Taxpayers Giving $4B to Foreign Firms for Green Energy Projects

From Fox Business News

U.S. taxpayers have forked over nearly $4 billion to foreign-owned companies as part of a stimulus program that pays cash grants to green-energy firms, according to a newly released congressional report.

The report from Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee charged that the Treasury Department-administered program has “failed” in its goal of putting Americans to work.

“Billions of dollars have filled the coffers of overseas firms while the evidence of the promised permanent jobs and economic growth here in the United States is scarce,” the report said.

The program is separate from the Energy Department fund that gave nearly $530 million to failed solar panel firm Solyndra.

This one sprung out of the 2009 stimulus package, and offers cash payments to alternative energy companies worth 30 percent of any given project’s cost. The money is available for everything from solar to wind to geothermal to fuel cell projects.

According to the report, though, nearly one-quarter of the $16 billion approved to date has been for U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms. The money went to several Spain-based companies, as well as those in Japan, Germany, France and Italy.

Nearly $1.8 billion, for example, went to various wind energy projects across the country under the U.S. division of Spain’s Iberdrola Renewables.

Republican lawmakers say the program is effectively aiding foreign competitors, with money the U.S. government arguably does not have.

“With $16 trillion in debt, we cannot afford to send one out of every four taxpayer dollars overseas for a program that has failed to create the jobs promised,” Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the committee, said in a statement.

The program, though, nevertheless was funding projects in the United States that largely employed U.S. workers. According to a July 2012 status report, more than 45,000 projects were funded at the time — presumably more have been funded since. The projects have also helped boost the country’s electricity generation from renewable sources.

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