More green energy shoots fertilized by billions in taxpayer dollars are turning brown. Last fall, I dropped by the Ener1 manufacturing facility where it makes EnerDel lithium-ion battery packs just outside of Indianapolis to get a sense of how the electric car industry was evolving. As I reported in my article, Revving Up Electric Cars with Government Cash, Ener1 was the recipient of a $118 million federal grant, plus state and local incentives worth $70 million. The good news for taxpayers is that the company has received only $55 million from the Department of Energy so far. At the time of my visit Ener1's stock was selling for about $5 per share. Now it sells for 9 cents per share and has been delisted from NASDAQ. The Department of Energy says that it is monitoring the situation.
Addendum: Vice President Joe Biden visited the Ener1 plant in January of this year where he declared:
"It's not the government doing this. It's the free-enterprise system," Biden said. "We're providing seed money, one-time deposit, man, so we can spur additional investment."
Brings to mind the old joke about a stockbroker who invests his client's money until it's all gone.