Obama’s Green Jobs Don’t Materialize

NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser was interviewed on Fox Business Network’s Willis Report on Thursday. Here’s a transcript:

Gerri Willis:  Joining me now, Paul Chesser, Associate Fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center. Hey Paul, welcome back to the show, always great to have you here.

Paul Chesser:  Great to be here.

Gerri Willis: Let me tell you, this is crazy, is it not? I want to just show folks with some of these companies that got loans from the Department of Energy – the jobs that were promised but never delivered. You look at A123 we just talked about this 2,200 jobs that were promised, never delivered. Dow Kokum 230, Ener1 1,450. The list goes on and on and in every case we’ve given the companies money, taxpayer money. Is this any surprise? Should I not be shocked?

Paul Chesser:  Well it is hundreds of millions of dollars and just goes to show that the theory of the Obama Administration that if they build it, they will come whether we’re talking about the battery companies you just mentioned or the electric vehicle companies like Frisker and Tesla and even GM with the Volt and Nissan with the leaf, people are not buying the merchandise. They’re not buying the vehicles. And Ener1, one of the battery companies you mentioned, has gone bankrupt. They have joined Splendora in that category.

Gerri Willis: Unbelievable. We can pick them, right? That is the astonishing thing. You mentioned Frisker.  Well, apparently now that the Department of Energy has decided to hold up on their loan they decided maybe they just wouldn’t build their cars here. Now that to me stinks. If you’re going to take our taxpayer dollars then you should give the jobs to Americans.

Paul Chesser:  Exactly. Well, here’s what happened with Fisker. They were awarded $529 million by the Department of Energy in stimulus, which has not stimulated much except for some high-cost vehicles for wealthy people. But they, Fisker is saying that $193 million that they have gotten so far before the Department of Energy cut them off went towards development, research for the Fisker Karma. Then the rest of the money, up to the $529 million was supposed to go to a plant in Delaware where the real green jobs were supposed to be created but the Department of Energy said, oh, Fisker you’re not doing a good enough job. So they have cut them off after $193 million. And, A123 who we talked about at the top of the segment is the battery supplier of Fisker.

Gerri Willis: Right.

Paul Chesser:  The Department of Energy extended A123’s grant. They gave them two extra years to spend down their grant…

Gerri Willis:  That worked out well.

Paul Chesser:  …but Fisker they cut off for some reason. And really the source of Fisker’s problems is A123’s batteries.

Gerri Willis:  Let’s talk about, you know I was mentioning broken promises before. Government funded battery plants created 31% of the promised jobs. Not even a third of the jobs that were promised were created by battery plants. And of course, you mentioned Fisker’s problems created by A123 the battery company. We’ve seen fires with Fisker. We’ve seen consumer reports test drives with the Fisker product. We saw pictures of it, video of it, that went haywire. It is just crazy stuff. And let me get you to comment on one number here that found incredibly compelling from some of the research. So when you look at the green car program. We were supposed to have a million electric and hybrid vehicles on the road in six years. After three years, we have only 5% of that. 50,000. Why are we so off base on this?

Paul Chesser:  Because these are not practical vehicles. The American public is not ready, the technology is not ready to meet the demand of the American public who wants to be able to drive their car far, refuel their car, quickly, and not have to wait for or five hours for it to recharge. Nissan got $1.4 billion dollars in a loan guarantee to refurbish a plant in Tennessee to build the leaf. They say they will be able to build 150,000 Leafs a year. Who is going to buy those? They are only selling a couple hundred Leafs as month. It makes absolutely no sense. That is going to be another unmet promise as far as green jobs with Nissan.

Gerri Willis: You summed it up well, Paul, unmet promises. Thanks for coming on tonight. Great job as always. Pleasure to have you here.

Paul Chesser:  Thanks, Gerri.