Another taxpayer-funded energy company files for bankruptcy


Part of Obama’s legacy.

From Fox News: A cutting-edge battery maker that received millions from taxpayers has become the latest government-backed energy firm to file for bankruptcy – reviving the controversy over how stimulus dollars were spent under the last administration. 

Seven years after Aquion Energy received a $5.2 million stimulus-tied grant from the federal government, the Pennsylvania company on Wednesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“Creating a new electrochemistry and an associated battery platform at commercial scale is extremely complex, time-consuming, and very capital intensive. Despite our best efforts to fund the company and continue to fuel our growth, the Company has been unable to raise the growth capital needed to continue operating as a going concern,” Scott Pearson, Aquion’s outgoing CEO, said in a press release.

The company, which is now seeking a buyer, produces batteries to store solar and renewable energy. It had been touted as a rising star in the energy storage business, even attracting investment from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and millions more in state funding.

In January, the company was named “the North American Company of the Year Award” at the annual Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, which “focuses on emerging trends, leading innovation companies, and key players in sustainable innovation.”

Suzanne Roski, the company’s chief restructuring officer, did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

Critics say Aquion’s fate is further evidence the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. “Who thinks the Department of Energy has the expertise to predict which companies will succeed for fail in the marketplace, particularly in an industry that is not only dependent upon government subsidies, but is highly unpredictable?” said William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The company grew out of the work of Jay Whitacre, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He developed a successful design for a storage battery that would use only non-toxic, non-flammable chemicals, rather than the more flammable lithium batteries.

Days before the company filed for Chapter 11, Whitacre was named the new director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon.

Aquion was awarded its federal grant in 2010. The Department of Energy issued the funding to build a large-scale battery manufacturing plant that would be located on the site of a former Sony facility in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Private investors flocked to the project.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Aquion raised about $190 million from investors, including from Ray Lane, a former president of Oracle.  They began low-volume production in the summer of 2011, broke ground on full-scale manufacturing facility in 2012 and have been shipping commercially since mid-2014, according to its website.

Two years later, Aquion Energy received $16.6 million in funds from the state of Pennsylvania, including two alternative clean energy loans totaling $5 million, to develop.

As part of the agreement, Aquion committed to create 341 new jobs and retain 70 existing employees, according to Heidi Havens, communications director for Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

In February 2016, the company requested a two-year extension to create the jobs promised. At that time, only 50 jobs had been created. The Westmoreland facility has since halted operations.

“This announcement is a reminder of the critical need to ensure that taxpayer dollars for economic development projects are spent appropriately and that intended outcomes are met,” Havens said in an email to Fox News.

“Let’s remember that the need for energy storage systems is  strictly a consequence of the intermittency of renewable energy sources like solar and wind,” Yeatman said. “… These companies benefit from the grants and indirectly from the inefficiencies of an industry that exists by the grace of political favoritism.”



10 responses to “Another taxpayer-funded energy company files for bankruptcy

  1. Just another one of Obama’s corrupt crony-capitalism schemes, on which he poured hard-earned taxpayer dollars, which added to the $trillions national debt. I wonder if he gets kickbacks from them.

    And this is what the Resist-Trumpers want to bring back. That’s how anti-American, insane and evil the Left are.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Another one bites the dust

    Liked by 3 people

    • Obama-mama was just a plain constitutional lawyer(???) a nobody up and down the streets of Chicago more like a recruiter, iin eight years with his obamacare failed creation became a millionaire at the expense of the people, like it or not. Too bad he will be part of our history, is up to us to keep him in obscurity. I raise my cup and drink to that.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Obama was a product of “weatherman” group of anarchists such as Bill Ayers who wrote Obama’s autobiography. Ayers was the only non-Jew member of the weatherman group. They engaged in various terrorist
    acts. In the 1960s and 1970s they were viewed by many as heroes in the San
    Francisco bay area where I lived then. One strategy was to overload
    the government with welfare payments causing its bankruptcy and
    allowing the rise of a Soviet style communist government. The weatherman members escaped virtually all punishment and ended up as affluent professionals.
    Obama is not considered with the effects of his actions on anyone, even so-called minorities. His only concern is the destruction of traditional American society.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin J Lankford

    All it took was one more green energy scheme, the right friends in high places (like may be the white house) and a long term short term plan for for bankruptcy, and voila, another multi million dollar extortion racket.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Clean energy sources, the new search for the Philosophers Stone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. seems to me that with their all but guaranteed positive business picture,and all the money given to them,there’s NO reason they shouldn’t have succeeded;with that in mind,they should be refused their bankruptcy request. They should re-structure,go back to Economics Class,return all the money the higher-ups bankrolled at other people’s expense,get serious and MAKE IT WORK.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: KOMMONSENTSJANE – Another taxpayer-funded energy company files for bankruptcy — Fellowship of the Minds | kommonsentsjane

  8. The only reason green energy is profitable is that the gumment keeps paying people to make and use it. If it was so great (not that it’s bad, just not great) everybody would be on the band wagon making money on it without the gumment’s help.
    Getting gumment help is like robbing banks. You do it because that’s where the money is.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP | cindyloulife

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