construction, including hundreds of millions
in contracts to sell its turbines to wind plants built with public subsidies.”
I’ve been keeping track of GE’s “green tab” since 2012, which at that time exceeded $3 billion in direct
(some indirect) taxpayer cash. This tally includes three large stimulus loans from Energy Department’s
junk bond portfolio that were doled out between late 2010 until September 2011.
Considering the treasure trove of Intel found in the “2012 Internal DOE Email Dump,” I revisited GE
in my December 2012 post. Long story short, in October 2010, the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind
project located in eastern Oregon was awarded a $1.3 billion DOE stimulus loan –– a $2 billion project
sponsored by GE, who also supplied the project with 338 wind-turbines. These internal emails show
that this transaction was approved with White House pressure. For example:
September 9, 2010 EMAIL: James McCrea (subject line: Shepherds Flat — Draft Responses to OMB
Questions), “As you all know, the pressure to make decisions on this transaction are high so speed of
the essence.” Then later that day, McCrea writes (Email #4 from Appendix I) he says, “Pressure is on
real heavy on SF [Shepherds Flat] due to interest from VP.”
Shepherds Flat’s developers also received “a $500 million federal grant, state tax credits totaling $18
million, accelerated depreciation on federal and state taxes worth $200 million, and a premium for its
power from the state worth $220 million.” At some point, the Shepherds Flat wind farm received three
separate tax credits totaling $30 million from the state of Oregon.
But there’s more…
In September 2011, the poorly rated 1366 Technologies, sponsored in part by GE, received a direct
$150 million stimulus loan from the DOE for its solar manufacturing plant.
GE is also part of the $1.2 billion DOE stimulus loan for the Desert Sunlight project, which was
finalized in September 2011. This is part of the First Solar Swindle that has been mentioned a few
times in this post, and will be detailed later.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) loaned $54.6 million to Kansas City Southern Railway
Company (KCSR) “to purchase thirty new General Electric ES44AC diesel-electric locomotives” –– a
loan that raised red flags in the March 2012 House Oversight investigation.
Also, you’ll be “blown away” by the billions of “wind energy grants” that flew out of the stimulus
package back in February 2010, of which at that time, GE was contracted to at least 26% of them as the
“Turbine Manufacturer.”
In late 2009, it was reported by Gigaaom, “GE is one of the newer smart meter players, but the
conglomerate has been working with utility Oklahoma Gas & Electric on a 6,600 smart meter trial, and
has a contract with PHI, which received $104.80 million for a smart meter deployment in Washington,
DC. GE also has a big contract with Florida Power and Light” that also the recipient of a $200 million
stimulus grant.
Other than bagging direct green energy stimulus money, GE has also joined forces with others that have
benefited from Obama’s alternative-energy taxpayer funds. Two in particular –– the Advanced
Metering Partners, another John Doerr “venture” via Silver Spring Networks, as well as Energy
Technology Ventures formed in 2011 with NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips. And, I’m sure if were to
visit GE again, we’d find much more than $3 billion in green energy funds.
#6) Google (confirmed donor since 2012):
Google, like Wall Street and Big Energy, plays the political game well: it’s all about access and
influence, starting with campaign contributions. Google’s $814,540 contribution to then-Senator
Obama’s campaign made it the fifth largest donor in 2008, and in 2012 moved up to the number three
spot with a whopping $805,119. Furthermore, Google’s CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, served as an
informal advisor to President Obama. Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman, was also an Obama donor
in 2008, and since April 2009, is (was) a member of the president’s Science and Technology Advisory
Council (PCAST).
Another Google political connection is Dan Reicher, director of climate and energy initiatives at
Google, who was one of the founders of Cleantech and Green Business Leaders for Obama. There are
other interesting folks behind the Google scenes such as John Doerr and Al Gore –– the dynamic
climate duo mentioned periodically in this post –– who has served as a member of Google’s board of
directors since May 1999, with Gore as a (past) senior advisor.
And according to Michelle Malkin, “Google cofounder Sergey Brin, Chief Legal Officer and Senior
Vice President David Drummond, and Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf
are all vocal Obama supporters and top donors.” Meanwhile, Google co-founders Sergey Brin & Larry
Page, invested in Tesla Motors, while Google, in 2011, partnered with SolarCity (mentioned a few
times now) to create a $280 million fund for residential solar projects –– both BIG winners of “green”
taxpayer money.
Like many of these Big VC’s that won a significant amount of green money from the Obama
administration –– Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, The Westly Group, VantagePoint Capital Partners,
Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, and others –– their “cleantech investments” overlap, and I briefly
touched on Google in my January 2012 post about Doerr and Gore.
Later, I documented Google as energy client of McBee Strategic Consulting (in my September 2013
Green Corruption File), discovering and exposing the fact that Google Ventures –– via their “Energy
Investments” and other “green deals” that I tracked down at that time –– has ten verified stimulus and
other green energy money winners, which places their investment score at close to $5 billion of
taxpayer cash, which includes three DOE loans: BrightSource Energy ($1.6 billion); GE’s Caithness
Shepherds Flat wind project (presented under GE for $1.3 billion); and Tesla Motors that won $465
million ATVM loan. If you add in Silver Spring Networks’ customers that won $1.3 billion in smart-
grid stimulus grants, which I divulged here a few times, that figure rises to $6.3 billion and counting.
#7. PG&E (confirmed donor since 2011):
This utility giant is a strong Obama and Democrat donor that happens to be all over this “green” scam.
Not only did they have direct influence over the DOE loans, they are jam-packed with Washington
“green cronies,” including Cathy Zoi, who is the “most controversial former PG&E employee to hold
an influential government.” Zoi, an Al Gore acolyte was a DOE Insider from 2009 until 2011, and she
is not only tied to PG&E but other stimulus winners.
Still, PG&E was another client of the top DC lobbyist, McBee Strategic Consulting, of which I
divulged in my September 2013 Green Corruption File. As reported by the Washington Free Beacon in
2012, “PG&E has become an aggressive buyer of power supplied by solar, wind, and other renewable
sources, in large part due to statutory requirements under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard,
which mandated that 20 percent of the utility’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2010 — and
33 percent by 2020.”
The big win for this huge energy corporation is that they have an invested interest in seven Energy
Department stimulus loans worth $7.6 billion. Moreover, with the exception of BrightSource Energy’s
$1.6 project, of which we now know from an email Dated January 4, 2010, that Peter Darbee, then
CEO of PG&E, had himself spoken to President Obama about this deal, the rest of the loans were
finalized between June and September 2011. While the details into these taxpayer-funded projects can
be found in my April 2013 post, here’s an overview.
Agua Caliente Solar Power Project located in Yuma, Arizona, of which “PG&E will purchase the
project’s power and deliver it to customers in California.” Project by NRG Solar: $967 million loan
BrightSource Energy development located in Baker, CA, of which “electricity from the project will be
sold under long-term power purchase agreements with Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California
Edison Company (SCE).” Project by NRG Energy, Inc. (BrightSource): $1.6 billion loan guarantee
California Valley Solar Ranch of which the 250-megawatt is under construction in eastern San Luis
Obispo County, and “is generating clean, reliable solar power for transmission over PG&E’s utility
grid.” Project by NRG Solar and SunPower is still involved: $1.237 billion loan guarantee
Desert Sunlight Project located in Riverside, CA, with the PPA (purchase power agreement) listed as
Southern California Edison and PG&E. This is a First Solar Project that is co-owned by NextEra
Energy Resources, GE Energy Financial Services, and Sumitomo Corporation of America: partial
guarantee of $1.46 billion
Genesis Solar Energy Project located in Riverside County, CA of which “power from the project will
be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric Company.” Project by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC: partial
guarantee of $852 million loan
Mesquite Solar 1, LLC located in Maricopa County, AZ, of which Bloomberg News had reported at the
time the DOE loan was approved, “Sempra will sell electricity from the Mesquite Solar 1 plant to
California’s largest utility, PG&E Corp., under a 20- year contract.” Project by Sempra Mesquite: $337
million loan guarantee
Mojave Solar located in San Bernardino County, CA, of which at the time of the DOE loan approval
(September 2011), “Abengoa signed a power-purchase agreement with PG&E to buy the energy
produced by the project for a period of 25 years.” Project by the Spanish firm Abengoa Solar, Inc.: $1.2
billion loan guarantee
Meanwhile, my May 2013 “Smart Gird, Dirty Devices” divulges PG&E’s partnership with Silver
Spring Networks on many fronts (PG&E is their top customer). Silver Springs is the the lucky smart-
grid technology company that I mentioned earlier, who has an array of White House connections ––
Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Google –– and as of January 2013 is linked to at least $1.3
billion in smart-grid stimulus grants.
But there’s more…
PG&E won a significant amount of stimulus money for various projects, of which last year I found at
least seventeen that added up to over $55 million of tax dollars.
PG&E also bagged at least four stimulus 1603 grants in 2012 and 2013 (for fuel cell, hydropower and
solar) totaling $127.2 million.
SolarCity and SunRun, who both won large sums of stimulus money (duly noted in this post), are in
cahoots with P.G.&E. Corporation, the California utility holding company’s tax-equity fund to finance
residential solar installations.
CAP’S 2011 & 2012 DONORS: Clean-Energy Money Winners (referred to as “American Progress Business Alliance Members”)
#8) American Electric Power (AEP):
While I found that AEP (between 2009 and 2010) was awarded at least four stimulus grants totaling
$740 million, which was detailed in my March 2013 Green Corruption File, there is more to share.
According to Schweizers bombshell book, “in the first quarter of 2009, Soros made an initial purchase
of more than 1.5 million shares in American Electric Power (AEP), a utility company that invested
heavily in an energy project called FutureGen.”
This was a project that had been abandoned by the Bush administration; however, on June 12, 2009, the
Obama administration revived FutureGen: “a federal-industry partnership that would build an advanced
coal-burning power plant in Illinois to trap and store carbon dioxide emissions.” After Obama took
office, he not only restarted FutureGen with $1 billion from the stimulus package, but he moved the
project to Meredosia.
The FutureGen Industrial Alliance “was formed to partner with the U.S. Department of Energy on the
FutureGen project.” At that time it was a consortium of major coal and utility companies such as
American Electric Power Co. Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp. Just thirteen days later, both AEP and
Southern Co withdrew from the U.S.-government backed FuturGen project.
Despite ongoing drama, cost overruns and delays, as well as potential air pollution and other matters;
back in February 2013, the FutureGen project was moving forward. While AEP was gone, we did find
Ameren Corp (another Soros timely investment) along the way. Currently the FutureGen Industrial
Alliance includes Alpha Natural Resources, Joy Global Inc, Peabody Energy, Xstrata Coal Pty Limited,
and another CAP corporate donor, Anglo American (up next).
#9) Anglo American (confirmed donor since 2012, listed under energy/utility):
As detailed above, Anglo American, “one of the world’s largest mining companies, is headquartered in
the UK and listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges,” is now part of the FutureGen
project funded with green energy funds. This past January, the Energy Department “gave the long-
planned FutureGen clean-coal project one of the final OKs [and $1 billion] it needs to start building,”
announced the Daily Journal.
According to most reports, “If all goes according to plan, the FutureGen project should be fully
operational by 2017 and continue commercial operations for at least 20 years.”
#10) Constellation Energy:
Again, this is one of those twelve alternative energy and utility companies that another Soros had
invested in shortly having helped craft the 2009 stimulus package that I had alluded to in the beginning
of this post (exposed in my March 2013 Green Corruption File). I found that Constellation, an Exelon
Company, which is labeled as “the president’s utility,” was another top 2008 Obama donor and big
winner of “green” funds. Constellation received a $200 million stimulus grant, of which since they are
(were) the parent of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co, I’m assuming the $200 million smart-grid grant
(awarded in October 2009) that went to BGE is the one Schweizer had mentioned in his book (unless
they got another $200 million for something else).
Moreover, according to the Washington Free Beacon, “Constellation is one of the most prolific
providers of green energy to federally owned facilities, sporting contracts with the General Services
Administration (GSA) for the U.S. Capitol building, the Federal Reserve, the Smithsonian Institution,
the United Nations building in New York, and a host of federal buildings in several states.”
#11) Dow Corning (Silicone Manufacturing/Solar):
In January 2010, two manufacturing tax credits were awarded from the 48C stimulus-created program
for solar projects in Michigan. The tax credits included “$141.9 million for Hemlock Semiconductors
(a joint venture of Dow Corning Corporation and others) expansion of its Michigan polycrystalline
silicon operations, and $27.3 million for a monosilane plant Dow Corning is building.”
By 2012, Hemlock Semiconductor announced that they “were postponing three of the four phases of
their $1.2 billion plant in Tennessee,” of which the state of Tennessee had committed $245 million to
Hemlock –– some of which was stimulus funds. In 2013, the company began laying off hundreds of
workers at their Clarksville plant –– even 100 were from their facility in Michigan (March 2013), and
50 more in May 2013. With the future of their plants unknown, “Dow Corning Corp. announced
[November 2013] that it is acquiring a bigger stake in Hemlock Semiconductor.” So, here we have two
more failing stimulus-funded projects that we need to watch –– and a CAP donor ta boot.
#12) Duke Energy:
As duly noted, Duke Energy –– the nation’s largest electric power company –– has been a client of the
Podesta Group since 2009. Jim Rogers, the chairman of Duke Energy, is another Obama donor, who
was a major player at the 2012 Democratic convention, as a contributor, creditor, host, and even a
While Duke Energy is worthy of additional scrutiny, my January 2013, Big Wind Story documented
that in 2011, Duke Energy was the recipient of a $22 million grant from the DOE’s ARPA-E advanced
energy research program that was funded by the 2009 stimulus package. This was “to design, build and
install large-scale batteries to store wind energy at one of its wind farms in Texas.”
Then in May 2013 (previously dated June 2010), Notrees Windpower –– a project of Duke Energy
located in Texas –– was handed a stimulus grant from the 1603 Program for $103.6 million. And after a
quick glance, I found three 1603 stimulus grants for Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC that were dished out
in 2012 and 2013, totaling over $62 million for “hydropower” and “solar electricity.” Duke Energy was
also privy to the “smart” money as well –– in 2009, the DOE awarded Duke Energy a $200 million
stimulus smart-grid grant to support projects in the Midwest.
#13) Enel Green Power North America:
In July 2012, Enel Green Power, through its US subsidiary Enel Green Power North America Inc., was
awarded a grant for approximately $99 million from the 2009-Recovery Act 1603 grant program for the
construction of the Caney River wind farm in Kansas. The Caney River and the Rocky Ridge wind
farm project includes J. P. Morgan as well as Wells Fargo Wind Holdings LLC and Metropolitan Life
Insurance Company.
#14) First Solar (Solar Manufacturing and possibly a 2011 donor):
As I’ve alluded to many times in this post and others, First Solar has considerable ties to the Obama
administration, starting with the fact that this solar firm was an early investment of Goldman Sachs, the
Wall Street giant mentioned above as a CAP corporate donor since 2012 (maybe sooner).
In the mix we find another First Solar investor –– Generation Investment Management (GIM), which as
you know, is Al Gore’s sustainability firm tied to many green energy deals. Along the way we find a
myriad of Obama billionaire cronies (donors and bundlers) that were also investors in First Solar: Ted
Turner, Paul Tudor Jones, Whitney Tilson, David Shaw, as well as the fact George Soros bought First
Solar stock sometime in late 2007, until about May 2011, as recorded at
Prior to the $3 billion in DOE stimulus loans, in 2010, First Solar snagged $16.3 million “to expand its
manufacturing facility to produce fully completed thin‐film solar modules,” in Ohio, which was part of
the 2009-Recovery Act via the DOE / Treasury, Clean Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits (48C).
According to reports, “The Ohio Department of Development also lent First Solar $5 million, and the
state’s Air Quality Development Authority gave the company an additional $10 million loan” ––
marking First Solars Ohio facility as taxpayer-funded with over $30 million.
But it gets better: First Solar, in 2011, “also scored $547.7 million in loan guarantees [by the
controversial taxpayer funded Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im)] to subsidize the sale of solar panels to
solar farms abroad,” as documented by Veronique de Rugy (senior research fellow at the Mercatus
Center) in her stunning assessment of DOE’s Loan Program. Ms. de Rugy goes on, “More troubling is
the fact that some of the Ex-Im money [$192.9 million] went to a Canadian company named St. Clair
Solar, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of First Solar, meaning that the company received a loan to
buy solar panels from itself.”
This Ex-Im transaction even hits closer to CAP, starting with Carol Browner –– CAP fellow, former
DOE insider, and Al Gore’s pal –– who is sits on (and has for a while) the Advisory Committee of the
Export-Import Bank.
Still, the Daily Caller last month, unearthed another alarming connection: “[First Solar] is not only
listed as a CAP donor, but has also been listed as a client of the Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) in
2011 — a lobbying firm founded by former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. ASG is also
listed as a CAP donor.”
And, it gets better, as reported The DC
Coincidentally, Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg has spoken annually at CAP since 2011
— the same year First Solar got its loan. It is unknown whether the solar company was also a CAP
donor at the time.
When Hochberg spoke at the progressive think tank in 2012, he mentioned that Alice Albright was in
attendance — Madeleine Albright’s daughter and the Ex-Im’s chief operating officer from 2009 to
2013. Hochberg spoke on June 25 and First Solar was awarded $57.3 million in financing on July 18.
In 2011, Hochberg spoke on June 15 and, just over a week later on June 23, Ex-Im awarded First Solar
millions more in financing. That year the taxpayer-backed export bank awarded First Solar nearly $573
million to make their products more competitive abroad and boost their sales — most of that financing
came after Hochberg gave his speech. First Solar Vice President Frank de Rosa was likely bundling
donations for Obama’s reelection campaign around this time.
Nevertheless, the big money came from the Energy Department: First Solar, an Arizona-based
manufacturer of solar panels, in August and September 2011, won three 1705 DOE “junk rated”
stimulus loans totaling over $3 billion. Marita Noon and I first covered the “First Solar Swindler” in the
summer of 2012, which began by documenting how seven solar companies received fast-tracked
approval by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to lease federal lands in a no-bid process:
Abengoa Solar, BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, NextEra Energy
Resources, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve.
Since then, we’ve tracked First Solars woes, which began since the finalization of these three large
DOE loan guarantees –– projects, by the way, that were sold to more Obama “energy” cronies just after
the taxpayer funds were approved. However, First Solar remained involved in all of them.
The Projects
Exelon (Antelope Valley Solar Ranch): $646 million stimulus loan
In September 2011, the same day that the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, located in California, received
a DOE loan guarantee for $646 million, Exelon Corp. purchased it. First Solar, which developed the
project, is still actively involved. The AVSR1 project, by the way, is expected to create 350
constructions jobs and 20 permanent jobs.
The Chicago-based Exelon Corp, a big Obama donor and labeled as “The President’s Utility,” by itself
is a huge piece of the Green Corruption scandal, which I have alluded to in the past and a another piece
of the scandal in the works.
NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (Desert Sunlight): $1.46 billion stimulus loan
The California Desert Sunlight, in September 2011 –– again the same day that this project received
$1.46 billion offer for a partial loan guarantee from the DOE –– was sold to NextEra Energy
Resources, LLC, the competitive energy subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. and GE Energy Financial
Services. Yet, the September announcement also stated, “First Solar will continue to build and
subsequently operate and maintain the project under separate agreements.” Both CEO’s Jeffrey Immlet
and Lewis Hay were featured in my “Green Five: Spreading the Wealth to Obama’s Ultra-Rich Jobs
Council Members” series.
According to the DOE, Desert Sunlight, which is expected to create 550 construction jobs and 15
permanent jobs for the plant’s operation, “will deploy commercially available First Solar Series 3
modules and is projected to achieve commercial operation by February 28, 2015.”
NRG Solar, LLC (Agua Caliente): $967 million stimulus loan
In August 2011, as the $967 million DOE loan guarantee for the Agua Caliente, located in Arizona, was
announced, it was purchased from First Solar by NRG Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Energy. At that
time it was noted that the First Solar will be providing the solar panels for this project, and that the
plant, when completed, would supply power to PG&E.
According to the DOE, the Agua Caliente project –– considered another jobs creator with an expected
400 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs –– “currently generates enough energy to power 49,600
households annually.”
Keep in mind that documented much earlier was Steve Spinner –– the two-time Obama bundler DOE
advisor ( April 2009 to September 2010) turned CAP fellow (September 2010 to October 2011) –– and
his part in the First Solar deal making, which included advocacy for the at least the Antelope Valley
project. Nevertheless, there are additional CAP players here, starting with what The Nation revealed in
May 2013:
José Villarreal — a consultant at the power-house law and lobbying firm Akin Gump, who ‘provides
strategic counseling on a range of legal and policy issues’ for corporations — was on First Solars
board until April 2012 while also sitting on the board of CAP, where he remains a member, according
to the group’s latest tax filing.
#15) First Wind
In my January 2013 Big Wind Story –– also a client of the top DC lobbyists McBee Strategic
Consulting –– I exposed a “twister of sweetheart deals” found in the Department of Energy’s junk bond
portfolio, which included four risky wind projects. One of those was Kahuku Wind Power, LLC, a
project of First Wind in Kahuku Oahu, HI, which in July 2010, was granted a $117 million DOE
stimulus loan, 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 to $35,148,839].
Sadly, in August 2012 a fire that destroyed First Wind’s battery storage facility (built by Xtreme Power)
and sent toxic fumes into the air, which left ratepayers in the dark over costs and safety. And, it was
reported on January 23, 2014 that “Xtreme Power ran out of cash and filed for bankruptcy,” –– NOTE:
Xtreme Power built the energy storage system for Duke Energy’s Notrees wind energy farm in Texas,
another winner of stimulus funds, listed above.
The First Wind plan was to secure taxpayer money and then go public. Now they achieved their first
objective with the help of U.S. taxpayers, because and as of July 2012, First Wind’s projects have also
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, more specifically the
350+ page Appendix II (“2012 Internal DOE Email Dump”), we find that just months prior to the final
approval of the Kahuka loan there was intense interaction within the DOE regarding this transaction…
“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.”
This and more can be found in my Big Wind Story, including a the fact the first-rate, high-powered
political ties to First Wind are vast, starting with D.E. Shaw & Co, a New York-based investment firm
that is a backer of First Wind Holdings Inc. (also an investor in First Solar). This was noted when I
profiled Larry Summers from CAP –– adding that, according to Peter Schweizer, “Larry Summers was
part owner of First Wind.”
The founder of the hedge fund DE Shaw & Co., David Shaw, is a two-time Obama bundler, who
employed Larry Summers before heading to the Obama White House, as the top economic advisor. It
turns out that in 2011, according to, Shaw, a computer scientist and computational
biochemist, was “appointed by Obama to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and
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
Emanuel. 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 Emanuel’s
congressional campaigns than did any other business.”
While the GOP found that “Julia Bovey, First Winds 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 (, 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. .
#16) General Motors (donor in 2011)
As I divulged at the beginning of this post, General Motors (GM) –– a CAP donor in 2011 –– was a
client of the Podesta Group from 2010 until 2012. Even after the taxpayers bailed out General Motors
in 2009 (over $80 billion –– $17.5 billion under Bush and $63.4 billion from Obama), of which we lost
at least $14 billion, green energy taxpayer money continues to subsidize the failed auto maker. This
time, though, was for GM’s hybrid electric vehicle the Chevy Volt –– a car that’s not doing very well.
What I’ve tracked so far is that starting in 2009 until recently, GM has bagged hundreds of millions of
stimulus dollars ( $471.6 million to be exact) to support the Chevy Volt as well as green car
components, of which I’ll share the details when I dissect the CAP corporate donors.
According to the January 25, 2012 House Oversight Report…
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) appropriated $2.4 billion
for domestic production of batteries and components for electric cars. Of this, $1.5 billion
in grants were directed toward manufacturing the batteries, while the remaining $900
million went to building new facilities or improving existing facilities to produce electric
drive components. This included $151.4 million to Michigan-based Compact Power, Inc.,
for production of lithium-ion polymer battery cells for the GM Volt; $105.9 million directly
to GM for production of high-volume battery packs for the Volt; $105 million to GM to
construct facilities for electric drive systems; and $89.3 million to Delphi Automotive
Systems, a former division of GM, to expand manufacturing facilities for electric drive
power components.
Also, “buyers of the Volt will receive a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 of per vehicle” as well as state
tax credits.
Then, lo and behold, on December 12, 2013, Think Progress –– CAP’s propaganda machine ––
announced, “Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company will receive a combined $50 million
to support their respective manufacturing facilities that produce electric cars.” This was from the
stimulus-created 48C Program, of which GM’s share was $20 million for “its Detroit-Hamtramck
Assembly Plant where the company manufactures Extended Range Electric Vehicles— Chevrolet Volts
and the Cadillac ELR electric luxury coupe — along with internal combustion cars.”
#17) Xcel Energy:
What’s interesting is that Xcel Energy was in the loop with Cogentrix Energy, a subsidiary of Goldman
Sachs, which in September 2011, snagged a $90.6 million DOE stimulus loan for the Alamosa Solar
Generating Project. Then on July 16, 2012, Cogentrix bagged a $34.6 million stimulus grant (free
taxpayer money) from the 1603 Grant Program –– I’m assuming this is for the same project.
What’s interesting (see graph with Goldman Sachs stimulus loans) is that the partners involved in this
project included utility Xcel Energy (XEL), which signed a 20-year contract to buy enough CPV power
to supply electricity to 6,500 homes; and Amonix, the California-based company that will supply the
CPV panels –– Amonix (complete with Obama buddies) was subsidized with $29.6 million of taxpayer
money before it went bankrupt in July 18, 2012. What a scam…
Also, according to, in 2010, Minnesota’s Senator Al Franken visited Mulroy’s Body
Shop “to highlight the use of federal stimulus funds in creating jobs and boosting the alternative energy
economy.” It turns out that the owner had 174 solar panels installed on the roof of his Nicollet Avenue
body shop in South Minneapolis. And that “Minneapolis-based Solarflow Energy installed the system
and is leasing the equipment to Mulroy’s under contract with Xcel Energy. The lease agreement also
includes installation, maintenance and support. The federal stimulus funds deliver a grant-in-lieu of a
30 percent tax credit on the value of the installation to Solarflow.” Solarflow start-up was partially
funded through an Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund grant of $1.5 million.
While Xcel was omitted from the $3.4 billion in stimulus smart-grid grants in 2009, for their highly
touted $100 million “Smart Grid City” project in Boulder, Colorado did snag about $24.2 million in
federal economic stimulus money for “Smart Grid” updates to the state’s power grid and customer
meters. Still, Xcel Energy is slapping ratepayers with the bill: “In 2010, Xcel found itself asking
Colorado regulators for permission to recoup $44.5 million in rate increases, but the Colorado Public
Utilities Commission only gave it $27.9 million,” as documented by GreenTechMedia in 2012. And it
seems that while they were seeking another $16.6 million in 2012 for their Smart Grid City mess, “The
Colorado Public Utility Commission (recently) denied Xcel’s request to recover a big chunk of that $45
million,” reported Smart Grid News in August 2013.