Monday, September 16, 2013

And, Yes, Even More Green Energy Success!

Brad_in_MA sends this one in. It's from last year, but it's a doozy...

Biomass producer Big Island Carbon files Chapter 7 bankruptcy
Big Island Carbon LLC, which spent some $50 million to build a biomass plant to turn Hawaii-grown macadamia nut shells into granulated activated carbon, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The company, which has not started commercial operations at the Kawaihae plant, has laid off all 25 employees, including CEO Rick Vidgen, who was let go on Oct. 9 along with Chief Operating Officer Fred Baker and Controller Gerald Gruber, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, where the bankruptcy was filed on Nov. 5.
Like Brad said, "in a place like Hawaii where biomass grows like weeds in the warm tropical setting, biomass fuels should be a no brainer". Apparently they couldn't make that work, though, and had to file for bankruptcy before they even got off the ground. Now, here's a big shock:
Big Island Carbon listed secured claims of $16.4 million, which includes a $5 million loan from Synergy Bank in McKinney, Texas, and $11.4 million in principal and interest to Kona Investment Holdings LLC, an entity created by Boston-based Denham Capital Management, which is the project’s majority owner and secured lender.
Hmm. So a Boston based firm drops $11 mil on a vacation home tax write-off, and they're shocked - SHOCKED - to discover that costs simply skyrocket? Now, I'll be charitable and assume that someone ran the numbers and somehow managed to assess that it would be cheaper to build a biomass plant in Hawaii than to ship the raw materials for processing. I mean, I'm sure they weren't just looking for a business-related reason to jet off to Hawaii three times a year or anything...

I think the reason stories like these torque me off so much is that with every green energy company that takes a zillion dollars in loans and then augurs into the ground on fire, it makes it that much harder for legitimate green companies to get funding. It seems like we're hearing about more and more of these companies failing, and it doesn't seem to matter which "alternative" power source it is - biomass, wind power, solar panels; it seems like they all crash and burn in relative short order.

Now, the true believers will tell you that's because "Big Oil" is somehow pulling nefarious strings behind the scene. Surely it couldn't be that they're relying on feelings and scare tactics to sell overpriced goods, could it? As soon as less-expensive Chinese-made solar panels made it to US shores, they lobbied to have insane tariffs placed on those affordable panels so that US companies could remain competitive.

I thought we were looking out for Gaia here, though?

That is all.

1 comment:

notDilbert said...

You mean to tell me that there really are "legitimate green companies" ???????