Clean energy appears to be a harder sell to Wall Street than Main Street. Ener1, the parent company of a electric car battery maker that received a $118 million grant from the Obama administration, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday.
Ener1 received the grant in 2009 from the Energy Department, and Vice President Joe Biden visited the company’s new battery plant in Indiana last year. It is the third company, after Solyndra Inc. and Beacon Power, to file for bankruptcy after a grant, a loan, or a loan guarantee from the government as part of the stimulus package.
While Solyndra’s collapse, and the revelation that the administration hurried approval of its $528 million loan, have been a black eye on Obama’s attempts to push clean energy, an Energy Department spokesperson indicated that the department still had confidence in the company in spite of the bankruptcy filing. They said that company restructuring would not affect work at the Indiana plant, that they did not anticipate jobs being lost as a result of the bankruptcy, and that additional private investment in the company “demonstrates that the technology has merit.”
Are the three bankruptcies for stimulus-linked clean energy companies merely a coincidence, or are they an indicator that Obama’s energy policies are flawed? Let us know what you think at [email protected].
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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