Today the company will announce its plans to build a battery manufacturing plant near Reno. The new gambit was the culmination of competition that pitted at least five states against one another for the “privilege” of hosting Tesla’s “Gigafactory” – named so because of the amount of stored power they plan to produce. Cost to build the plant is estimated to be $5 billion, and Musk said he expected the winning bidder to cover at least 10 percent of that, according to the Associated Press. That means at least $500 million in some form of incentives or conciliations from Silver State taxpayers.
As green energy stimulus recipients raked in billions of dollars the last few years, with President Obama declaring what a great “investment” they were for taxpayers, friends of mine would jokingly ask, “Where’s my dividend?” “Where are my stock certificates?” “Where’s my free electric car?!”
In the case of our $193-million stake in Fisker Automotive, thanks to a Department of Energy loan guarantee, it looks like American shareholders will end up with the whole company itself.
For weeks now the buzz about Fisker Automotive, the latest Department of Energy-funded clunker, is that two China-based automotive companies – Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (which owns Volvo) and Dongfeng Motor Corp. (which is state-owned) – were in bidding negotiations to buy an ownership stake of an unknown size. The speculation was that Fisker was following a similar path as stimulus-financed A123 Systems, which supplied the batteries for Fisker and was recently bought by Sino-owned Wanxiang Group.
An Ohio-based solar company received millions of dollars in state and federal subsidies despite government officials’ knowledge that the company was in financial trouble, and now a local newspaper reports little activity at the manufacturer’s Perrysburg plant.
Last week yet another treasured Obama administration “Green” energy company – electric vehicle battery manufacturer Ener1 – went bankrupt, after having been granted $118 million in stimulus funds in August 2009. But the gift did more than just sustain it and subsidiary EnerDel; the cash enabled the company to bail out what would be its top customer, a Norwegian electric car company that had already been drained of cash on at least three previous occasions.
Wind power is not economically feasible. It is only a reality because of tax breaks and government subsidies, which are often the seed corn for political favoritism and cozy dealings.
In Missouri, a company called Wind Capital Group (WCG) is more than well connected. In the photo to the right is the firm’s CEO is Tom Carnahan. His brother is Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO), and his sister is Robin Carnahan, the Missouri Secretary of State. His father was governor and his mother a U.S. Senator.
Ford Motor Company has applied for $11 billion in taxpayer funds for retooling, and has access to an additional $9 billion line of credit from the government. Yet, the company was a financial sponsor of Al Sharpton’s national convention last week that featured a speech by Vice-President Joseph Biden.
In a letter today to Steven Rattner, who directs President Obama's auto industry task force, I wrote,
Ford’s financial support for Sharpton places into doubt the judgment of Ford executives. I can think of no expenditure farther removed from the core mission of saving the company and the American auto industry than bankrolling Sharpton. It is your responsibility to ensure that no more capital is wasted on controversial political causes, no matter how supportive they are of the administration you represent.