Paying no attention to the debacle that was Solyndra, which went bankrupt owing taxpayers $535 million, the Obama administration has awarded a $737 million loan guarantee to another solar power company. This one with plans to build a molten salt solar power plant near Tonopah called Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.
Speaking of crony capitalism, guess what? According to The Daily Caller, the project’s parent company SolarReserve, a privately held company out of Santa Monica, Calif., has ties to George Kaiser, the head of the Solyndra operation and who raised $53,000 for Obama in 2008 and $2,400 for Harry Reid in 2010.
Kaiser’s Argonaut Private Equity firm was majority owner of Solyndra and has a voting stake on SolarReserve’s board of directors. Steve Mitchell sits on the boards of both companies. Another SolarReserve board member, James McDermott gave Reid’s campaign $1,000 in 2010 and and still another, Lee Bailey, gave him $4,000 that year, according to Federal Election Commission records.
SolarReserve also lists PCG Clean Energy and Technology Fund as an investment partner, according to Heritage Foundation blog. Ronald Pelosi, brother-in-law of Nancy Pelosi, is a PCG executive.
According to the Washington Times, Solyndra gave the California Democratic Party $7,500 in donations in 2010 and, in its bankruptcy filings, lists the state party as a creditor.
The contract Crescent Dunes has with NV Energy calls for the company to be paid 13.5 cents per Kwh wholesale, well above the current residential retail rate. They’ll make it up in volume, I guess.
Speaking of crony capitalism, let’s take a look at another solar company in the news recently, First Solar, whose photovoltaic plant near Primm was visited by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently and praised as fine example of renewable energy at work.
“It’s a very proud day for Nevada and a very proud day for the United States of America,” Salazar said. Never mind that the contract for its power output is 13.2 cents per Kwh.
According to Investor’s Business Daily, First Solar Inc. got $2.1 billion in federal loan guarantees, while its chairman, Michael Ahern, and his wife gave $123,650 to various the Democratic Party and various Democratic candidates in recent years. I found no direct contribution to Reid. The company stock is trading around $65, down from a 52-week high of $175.45 — a strong indicator of the solidity of that loan?
The free market picks winners and losers. Crony capitalism just picks cronies.
Here is a video explaining molten salt solar process: