Ener1 Goes Bankrupt, Becomes Second or Third Next Solyndra

After spending $55 million of a $118.5 million grant from Stephen Chu’s Department of Energy, Ener1, an Indianapolis-based maker of batteries whose facilities were toured by Reason’s Ronald Bailey in 2010, has declared bankruptcy

Ener1, which got the grant for its EnerDel subsidiary, is another candidate in the increasingly competitive race to become the Next Solyndra. Bailey took that bet in early November, but I believe the title had already been won by the Bay State’s own Beacon Power the day before Bailey’s pick. However, since Beacon only spent $39.5 million of its DOE-guaranteed loan, Ener1 has a higher cumulative score. 

One thing we know. It’s going to be a long time before we see the last Solyndra

Although Ener1 received taxpayer money from the Obama Administration and President Obama unwisely tried to advance his green pork agenda in the State of the Union address, the president did not, as has been suggested elsewhere, single out Ener1 in the speech. The company he referred to is Energetx Composites, a maker of turbine blades headquartered in Holland Michigan, the Tulip City. 

Here are the president’s reference to battery companies: 

In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world's leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled....

I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising. 

These could be construed as references to Ener1, as Obama only mentioned a “California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels” in his 2010 speech. This seems unlikely, because Ener1’s poor condition has been known at least since November. Then again, I get the feeling the president doesn’t read Reason. 

Here is the reference to Energetx, which Obama praised for creating jobs rather than for being a viable business: 

When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan. Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts. Today, it's hiring workers like Bryan, who said, "I'm proud to be working in the industry of the future."

An Energetx spokesman tells me the company is up and running and has no derogatory financial information to report. He would not comment on Energetx’ (‘s?) profitability, but said the company had sold more of its turbine blades in 2011 than in 2010. 

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, also works the State of the Union angle: 

Only two days after President Obama highlighted federal investments in high-tech batteries in his State of the Union address, Ener1 joined Solyndra, Beacon Power, Evergreen Solar, SpecrtaWatt, and AES in bankruptcy – all recipients of taxpayer dollars.  We have a national debt exceeding $15 trillion, and the Administration is borrowing money from China to waste on subsidies for companies that are not viable.  It is interesting that Ener1 made the filing after the President touted subsidies for batteries given that the Administration asked Solyndra to hold off the announcement of job losses until after the 2010 elections.

Update: Stearns keeps the fun coming, revealing enthusiastic White House support for Ener1, a now-embarrassing ARRA stimulus brag, and the inevitable Kinsleyan gaffe from Vice President Joe Biden:  

Vice President Biden visited Ener1 one year ago, January 26, 2011, the day after the President pledged in his State of the Union address to put one million advanced technology vehicles on the road by 2015 with the help of taxpayer funding. On several occasions, Biden called the company “Enron one” during his visit, invoking a seemingly unintentional but ultimately prescient reference to the collapse of the energy giant Enron. The company was also ranked number 67 in the White House Report100 Recovery Projects that are Changing America.

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  • sarcasmic||

    Obama unwisely tried to advance his green pork agenda

    Mmmmmmmm. Nothing quite like green pork.

    *barf*

  • Pip||

    I'm cool with green ham.

  • Loki||

    But what about green eggs and ham?

  • ||

    I will not eat them.

  • Sam||

    I am.

  • ||

    Then again, I get the feeling the president doesn’t read Reason.

    Then again, I get the feeling the president doesn't mind lying through his teeth.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Chu Capital. Worst. VC firm. Ever.

  • ||

    US Navy is going solar. A 13.8 Mw plant.

    http://idealab.talkingpointsme.....fpnewsfeed

    Markets are always right - but stupid in the interim.

  • ||

    The Navy is going to set up a solar power plant that will show a profit? Tell me more!

  • Paul||

    Wasn't someone here posting about the Military setting up 'green forward bases' or some such thing? This is like the questionable idea that just won't die.

  • ||

    So we've got nuclear power everywhere because the Navy has that on their ships too, right?

    "The military does it" is hardly proof of sound economics.

  • ||

    The US military is the #1 consumer of energy in the world.

    The private sector in the US has failed to provide energy needs at a low cost. Its rational to self supply.

  • Paul||

    The private sector in the US has failed to provide energy needs at a low cost. Its rational to self supply.

    That's called a price signal. The military tends to be blind to those. Can the military produce green energy at a net gain?

    By what metric will the government build a field of solar panels and windmills that will cost significantly less than what the private sector can do?

    Or wait, because it's the military, the subsidies are built in?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: shrike,

    The private sector in the US has failed to provide energy needs at a low cost.


    You're such a humorist.

    From the article:

    Putting that concept into action, the Navy and Marine Corps have been integrating renewable energy and other new energy strategies into an experimental forward operating base in Afghanistan. As described by the Marines, "our priority is to save lives by reducing the number of Marines at risk on the road hauling fuel and water."


    I am reminded of the assurances made by Herr Goering that his Luftwaffe could provide the 6th Army (cut off and surrounded in the city Stalingrad) with everything it would need.

    The above intention sounds just as plausible, the ultimate fate for both armies just as assured.

  • Ice Nine||

    The Green Machine - keeping Afghanistan green.

  • ||

    The private sector in the US has failed to provide energy needs at a low cost.

    "Low cost" relative to what?

  • Paul||

    I like the non-sequitir title of this article:

    As GOP Pushes Keystone XL Oil Pipeline, Navy Pushes Solar Power

    But anyway, the Navy is going to plaster their latest super-carrier with solar cells and run... a couple of microwaves?

    And what the fuck is this shit?

    It’s also worth noting that the groundbreaking at China Lake coincided with last week’s Army Net Zero Energy Installations Conference in Chicago, which highlighted the Army’s progress toward transitioning out of oil dependency.

    Did I read that right? The army is "transitioning out of oil dependency?"

    Who writes this shit? More importantly, who believes it when the words formulate in their minds?

    What, we're going to see M1A1 Abrams tanks charging across the battlefield as Plug-in hybrids?

  • DK||

    New US Military Motto: We'll only attack you while it's sunny as long as you only attack us while it's sunny.

  • Brett L||

    "What, we're going to see M1A1 Abrams tanks charging across the battlefield as Plug-in hybrids?"

    Alright, boys, we've got 100 miles to kick ass, that's total not linear, so no fucking around or dodging crunchies, civilian, friendly, or enemy. After that, hopefully, the solar power stations will work and we can be charged up and ready to go in 2-3 days.

  • Tonio||

    Yes, the greenies are using our military as a laboratory for their green energy dreams. Expect this to get worse.

    I think this means that the dems are now firmly in the big military booster club.

    So when we're paying 10x market price for organic jet fuel, that's a lot less positions we can fill.

    Insert torrent of cursing here.

  • Killersontherun||

    And it only seems like yesterday that the democrats discovered that soldiers are government employees. Now they are coddling them like sweet little newborns who can do no wrong while they protect them from the big, bad private sector wolf.

  • ||

    Who cares, as long as it "creates jobs"?

  • Shocked||

    How many of those military jobs could be saved with those funds being used to buy organic jet fuel and such? That arguement could make a few lib's heads explode?

  • juris imprudent||

    You were thinking that the civilians in the Dept of Army aren't political appointees?

  • Brett L||

    Well, different valuation. Electricity in the Army isn't nearly as fungible. When your choice is diesel generators and protecting the supply line that generates or solar, it could well be cheaper and more reliable.

  • Brett L||

    With that said, I have no fucking clue why the Nucular Navy would need solar electric.

  • Paul||

    With current solar technology, there is no fast-setup, highly mobile solar electric solution that would power a forward base in a combat zone reliably. None. I can power specific devices with small solar panels... who am I kidding, no you can't. You can only charge batteries with solar panels. And batteries big enough to handle anything significant get heavy fast and are probably not as reliable.

    A generator can be maintained in the toughest conditions with a half-decent diesel mechanic. And the generator can be buried underground away from bullets, stray shrapnel etc. Solar? Not so much.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: shrike,

    US Navy is going solar. A 13.8 Mw plant.


    Next, the US Navy will go back to using galleys.

  • ||

    If they could get away with it, the military would be all nuke. I mean soldiers-carrying-nuclear-reactors-on-their-backs nuke.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Pro Libertate,

    Or a proton pack

  • ||

    Never! Unlicensed!

  • cynical||

    Well, they're working on power armor...

  • cynical||

    Short response: Yes, the military doesn't have a track record of purchasing billions of dollars worth of shit that is useless for winning wars, due to lobbying from the well-connected. /sarcasm

    Longer response: To the extent that this isn't simple corruption (bear in mind that military lobbying was one of the facets of the Solyndra scandal), the military's primary motivator is retaining basic functionality in a worst-case scenario, not optimizing the efficiency of resource usage under normal conditions. It's not a question of who is right, they're solving different problems altogether.

    Of course, under such dire circumstances, the government would likely start rationing energy heavily. I suspect there is enough renewable energy in the U.S. that the most critical functions of society (hospitals, communications, prisons, bureaucracy, vacations for the First Lady, etc.) would still be served, so it's arguably pointless even with that consideration.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Verasun went bankrupt a while back. But that was ethanol and progressives have already successfully distanced themselves from that failure of planning the economy.

  • Paul||

    From Ron's linked article:

    Revving Up Electric Cars With Government Cash
    We'll never know if the electric car industry would have been viable without subsidies.

    Uhh, yeah, yeah we will.

  • tarran||

    If you are losing money on every unit you sell, selling an increasing number of units is not a good thing.

  • Jason Hockeymask||

    Haven't you ever heard of a "loss leader"? Sheesh.

  • Paul||

    Yeah I've heard of Solyndra, what of it?

  • Jason Hockeymask||

    8-)

  • ||

    After we've sucked them in with cheap solar panels, we'll fuck them over a barrel on sunlight costs.

    With our new sun-blocking shield!

  • fish||

    Monte Burns tried that in Season 6. They pulled it down and crushed part of Shelbyville.

    Many cheers were heard.

  • Jason Hockeymask||

    First Solyndra. Now Ener1.

    WTF is it with these names? No wonder they go belly up.

  • Brett L||

    Well, sure, the first thing you do with OPM in the startup game is brand your product. If its all your money, you end up Hockeymask, LLC and a clip-art logo.

  • Oso Politico||

    I'm 'enery the 1st I am,
    'enery the 1st I am, I am...

  • Sudden||

    I'm in the same industry as the failure next door,
    It's been subsidized and gone bankrupt several times before.

  • Old Mexican||

    Ener1 Goes Bankrupt, Becomes Second or Third Next Solyndra


    Noooo! Not possible! Just when we were so close to achieving total energy independence by turning the whole of the US into a sunflower field!

  • kinnath||

    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/2.....alize_what’s_happening_to_him/

    Steve Kornacki says that Newt's Surge II has crested and is starting to recede.

    I've never been happier with anything I've read at Salon ;-)

  • Barney Frank||

    Time for another Santorum surge!

  • kinnath||

    Google News is putting up articles that says Ricky is running out of money and is desperate.

  • Barney Frank||

    What is this "Ricky" to which you refer?

  • Jerry||

    What is this stuff about Santorum and Gingrich not being on enough ballots to meet the required delegates for victory? And then the media dares to ask only Ron Paul on why he can't be victorious...

  • ||

    Maybe. But it is Salon. That is like Slate for stupid people. So I take it with a grain of salt.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Is it possible that Bailey might have had something to do with NE1 going tits up? Hey, I'm just asking questions here.

  • Paul||

    but said the company had sold more of its turbine blades in 2011 than in 2010.

    If they're like Solyndra, they're selling each one at a loss, so their losses could be construed as increasing.

  • Old Man Winter||

    What we lose in negative margins, we'll make up for in volume.

  • Shocked||

    "but said the company had sold more of its turbine blades in 2011 than in 2010."

    So they lost many faster in 2011 than 2010.

  • Shocked||

    Need to read slower. Sorry for the redundancy.

  • sarcasmic||

    O.T. Kelly Brook likes coconuts.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs.....ikini.html

  • Pip||

    Sarah's prettier.

  • ||

    Sarah what?

  • Pip||

    She is a young woman who works in retail in Minneapolis. I have tried for years and have yet to see a prettier woman. Anywhere. Ever. If you are ever in Minneapolis, head downtown. You can't miss her.

  • ||

    There was a gal like that in Arlington a few years back that I kind of became acquainted with because she was my sister's pal, and she's a restaurant manager, and she kind of looks about seven times better than the best ever supermodel. In every possible way. But she got married, so I kind of got it off my mind. You should, too. It seems like you're obsessing. It'll kill you. You might even start stalking. And how old is she?

  • Pip||

    I have no idea how old she is. As for stalking, no way. I just like responding to sarcasmic's Daily Mail hot-chick-posts as a way of pointing out that though women like Kelly Brook and Kate Moss are attractive (especially back in the 90's for Kate), all one needs to do is look around to find better.

  • Pip||

    Alternative response:

    Sarah doctor in the house?

  • Perisan Man||

    Kelly! Kelly! Get in sportscar! We go to me house and make the sex!

  • mr simple||

  • Loki||

    Apparently she likes whiny pussies who fake knee injuries during playoff games.

  • ||

    Now that is a bitter Bears fan.

  • ||

    How many type 1 diabetics are starting quarterbacks in the NFL?

    And take the beating that the porous O-line of the Bears permits?

    Some pussy.

  • Killersontherun||

    ^this.

  • ||

    What the fuck's wrong with you, Old Mexican? How can you advocate solar energy when what happens is the light reflects back at the clouds and toxificationates the clouds and makes acid rain that then drops and destroys rainforests and shit. The fact is this: NO energy is permissible. Humanity simply MUST lift the gambol lockdown and live in har[mo]ny with Gaia!

  • Yuno Hoo||

    toxificationate

    That is one powerful word.

    If only it were below 8th-grade level ....

  • ||

    Ener1

    Really? Really really?

  • Paul||

    These are the kinds of names you hear in boilerroom stock operations. Technigen, Ener1, Solyndra...

  • R||

    Initech...

  • ||

    Energetx sounds a lot like Initech. Is Bill Lumburgh the CEO?

  • Brett L||

    No that was Energetickz.

  • ||

    How do you even pronounce that?

    Energy-tex?

    Ener-get-ex?

  • Brett L||

    I was going with ener-jet-ex

  • ||

    InGen from Jurassic Park -- White Indian, White Injun, White InGen -- coincidence, or prehistoric conspiracy?

  • Bill Lumbergh||

    Hello John, whats happening? Ummm, I'm gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk... oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay. We ahh lost some people this week and ah, we sorta need to play catch up.

  • ||

    But we have our new grant from Obama so there is lots of work to do.

  • Milton||

    [mumbling] OK... I'm gonna set the building on fire.

  • Old Mexican||

    8th grade reading comprehension primer:

    I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.


    The power of the mystic battery shall be ours! Ours!

    We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough.


    I agree! For too long we have called tax breaks "subsidies" despite the fact that robbing less can only be construed as a "subsidy" by the intellectually dishonest, the shallow and the economics ignoramus!

  • ||

    We have subsidized oil companies for a century.

    Not counting depreciation deductions, what subsidies is he talking about?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Lower corporate tax rates?

  • Oso Politico||

    There is no way to describe this greenie debacle...oh, yes, there is - FUCK!!!

  • Raston Bot||

    Blades for wind turbines? Good luck getting that variance from the zoning board. The local citizen alliance will be on you like stink on shit. Don't forget the environmental impact statement! Those bats don't kill themselves, ya know.

  • ||

    Those bats don't kill themselves, ya know.

    Sure they do. I'm not catapulting them into the blades.

  • Tex||

    Link to Stearns comments, please

  • ||

    Butch or John or Gerry or Donald?

  • ||

    Is anyone keeping a running total of how much money has been wasted on green energy projects so far by the Obama adminitration?

    How about links from Ener1 to Democratic campaign contributors? Is there a pattern similar to Solyndra?

  • Grammarian Anarchist||

    "He would not comment on Energetx’ (‘s?) profitability, but said the company had sold more of its turbine blades in 2011 than in 2010."

    FYI according to CMOS 16th ed.(7.16), the possessive of proper nouns ending in the letter x is formed using an apostrophe s ('s). The example they give is Malraux's.

  • ||

    The Chicago Manual of Style makes for great bedtime reading. I hope to one day make it past the preface before falling asleep.

  • ||

    The Chicago Manual of Style makes for great bedtime reading. I hope to one day make it past the preface before falling asleep.

  • ||

    I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.

    That's easy to say when you're spending someone else's money, Mr. President.

  • Killersontherun||

    Barack Obama, giving 'inflexible' a new dictionary entry. You would think after these embarrassments, he would change his strategy like a more sensible president, a Clinton say, would. Not Obama. The loyalty he has shown the greens is second only to the loyalty he has shown to the public sector unions.

  • Brett||

    I have no idea what the NEXT next Solyndra will be but with the Volt's problems and the slow death of high speed rail GM and GE have to be somewhere on that list.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    US Navy is going solar. A 13.8 Mw plant

    Has anyone crunched the numbers?

    Insolation under ideal conditions is something like 3kW/m^2. So if their plant was 100% efficient they would need a solar array about 220ftx220ft. As current technology is far from 100%, multiply each side by 3. Now tell me that something the size of 8 football fields is not an inviting target during wartime.

    ... Hobbit

  • Military Genius||

    Son, you underestimate us. We're putting that plant deep underground. Let's see those Jihadinazicommie bastards hit that thing through a quarter mile of solid rock.

  • Jon Hansen||

    The failure of this company should not come as a surprise to anyone. In fact earlier this year I wrote a 2-Part story titled "With the failure of the electric car concept in America what impact will this have on the lithium ion battery global supply chain?" that provides an in-depth look at the sector.

    What is interesting is that this recent failure has little to do with failed policy per say, and more to do with the public's unwillingness to end its longtime love affair with fossil fuel.

    Here are the links to Part 1 (http://wp.me/p4HrB-2Xa) and Part 2 (http://wp.me/p4HrB-2XM).

  • ||

    That's right, it's all OUR fault.

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