Critics of the federal government's investments in clean-tech companies are pretty quiet on the great news that Tesla Motor is fully paying off its $465M U.S. loan nine months early.
The California electric car company was among "losers" cited by key Republicans such as presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former TV pundit Sarah Palin for accepting U.S. cash.
In the latest bowl of sour grapes, Ohio Republican Jim Jordan said yesterday, "When they’re picking all these losers, it's nice for them to have one where they can point to."
While Republicans and the media allies have fixated on high-profile bankruptcies and new collapses (Solyndra, A-123 Systems, Fisker Automotive) the Dept. of Energy helpfully set the record straight.
According to a statement from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz: "More than 90 percent of loan loss reserve Congress established remains intact, while losses to date represent about 2 percent of the overall $34 billion portfolio. The other 98 percent of the portfolio includes 19 new clean energy power plants that are adding enough solar, wind and geothermal capacity to power a million homes and displace 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year -- roughly equal to taking a million cars off the road."
He went on to call the Tesla bailout "an another important contribution to what the Obama Administration has done to preserve and promote the auto industry."
Moniz also should have credited President George W. Bush, the engineer of the December 2008 bailout of the Big Three car companies. That set the stage for Obama's loan to Tesla, made the following June.
Thank you, President Bush.