Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.The story continued when an ABC News affiliate in San Diego did a follow up story with some very clever investigative reporting. Who would have ever thought of actually going to an office of one of the companies that are receiving billions of taxpayer dollars?
So Where Are the Jobs?
"Most of the jobs are going overseas," said Russ Choma at the Investigative Reporting Workshop. He analyzed which foreign firms had accepted the most stimulus money. "According to our estimates, about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas, and maybe a couple hundred have been created in the U.S."
New Wind Farms in the U.S. Do Not Bring Jobs
ABC News Reports, Jonathan Karl, Feb. 9, 2010:
A-Power Energy Generation Systems is one example. The company lists a downtown San Diego office suite as its business and mailing address in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, that office suite is vacant.These stories were originated by an organization called the "Investigative Reporting Workshop", which is affiliated with the School of Communication at American University. They have an article on the website that adds more fuel to the fire: "Renewable energy money still going abroad, despite criticism from Congress, by Russ Choma, February 8th, 2010.
Foreign Firms Benefitting From U.S. Green Energy Funding, KGTV 10, February 8, 2010
video and article on same page
The Workshop was the first to report last October that more than 80 percent of the first $1 billion in grants to wind energy companies went to foreign firms. Since then, the administration has stopped making announcements of new grants to wind, solar and geothermal companies, but has handed out another $1 billion, bringing the total given out to $2.1 billion and the total that went to companies based overseas to more than 79 percent.Of course the Chinese stuck their hooks into Texas also.
In fact, the largest grant made under the program so far, a $178 million payment on Dec. 29, went to Babcock & Brown, a bankrupt Australian company that built a Texas wind farm using turbines made by a Japanese company.
The same day the Workshopâ€™s first reported on this story a consortium of American and Chinese companies announced a deal to build a $1.5 billion wind farm in Texas, using imported Chinese turbines. Company officials said they planned to collect $450 million in stimulus grants for the project. The deal would create dozens of jobs in the U.S. and thousands in China. The news provoked outrage among lawmakers, particularly after the Energy Department seemed to take a neutral stance, declining to say whether it would reject such an application.The tragedy with all of this is that most of the money isn't going to go to home grown crooks — it's going to fund scams in other countries. Americans will get a few of the leftover crumbs when and if the foreign companies decide to hire workers to install the equipment, but even then there is no guarantee that they will hire Americans — remember the Texas bridge welders from Italy?
If Obama and Congress insist of throwing billions of dollars around, why aren't they making sure that the only pigs at the trough are U.S. citizens?