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October 19, 2011

Energy Department Altering On-Line Press Releases About "Green" Energy Loans
Update: Reason For Alteration Revealed

They'll tell you what they fear?

I'm not sure what they're trying to conceal here -- but they are trying to conceal something.

Someone affiliated with the Department of Energy has been going back to make changes to press releases posted on the Internet weeks and months ago, CNBC has found.

The changes occurred in two press releases from the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program — the same program that has been the center of controversy surrounding the failed solar company Solyndra.

Both were changed to remove the name of a company that has received negative press attention in recent days, SunPower, and replace it with the name of another company, NRG Energy.

Generally, it is not considered correct procedure to revise old press releases retroactively on the Web. More commonly, government agencies will issue a new press release with a current date explaining any changes that have occurred.

In the April case, the Department of Energy loan programs office announced in a press release on April 12 "conditional commitment" to a $1.187 billion loan guarantee to support the California Valley Solar Ranch project, which it said was "sponsored by SunPower Corporation."

But that release was later changed on one website to say the project was "sponsored by NRG Energy." The date on the release remained "April 12, 2011."

So are they just airbrushing Sun Power out of the picture, or is there more to it?

Thanks to Drew and William Amos.

Update: It's simple. Sun Power got a $1.2 billion loan guarantee, and we might be eating that one shortly, too.

And Sun Power is very well-connected to Democrats. According to Andrew Stiles:

SunPower now carries $820 million in debt, an amount $20 million greater than its market capitalization. If SunPower was a bank, the feds would shut it down. Instead, it received a lifeline twice the size of the money sent down the Solyndra drain.

Indeed, SunPower received a $1.2 billion loan guarantee just days before the DOE’s Sept. 30 deadline to approve such agreements. The company, like Solyndra, is also extremely well-connected politically.

Rep. George Miller (D., Calif.), co-chairman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and close confidant of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (who has Solyndra connections of her own), was a strong advocate for SunPower, which according to PAC filings contributed $15,650 to House and Senate Candidates in 2010. Of that, $14,650 went to Democrats, including $4,000 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), $2,900 to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) and $500 to Miller himself. Oh, and the company also hired Miller’s son as a lobbyist.

SunPower is currently on track to become the second embarrassing failure in the DOE’s loan portfolio. It is deeply in debt, and company executives recently announced plans to lower its earnings projections for 2011 even further.







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