Thursday, September 29, 2011

UPDATED: Today in Crony Capitalism: Ron Pelosi Affiliated Company Scores $737 Million DOE Loan Guarantee

All animals are equal
But some are more equal than others
-George Orwell
Animal Farm, ch. 10, 1945

Update below.
Original post:
From The Hill:
The Energy Department announced Wednesday that is has finalized more than $1 billion in loan guarantees for two separate solar energy projects.

The decision comes several weeks after Solyndra, a California-based solar manufacturer that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration in 2009, filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers, setting off a firestorm in Washington.

DOE announced a $737 million loan guarantee to help finance construction of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110-megawatt solar-power-generating facility in Nye County, Nev. The project is sponsored by Tonopah Solar, a subsidiary of California-based SolarReserve.
The Energy Department said the project will result in 600 construction jobs and 45 permanent jobs.

“If we want to be a player in the global clean energy race, we must continue to invest in innovative technologies that enable commercial-scale deployment of clean, renewable power like solar,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a news release. “Solar generation facilities, like the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, help supply energy to local utilities and create hundreds of good, American clean energy jobs.”...MORE
From VentureBeat last May:
...The company uses a huge array of mirrors to focus heat on a point on a large tower. The heat from the focused sunlight is used to boil water, creating steam that moves conventional turbines to generate electricity. It’s an alternative to traditional solar power projects that use large arrays of photovoltaic cells to capture sunlight and convert it to electricity. The idea is reminiscent of the Archimedes Death Ray, an oft-used trope in popular culture....
Here are Solar Reserve's Investment Partners:

Here's a bit of backround on PCG from Snow's Notes:
How Did Nancy Pelosi’s Brother-in-Law Become No. 2 at PCG?
The La Jolla, California-based gatekeeper has embraced yet another leadership structure following its purge by CalPERS. The latest line-up includes FINRA mediation expert and San Francisco political insider Ron Pelosi

It’s an unusual biography for a person listed second in the “Leadership” section of a private equity advisory firm’s website: “[A]ccomplished Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) mediator. . .  has served in a number of positions as a public official.”

But perhaps the unusual circumstances of Pacific Corporate Group call for the unusual skills of Ronald Pelosi, a San Francisco political insider and financial industry polymath who happens to be the brother-in-law of Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives.

 La Jolla, California-based PCG is a veteran of the private equity gatekeeping industry and has been led since 1979 by Christopher Bower, a former public accountant who successfully gave the institutional investment market what it wanted – more and more private equity advice. PCG’s marquee client was the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, until recently. Late last year the nation’s largest pension decided to fire PCG as part of a house-cleaning exercise. The gatekeeper had been too close to disgraced placement agent Al Villalobos for CalPERS’ liking....MORE
Update: From the Washington Times:
... Kevin Smith, chief executive for SolarReserve, said PCG’s investment in SolarReserve is about one-percent. He said Mr. Pelosi was not involved in the project. Mr. Smith said that, unlike Solyndra, the project had a long-term revenue source locked up through a contract to sell power to the Nevada Power Company....