Another green-tech stimulus recipient files for bankruptcy

In last year’s State of the Union speech, Barack Obama hailed the great investment he made with taxpayer dollars in the manufacturer of advanced solar panels, only to have Solyndra go down the tubes — taking more than a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money with it.  In this year’s SOTU speech, Obama bragged about having sunk money into “partnership” with the private sector to become a world leader in car-battery sector.  Right on time, that “partner” filed for bankruptcy, too:

An Indiana-based energy storage company that received a $118.5 million stimulus-law grant from the Energy Department filed for bankruptcy Thursday.

Ener1 is asking a federal bankruptcy court in New York to approve a plan to restructure the company’s debt and infuse $81 million in equity funding. …

The Energy Department, in 2009, approved a $118.5 million stimulus-law grant for EnerDel, a subsidiary of the company that develops lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. The grant was part of a broader program aimed at promoting the development of electric-vehicle battery technology.

President Obama touted the program in his State of the Union address this year.

“In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries,” he said.

We saw this coming last October, when CBS first reported on Ener1’s shaky financial position.  At that time, the company had spent $53 million of the grant and had pledged to create 1700 jobs from it in total.  When the story got reported, Ener1 traded at 11 cents a share, down from its December 2008 peak of $9.40 and the $3 per share price when the Department of Energy decided to invest in a company that had lost two-thirds of its value.  The share price was five cents by the beginning of this month, and is now at two cents a share.

Don’t forget, too, that the $53 million spent by October created jobs … 33 of them.

Perhaps green-tech stimulus recipients should call on Obama to refrain from giving them SOTU shout-outs.