The $38.6 billion loan guarantee program Obama said would create 65,000 jobs only created 3,545, according to Energy Department records reviewed by the Washington Post.
Since 2009, approximately $9.6 billion has been awarded in loan guarantees to companies in the green energy sector, and an additional $9.2 billion has been set aside as conditional commitments, according to Bloomberg.
Despite the current job numbers, DOE officials claim that the loan program is still "on pace" to create or save about 60,000 positions.
Even if all of the 20 companies that have won loan guarantees meet their projections, which given recent bankruptcies in the "green" industry appears highly unlikely, that would still only "create or save " a total of 8,050 workers.
If somehow the money already spend or allocated would push the job numbers to 60,000, the cost to the taxpayer would still be $640,000 per job, according to the Post. As it stands now, the cost per job created or saved (in loan guarantee money) is around $5 million.
In response to the storm of accusations that its loan projects have produced abysmally few jobs, DOE spokesman Damien LaVera said the current numbers do not reflect the “tens of thousands of indirect jobs these projects created up and down the supply chain, or the countless additional jobs that depend on America staying competitive with countries like China in the clean-energy race.”
The collapse of solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra earlier this month has created a firestorm of controversy around the entire DOE loan program. An overview of the program and its components shows that it is comprised of:
"Three separate programs: the Title XVII Section 1703 and Section 1705 loan guarantee programs, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program...under all three programs, DOE has issued loans, loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling over $32 billion to support 32 clean energy projects across the United States."
In the aftermath of Solyndra, the public has started to view the DOE loan programs as a government-mandated giveaway of taxpayer dollars to companies that are favored by the Obama administration.
But the $535 million loss that Obama and Solyndra will drop onto the heads of average Americans appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. The White House has apparently decided that the implosion of Solyndra signals it's time to double-down on green energy guarantees.
The administration does not appear chastened by the massive failures of the stimulus' green jobs boondoggle. On the contrary, there are signs that the Obama administration plans to close out 15 green energy loans in haste to beat a September 30th deadline. The administration has already put $18 billion at risk, but if it doesn't move fast enough, it might be unable to hand out the rest.
Right now, it seems the administration will use the same logic for green jobs handouts as they do for the rest of the failed stimulus -- it could work, if more money is spent. That's because the money is only paid out if the company fails, which is exactly what happened with Solyndra.
But that raises the question: If the Department of Energy has to guarantee investors will get money back when you go under, are you running a good company in the first place?
It seems the primary accomplishment of the promised money so far -- the nearly $19 billion (found by adding the figures mentioned by Bloomberg) -- of green energy loans is the creation of new government instrument: Uncle Sam now promises to pay off the tab before a clean energy company has even run it up.
When it comes to green energy, Obama may have been preparing a "Preemptive Bailout."