Michael Brendan Dougherty | Jan. 26, 2012, 1:54 PM
Andrew Restuccia of The Hill is reporting that Ener1, a battery company that President Obama referenced in his State of The Union Speech on Tuesday as an example of successful energy investments, has just filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
That’s just two days after the speech.
“In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries,” Obama said in his speech.
According to Phil Milford and Dawn McCarty at Businessweek, Ener1 had received a $118 million U.S. Energy Department grant to make electric-car batteries. And the grant received bi-partisan support, so it is not entirely on Obama’s shoulders. From Businessweek:
Under President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package, the Energy Department awarded grants in an attempt to create a U.S. electric-car industry. Ener1 subsidiary EnerDel was the grant recipient and has received about $55 million of its grant so far. A spokesman for the Energy Department, Jen Stutsman, said the department would provide comment soon.
In the 2010 State of the Union address, Obama mentioned Solyndra as another successful investment by the government in private-sector green-energy companies:
“You can see the results of last year’s investments in clean energy. A North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries. Or in the California business, that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels,”
Solyndra, that California business, received a $535 million loan guarantee from the government before going bankrupt last September. Its top executives were enthusiastic Obama campaign donors. Solyndra had also spent nearly $1.8 million lobbying the government prior to receiving the loan guarantee.
It’s obviously hugely embarrassing for the president to give another green-energy company a shout-out in his prime-time speech only to have it declare bankruptcy two days later.