White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked Wednesday whether the Obama administration "dropped the ball" on Fisker Automotive, the flailing electric car company, due to reports that the Energy Department was warned as early as June of 2010 Fisker was failing to meet its goals, yet didn't suspend the loan until a year later.
Carney called the "broader array" of investments in alternative energy "positive and necessary" even though the government's misadventures in venture capitalism have cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
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"I think that the necessity that we have as a nation to move forward on investments in alternative energy, to make sure that we develop the industries of the future in this country … as opposed to importing alternative energy in a manner that we for so long imported fossil fuel energy, is absolutely the right thing to do, and this president's committed to it," Carney said. "The fact is the broader array of investments have been positive and necessary, and the overall need to invest in alternative technologies in the energy field is essential for our energy independence in the future and our national security interests."
Carney dismissed the documents warning the Energy Department about Fisker as a "false controversy," but history shows this was yet another in a long line of green energy flops championed by this administration.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Fisker's long-range luxury car, called the Karma, cost more than $100,000 but was saddled with a failing grade from Consumer Reports, faced multiple technical problems, and was temporarily halted after Fisker’s battery manufacturer, A123 Systems, went bankrupt:
Fisker was one of several companies to receive millions in direct loans from the Department of Energy under the Alternative Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program.
The department approved a $529 million dollar loan to Fisker to support the development of two different electric cars, the Karma and Nina. Only a portion of the loan was delivered after the company failed to meet development milestones.
It is now facing a lawsuit from workers arguing they did not receive the legally mandated forewarning of their firing.
The best-known example of a green energy failure was Solyndra, the solar panel firm that received a $535-million loan in 2009 and went under two years later. Critics slammed the lost investment as a prime example of crony capitalism by the Obama administration.
Solopower, a California-based solar panel company which received hundreds of million dollars in federal and state incentives, was reported last month to be struggling with production delays and layoffs.
Obama earlier touted A123 Systems, a battery maker that received more than $250 million in taxpayer funding, as a successful example of public investment in green energy, but it went bankrupt last fall.
Abound Solar and First Solar also have floundered despite huge funding from taxpayers.