Department Of Energy

2 Refineries, 3 Nuclear Sites, And 6.25 Million Residents Still Dark

The US Department of Energy has just released their latest storm damage report for Sandy and it does not make for good reading. Over 50% of New Jersey residents remain without electricity and almost 2 million people in New York state alone. Port Reading (Hess) and Linden (Phillips) refineries remain shutdown (about 308,000 barrels per day or 26% capacity offline), and 3 nuclear sites (Salem, Indian Point, and Nine Mile Point) remain offline and many of the others are at dramatically lowered output (only 52% of capacity online!). Not good...

In Another Blow For "Green Industry" A123 Files For Bankruptcy After Collecting Hundreds Of Millions In Government Grants

That troubled battery-maker A123 has just filed for bankruptcy (and no, in this case bankruptcy is not equal with deleveraging) should not be news to anyone who has followed the US government subsidized trainwreck of a company (especially since as we updated yesterday it was known it would miss its bond payment today). Well actually we take that back. The bankruptcy may come as a surprise to the president. Recall that Obama called A123 Chief Executive Officer David Vieau and then-Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm during a September 2010 event celebrating the opening of the plant in Livonia, Michigan, that the company received the U.S. grant to help build. Surprise and epic humiliation that is. "This is about the birth of an entire new industry in America -- an industry that’s going to be central to the next generation of cars," Obama said in the phone call, according to a transcript provided by the White House. "When folks lift up their hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines and batteries that are stamped: Made in America." Needless to say if the car is a flaming Fisker Karma or Chevy Volt, the hoods may be too hot to lift but that's another story. Most importantly, it will come as a big loss to the firm's equity holders (who have already lost their entire investment so hardly a surprise) creditors, who will likely be wiped out almost entirely (listed below), but most importantly US taxpayers, who funded the firm not on one occasion as conventional wisdom will have it, but with four distinct Federal and State agency grants, as is highlighted in the first day motion affidavit by David Pyrstash in support of the Chapter 11 petition.

DoE Dumps On Solyndra's Liquidation Plan

Just like a bad case of crabs, no matter how much you try to wash it away, it just keeps coming back to bite you. The U.S. Energy Department objected to Solyndra LLC’s bankruptcy plan, saying it fails to protect the government’s interest in collateral; via Bloomberg:

  • *DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY OBJECTS TO SOLYNDRA'S BANKRUPTCY PLAN
  • *SOLYNDRA HAS SPENT VIRTUALLY ALL SALE PROCEEDS, U.S. SAYS
  • *SOLYNDRA PLAN FAILS TO PROTECT COLLATERAL INTEREST, DOE SAYS

We are going out on a limb here but the over/under for a Solyndra 'recovery vs Greece 'recovery' is going the wrong way for the US government we suspect.

US Nuclear 'Fort Knox' Cracked By 82-Year-Old Nun

It's the weekend so forgive us this modest sidetrack but this 'Onion-esque' story was just too good to ignore.The company at the center of the Olympics' security debacle, G4S (whose directors resigned just yesterday over the "humiliating shambles") has gone one better. As Reuters reports, Megan Rice - an 82-year-old nun - cut perimeter fences and reached the outer wall where enriched uranium was stored at the US Government's nuclear storage 'Fort Knox' in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Can you guess who was responsible for the 'outsourced' security that enabled this SNAFU? G4S' subsidiary Babcock & Wilcox Co. (B&W). Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said the incident was an important "wake-up call" for the entire nuclear complex. An investigation last month found a security camera had been broken for about six months and was part of a backlog of repairs needed for security at the facility. Several top-ranking NNSA officials have been 'reassigned' (Gulag?) but have no fear as B&W have stated that the active union workers involved will all be employed elsewhere. One more example of the ineptitude of government oversight, the unintended consequence of crony capitalism, or simply another 'fool-me-once...'/unpunished debacle?

Guest Post: Europe Has Had Enough, But Can It Stand Up To Gazprom?

Gazprom has Europe’s natural gas market in a stranglehold and Europe is attempting to fight back, first with a raid last year on the Russian giant’s offices and then with a probe launched earlier this week against its allegedly illicit efforts to control the EU’s natural gas supplies. The bottom line is that the same natural gas revolution in the US, which was enabled by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), is now threatening to loosen Gazprom’s noose on the EU, and Gazprom simply won’t have it. Let’s not pretend that energy companies are clean and that governments aren’t using them to forward nefarious geopolitical objectives (US multinationals in Northern Iraq, for instance). The point is not to paint Gazprom as the ultimate evil in energy. This is about Europe, and the EU’s “Mommy Dearest” struggle with Gazprom, which is undoubtedly playing an underhanded energy-politics game worthy of the most sinister of accolades.

Fisker Lights Fire Under CEO Post, Hires Former Chevy Volt Head

Fisker, whose Karma superburningcar made headlines two days ago for being the latest addition to America's New Spontaneously Combusting Green Normal, has decided to double down on that elusive spark, and has released the incendiary news that it has hired as CEO none other than head of that other hot selling eco-car, the Chevy Volt. From Reuters: "Fisker Automotive named the former head of General Motors Co's (GM.N) Chevrolet Volt program as chief executive on Tuesday, marking the second time the troubled, government-funded start-up has replaced its top executive this year. Tony Posawatz, who oversaw the development of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid for six years before he left GM this summer, will replace outgoing CEO Tom LaSorda. "I've been recruiting him for quite a while and certainly had some people assist me in giving him the full story," LaSorda said during a conference call with reporters. "He's come in with eyes wide open."" Hopefully he's also come in with a fire extinguisher.

As Another Fisker Karma Spontaneously Combusts, "Green" Dreams Go Up In Smoke

Several months ago it seemed that not a day could pass without someone, somewhere making fun of GM's biggest post-bankruptcy flaming failure to date: the Chevy Volt (gross and net of channel stuffing). Of course, since it was all in the name of ecological progress and carbon footprint reduction, most media observers let it go as merely one of the peculiar hurdles on the way to an utopian future in which America would no longer rely on crude imports from evil petroleum cartels. The time has come to redirect ridicule to that other $102,00+ MSRP object of electric aspiration, and henceforth - mockery: the Fisker Karma supercar.

Frontrunning: May 31

  • Dublin in final push for EU treaty Yes vote (FT)
  • Spain cries for help: is Berlin listening? (Reuters)
  • Crisis draws squatters to Spain's empty buildings (Reuters)
  • EU World Bank Chief Urges Euro Bonds (WSJ)
  • but... EU: Current Plan Is Not To Let ESM Directly Recapitalize Banks (WSJ)
  • Graff pulls Hong Kong IPO, latest victim of weak markets (Reuters) - was MS underwriter?
  • EU Weighs Direct Aid to Banks as Antidote to Crisis (Bloomberg)
  • Dewey's bankruptcy: Let the rumble begin (Dewey)
  • More are cutting off Greek trade: Trade credit insurers balk at Greek risk (FT)
  • Rosengren wants more Fed easing; Dudley, Fisher don't (Reuters)
  • EU throws Spain two potential lifelines (Reuters)
  • Fed's Bullard says more quantitative easing unlikely for now, warns on Europe (Reuters)