Report: Energy Dept. spent $11 million per green job

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Despite the Obama administration’s generous support for green energy, job creation in the sector has both lagged and come at a hefty cost to taxpayers, according to a new report.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, the Department of Energy has spent nearly $26 billion since 2009 on its Section 1703 and 1705 loan programs. However, these two programs only yielded 2,308 permanent jobs — meaning the cost to taxpayers was $11.25 million per job.

“Clearly, in terms of ‘bang for the buck,” government programs that coddle renewable energy are losers,” according to IER. “In terms of jobs, the losers are the American workers who would otherwise be gainfully employed but for the tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars on the administration’s obsession with “green energy.'”

House Republicans recently questioned the Energy Department’s estimates of green jobs that were created from its controversial Section 1705 loan program which gave money to the now bankrupt Solyndra.

“Unfortunately, based on Committee staff’s review of the redacted annual loan reviews for each project, it appears that these job estimates have failed to materialize, in part, due to the aforementioned bankruptcies and the precarious financial positions of certain other projects,” Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to the Energy Department.

Solyndra was the first major loan guarantee failure, and filed for bankruptcy in August 2011 after receiving a $528 million loan guarantee. According to the DOE’s loan programs website, none of that money has been recovered.

One of Solyndra’s primary investors was billionaire George Kaiser, also an Obama supporter. Kaiser along with other Solyndra executives and board members donated $87,050 total to the president’s election campaign.

“It’s here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future,” said President Obama during a 2010 speech in Fremont, Calif. “And you’re doing so at a time of real challenge for America.”

The Beacon Power bankruptcy quickly followed. The energy storage company filed for bankruptcy in October 2011 after getting a $43 million federal loan guarantee as well as $29 million from the federal government and the state of Pennsylvania.

Abound Solar filed for bankruptcy last year after drawing down $68 million on a $400 million DOE loan guarantee. An early investor in Abound was Obama bundler Pat Stryker who has given more than $440,000 to Democratic groups and candidates in the last three elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

A Daily Caller News Foundation investigation later revealed that Abound was selling underperforming solar panels. The DOE has only recovered between $7.4 million and $25.6 million on the failed loan — meaning at least $42.4 million in taxpayer funds was never recovered.

“As the economy continues to suffer and dollars for federal programs get harder to come by, it is getting increasingly difficult to defend a program that costs so much and produces so little,” said IER.

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