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Archive for the ‘Green Energy’ Category

From CNBC:

Someone affiliated with the Department of Energy has been going back to make changes to press releases posted on the Internet weeks and months ago, CNBC has found.

The changes occurred in two press releases from the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program.

Both were changed to remove the name of a company that has received negative press attention in recent days, SunPower, and replace it with the name of another company, NRG Energy.

In the April case, the Department of Energy loan programs office announced in a press release on April 12 “conditional commitment” to a $1.187 billion loan guarantee to support the California Valley Solar Ranch project, which it said was “sponsored by SunPower Corporation.”

But that release was later changed on one website to say the project was “sponsored by NRG Energy.” The date on the release remained “April 12, 2011.”

In a second instance of retroactive press release revision, someone changed a release from September 30 that announced the finalization of the California Solar Generation project. In an early version of the September 30 press release, the government said the project was “sponsored by SunPower.” That was later changed to “sponsored by NRG Energy.”

In a statement, a spokesman for the Department of Energy said that the changes were made by outside contractors for the department responsible for maintaining the Loan Programs Office website.

“The only website that changed was a separately maintained loan program webpage that is managed by support services contractors,” the spokesman said. “While updating the project fact sheet to reflect the changes in the ownership of the California Valley Solar Ranch project, those contractors inadvertently changed the news bulletins posted on the LPO website.”

UPDATE: On Wednesday evening, a Department of Energy spokesman said that the press releases had been returned to their original content as a result of CNBC’s inquiry about the changes.

 

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A federal prosecutor said Thursday that the government has recovered only a third of the $9 million that authorities charge a Perry Hall businessman with taking from his customers in a massive biofuel fraud scheme.

Hailey, 33, was charged last week with wire fraud, money laundering and violating the federal Clean Air Act in what could be the beginning of a government crackdown on abuse and fraud in the lucrative trading of renewable fuel credits. Oil companies are required by federal law to either produce a certain quantity of renewable fuels or buy credits to satisfy their quotas.

Authorities charge that Hailey generated more than 21 million gallons’ worth of “renewable identification numbers,” or RINs, for biodiesel, but produced no actual fuel from used restaurant cooking oil, as he claimed. Investigators contend that he spent millions from the sale of bogus credits on a five-bedroom house, a fleet of luxury cars and trucks, and diamond jewelry. If convicted on all three charges, Hailey could receive a combined maximum sentence of 32 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more of this kind of thing.

Sigh.

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The Department of Energy announced last week its 80% guarantee for a $168.9 million loan for Granite Reliable Power Wind Project in New Hampshire.  The joint venture is 75% owned by a firm created by a Canadian subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management of New York,  Brookfield Renewable Power Fund.

Why would a subsidiary of a (very) profitable company that’s backed by a $2.7 billion private fund need federal loan guarantees?  The New Hampshire Union Leader asks:

Granite Reliable’s wind farm is not proven, and Granite Reliable is a limited liability company, which provides broad investor protection if the company goes down. If the wind farm flops, and investors cut their losses, the taxpayers stand to lose $135 million. What is the justification for risking $135 million in public money, especially on a company with access to so much private cash?

By the way, another subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, Brookfield Office Properties, is the owner of One Liberty Plaza in New York, along with the adjacent Zuccotti Park (unofficial home of Occupy Wall Street).

And as Business Insider reports, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s longtime domestic partner Diana Taylor is on the Board of Directors at Brookfield Office Properties along with John E. Zuccotti himself.

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