A Massachusetts company that received a $43 million Energy Department loan guarantee last year filed for bankruptcy Sunday, a step certain to fuel criticism of federal green energy financing in the wake of the solar company Solyndra’s collapse.
Beacon Power Corp., which develops energy storage systems, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.
Beacon Power had received a federal loan guarantee to help build an energy storage plant in Stephentown, N.Y., that began operating in January. The Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank provided the loan.
Beacon sought bankruptcy protection two days after the White House ordered an independent 60-day evaluation of the Energy Department's loan programs aimed at ensuring effective management and monitoring.
The review, conducted by a former Treasury Department official, will include examination of how Beacon’s project is performing going forward, and whether there are additional steps that can be taken to protect taxpayers, according to the Obama administration.
The Beacon bankruptcy comes roughly two months after the California solar panel maker Solyndra, which had received a $535 million Energy Department (DOE) loan guarantee in 2009, went belly up and laid off 1,100 workers.
Solyndra’s collapse unleashed a torrent of GOP-led attacks on the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program.
Solyndra and the broader loan guarantee program are under investigation in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“This latest failure is a sharp reminder that DOE has fallen well short of delivering the stimulus jobs that were promised, and now taxpayers find themselves millions of more dollars in the hole,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), the GOP’s point man on the Solyndra investigation and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement to The Hill and other outlets.
“Unfortunately for the American taxpayers, I am deeply concerned that other DOE programs could follow which goes to the heart of the President's flawed economic program,” he said.
Stearns is chairman of the Energy panel’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, which is expected to vote Thursday to subpoena internal White House communications about Solyndra.
Energy Department spokesman Damien LaVera said there are “many protections for the taxpayer” in the agreement with Beacon Power.
What protections? That money is gone...flushed down the crony capitalism craphole. Obama rails against Wall Street with its "risky investments." But look at what he has done with money that is not his! He has used our money recklessly. #OccupyWhiteHouse