Department Of Energy

Tesla Announces Offering Of Common Stock, Convertible Notes

Several moments ago, TSLA (hardly) surprised the world when it filed an open-ended S-3 (Shelf) statement, as many had expected it was only a matter of time before the company used the recent surge in its stock price to sell shares. Then, a few moments later, TSLA once again (hardly) surprised the world when it announced a joint $450 million convertible bond and 2.7 million share common stock offering. And because a dilution is not a dilution if the founder is participating in the common offering (buying his own equity at an unprecedented price to "anchor" it as a benchmark- sure why not - after all he is making much on all the other equity he has in the firm that he is not buying, as a result), the stock is trading up after hours.

Guest Post: The Obama Administration's Natural Gas Policy Is Tragically Misguided

The Obama administration has come out in support of the idea of exporting U.S. natural gas. This stance is counterproductive and shortsighted, and if followed, it will prove harmful to domestic manufacturing (i.e., value generation) and to future generations of Americans. While exporting natural gas would certainly prove to be an economic boon for a very select minority of companies and individuals, it makes no sense from an energy standpoint and undermines our national interests. All it will do is enrich a few while boosting prices for all domestic consumers and shortchanging the energy and environmental inheritance we pass along to our children. The time has come to give greater weighting to energy matters than to economic and political desires. To continue to be energetically wasteful at this time in history, when so much data is telling us that the effluent of our activities is measurably altering our support systems, is beyond embarrassing.  It's tragic.

Elon Musk's SolarCity Sues Government For More Subsidies

When you donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-election campaigns and push more hundreds of thousands of dollars through lobbying, you expect a little more back than the measly $95.6 million that SolarCity received in stimulus grants. The company, chaired by none other than Elon Musk, had applied for $325 million in federal aid in the same program that 'helped' Solyndra (and Tesla) and is now, according to the Wall Street Journal, suing the government for underpayment of green-energy subsidies. It seems SolarCity are using the M.A.D. defense, claiming that "they could lose millions more," if the government fails to provide the subsidies they asked for. As National Review details, SolarCity is one of the solar companies that is being investigated by the IRS after Treasury found that it "repeatedly overstated the value of its investments." So far the Treasury has paid out over $17 billion in green-energy stimulus grants and this case is not without precedent as a number of other renewable-energy firms are set to file suit.

Thatcher's Legacy

As 'The Iron Lady' is laid to rest today, we thought a look back at 'economic' legacy was worthwhile. As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, average U.K. public spending was lower under Margaret Thatcher than under David Cameron while the average quarterly economic growth rate was 0.6 percent compared with 0.1 percent today. However, unemployment averaged 9.5 percent under Thatcher, the highest rate seen during the stewardship of any post-war U.K. leader, despite her stalling of the 1970s downward economic spiral. From the Poll Tax riots to mining-union busting to surviving bombings, commitment to brokering peace with the IRA, and winning the Falklands' War, there were many sides to this lady, and perhaps in death she has some lessons for investors today, "To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects." The longest serving prime minister in 150 years is receiving a ceremonial funeral with full military honors today as her legacy continues to divide the country.

$529 Million In Federal Funding And All Jobs Destroyed Or Lost

Pop quiz:

Q. What is the fiscal multiplier on $529 in government stimulus?

A. If you are Fisker Automotive, zero.

While the terminal fate of the federally-subdizied car company was no secret to anyone, there were some questions when this latest example of idiotic government "capital allocation" would get Solyndraed. The answer is now.

Radioactive Waste Is Leaking From Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation

And now for a quick lesson in government spending: in the 1940s the federal government created the now mostly decommissioned Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation as part of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. During the Cold War, the project was expanded to include nine nuclear reactors and five large plutonium processing complexes, which produced plutonium for most of the 60,000 weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Sadly, many of the early safety procedures and waste disposal practices were inadequate, and government documents have since confirmed that Hanford's operations released significant amounts of radioactive materials into the air and the Columbia River. The weapons production reactors were decommissioned at the end of the Cold War, but the decades of manufacturing left behind 53 million US gallons of high-level radioactive waste, an additional 25 million cubic feet of solid radioactive waste, 200 square miles of contaminated groundwater beneath the site and occasional discoveries of undocumented contaminations that slow the pace and raise the cost of cleanup. The Hanford site represents two-thirds of the nation's high-level radioactive waste by volume. Today, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States and is the focus of the nation's largest environmental cleanup. The government spends $2 billion each year on Hanford cleanup — one-third of its entire budget for nuclear cleanup nationally. The cleanup is expected to last decades. It turns out that as Krugman would say, the government was not spending nearly enough, and moments ago Governor Jay Inslee said that six underground radioactive waste tanks at the nation's most contaminated nuclear site are leaking.

This Moment Of "Electrifying" Football Comedy Brought To You By The "Greenest Game" In Superbowl History

While it is now unanimous that Solyndra just won the funniest ad of the Superbowl by a mile, while we await for electricity to return to the Superdome (a stadium which has seen some $471 million in taxpayer funds since Katrina, and apparently not nearly enough) as the Boeing battery used to power up Super Bowl 47 is replaced, we wish to bring to our readers this message of supreme ironic poetry delivered by none other than the US Department of Energy.

Guest Post: The Siren Song Of The Robot

The quest for cheap energy and cheap labor is a conquering human urge, one that has played out with notable ferocity starting with the Industrial Revolution. The introduction of coal into British manufacturing, and the more recent outsourcing of Western manufacturing to Asia, have marked key thresholds in this ongoing progression. But despite the harvesting of additional productivity gains from the more recent revolution in information technology, the suite of macro data suggests that the rate of advancement in physical production has slowed, notably, in the past thirty years. Seen in this light, the greatest gains to global industrial production were probably enjoyed from the late 18th century (when coal extraction and use began in earnest) into the mid-20th century (when oil reached broad distribution). In contrast, computers, the Internet, and the leveraging of developing world labor might eventually be seen as the finishing touches on this great industrial wave.

Harry Reid Picking Winners In Fiscal Cliff Deal

Buried deep in the bowels of the much-heralded last-minute fiscal-cliff deal, that saved us from a fate worse than death and raised taxes on 77% of Americans, was a quiet little provision, inserted at the last minute, that sharply slashed Medicare payments to brain-tumor radiation provider Elekta by 58% while leaving its main competitor Varian's payments unchanged. As the WSJ reports, the provision was put through by none other than Harry Reid - who has a 'deep relationship' with Varian (the winner). Whether crony capitalism is alive-and-well is up for debate - as Varian suggests this 'levels the playing field' but it is the fact that Varian beefed up its outside lobbyists to 18 (from 10) and the provision was not added until the last day suggests this stinks. Once again, it appears, our government is picking winners - and losers (with Elekta as a foreign company unable to participate financially in American elections). As the WSJ notes, the insert looks like the kind of provision helping a specific company or industry that lawmakers have repeatedly vowed to halt. Nonetheless, even in the budget bill tackling the so-called fiscal cliff, lawmakers found time to craft such provisions.