Enr1 Goes Belly Up; Yet Another Solyndra

“After spending $55 million of a $118.5 million grant from” the U.S. “Department of Energy, Ener1, an Indianapolis-based maker of batteries,” has just “declared bankruptcy.”

The White House had enthusiastically touted the company, which gave rise to an embarrassing gaffe by Vice President Biden:

Vice President Biden visited Ener1 one year ago, January 26, 2011. . .On several occasions, Biden called the company “Enron one” during his visit, invoking a seemingly unintentional but ultimately prescient reference to the collapse of the energy giant Enron. The company was also ranked number 67 in the White House Report100 Recovery Projects that are Changing America.

To some, the bankrupt firm is a “candidate in the increasingly competitive race to become the Next Solyndra.” But in reality, several other recipients of green-jobs subsidies under the stimulus package have already gone broke. CBS News had earlier reported that there were 11 Solyndras — that is, financially-troubled recipients of green-jobs subsidies, five of which had already filed for bankruptcy. After the CBS News report, Evergreen Energy, another green-jobs recipient, filed for bankruptcy.

President Obama touted similar green-jobs boondoggles in his 2012 State of the Union address. In his 2010 State of the Union, the president touted Solyndra, which went bankrupt a year later after receiving $535 million from taxpayers. As Rep. Cliff Stearns noted:

Only two days after President Obama highlighted federal investments in high-tech batteries in his State of the Union address, Ener1 joined Solyndra, Beacon Power, Evergreen Solar, SpecrtaWatt, and AES in bankruptcy – all recipients of taxpayer dollars.  We have a national debt exceeding $15 trillion, and the Administration is borrowing money from China to waste on subsidies for companies that are not viable.

As The Washington Post noted, energy programs have been “infused with politics at every level” during the Obama administration. It hastily approved subsidies for Solyndra, whose executives are now pleading the 5th Amendment, despite obvious danger signs and warnings about the company’s likely collapse. (Later, federal officials successfully pressured Solyndra to delay its announcement about upcoming layoffs until just after the 2010 election, to avoid embarrassing the Obama administration.)

The Obama administration has used green-jobs money from the stimulus package to outsource American jobs to countries like China: “Despite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies, according to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C.” As the Investigative Reporting Workshop noted, “79 percent” of all green-jobs funding “went to companies based overseas . . . In fact, the largest grant made under the program so far, a $178 million payment on Dec. 29, went to Babcock & Brown, a bankrupt Australian company.” This just one of many ways in which the Obama administration has used taxpayer money to outsource American jobs to foreign countries.