Several weeks ago, Solyndra became the biggest blight of Obama’s green energy initiative not long after questions were raised about the cash dumped into Evergreen Solar which too ultimately failed, but it doesn’t and won’t end at solar. On Sunday night, Beacon Power (BCON), which makes flywheel technology to recycle unused power, filed for bankruptcy protection.
Granted Beacon’s loan guarantee was less than a 1/10th of Solyndra’s at $43 million of which $39 million was used to finance the 20MW Stephentown, New York. The DOE notes that this plant is still in operation. Some are calling the Beacon bankruptcy a real shame because the technology is beneficial and the company may have been able to survive if it was able to raise capital and build another plant. It could have also been helped by the recent FERC ruling which changes the way grid operators pay companies that provide electricity regulation (grabbing power at times of slow demand and giving it back when demand is high). The ruling could have doubled Beacon revenues but time ran out.
Said one analyst: “The sad part is what they’re doing is really cool and I think it’s really needed and I think it’ll absolutely benefit” grid operators. It would be a shame if they were not able to attract the financing to keep them moving this forward.”
As the green energy failures begin to pile up which really shouldn’t be unexpected in a developing industry, questions about the DOE’s ability to properly fund (or whether they should at all) the green energy movement continue to pile up as well. It will only get worse particularly if US lithium battery maker Ener1 (HEV) files for bankruptcy which could be any day now. The company was delisted from the Nasdaq on Friday. The DOE is “monitoring the situation.”