US Government Fights to Recover $130 Million Lost to Abengoa Renewables Bankruptcy


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The US Government has formally objected to an attempt by Spanish Renewable Giant Abengoa’s bankrupt US arm to walk out on $130 million of federal loans.

U.S. Objects to Abengoa Bankruptcy-Exit Plan

Energy, Justice departments among agencies seeking at least partial repayment of government investments

The U.S. government, which pumped more than $130 million into Spanish renewable-energy company Abengoa SA’s U.S.-based projects, is asking a federal judge to put the brakes on the company’s plan to exit bankruptcy.

Several federal agencies—including the Energy and Justice departments—are objecting to the bankruptcy-exit plan, demanding changes and at least partial repayment on the government’s investments.

A spokesman for Abengoa couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday on the government’s objections.

Judge Kevin Carey is slated to consider the bankruptcy-exit plan for Abenoga’s primary U.S. subsidiary at a hearing on Tuesday at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

The Energy Department had awarded $137 million to fund a total of 11 Abengoa projects over the past 13 years, according to an agency spokeswoman. The department says the funds were intended to help the it meet federal energy policies that promote the production of ethanol and other renewable energy sources.

Read more (paywalled):

Abengoa, a multi-billion dollar Spanish renewable giant, is still struggling with unsustainable debts. In March this year the US arm of Abengoa started bankruptcy proceedings.

Spain’s Abengoa Files for Chapter 15 Bankruptcy in U.S.

Renewable energy company in talks with creditors to restructure billions in debt

Abengoa SA has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. as the Spanish energy company continues talks with its banks and bondholders to agree on its plan to restructure billions of dollars in debt.

The renewable energy company, which operates around the world, on Monday night filed for chapter 15 protection, the section of the U.S. bankruptcy code dealing with cross-border insolvencies, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

The bankruptcy filing comes after Abengoa struck a deal with key creditors that gives it more time—through Oct. 28—to continue negotiations on restructuring its debts, which court papers show total more than €14.6 billion ($16.48 billion). The company hopes the U.S. bankruptcy will provide extra breathing room for these talks.

Read more:

It seems likely investors will struggle to get their money back. Abengoa’s head office began bankruptcy proceedings late 2015. Since then there have been various attempts at debt restructuring, but whatever is happening in Spain, at this stage US taxpayers seem unlikely to ever see much of their money back.

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Pop Piasa
December 7, 2016 6:06 pm

Water under the bridge? Maybe the next administration can stop the “sustainable” bleeding.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
December 7, 2016 9:17 pm

“Sustainable bleeding”. Consider it stolen.. 🙂
Maybe that’s an apt description for Obama occasionally twisting the knife in the country’s back.

Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
December 8, 2016 4:19 am

The ancient art of Quackery involves a delicate blend of sustainable bleeding and sustainable leeching.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
December 7, 2016 10:07 pm

Pop, I love your “sustainable” reference. Watermelon references to sustainable development is pure SJW fantasies.
One does what one has to to get through a reasonable planning horizon. The longer future will take care of itself.

December 7, 2016 6:07 pm

I’m confused. I thought chapter 15 allowed US courts to assist in foreign bankruptcies. I didn’t think you could file for a chapter 15 bankruptcy. link
It does seem that the parent company, Abengoa, is going bankrupt in Spain.
One of the big problems in bankruptcy is to ensure that the creditors are treated fairly. In other words, a bankrupt company can’t pay one non-secured creditor and not the others. The judge would unwind that. I’m not sure what is the status of the US government in that regard.

Steve from Rockwood
Reply to  commieBob
December 7, 2016 6:41 pm

I’m not a lawyer but I think your interpretation of chapter 15 is not what you think it means. Having helped a US company (wholly owned by a Canadian company) toward bankruptcy, if the US company is in trouble it can file for chapter 11 (reorganization) or chapter 7 (goodbye). Chapter 15 seems to concern the out-of-country company going bankrupt and the effect it has on the wholly owned subsidiary companies in other countries (namely that the subs can be protected by the local bankruptcy provisions).
But make no mistake, the sub can go bankrupt and the parent can be unaffected and this is protected in US law.

Steve from Rockwood
Reply to  commieBob
December 7, 2016 6:43 pm

Also there is a time limit for unwinding and it may be 90 days.

Steve from Rockwood
Reply to  commieBob
December 7, 2016 7:03 pm

Not sure if my posts are helping but imagine you are a foreign company with foreign owned assets in the USA and you’re going bankrupt and taking your subs with you (chap 15) versus you setup a foreign wholly owned US-based company and its assets go bankrupt (chap 11 and 7).

richard verney
Reply to  commieBob
December 8, 2016 3:07 am

The only ‘winners’ in bankruptcy cases are the auditors, lawyers and consultants who bleed the bankrupt company dry with extortionate bills until there is no assets left to distribute to the creditors.

Reply to  richard verney
December 8, 2016 7:27 am

When the courts are involved, those are the only winners…

old construction worker
Reply to  richard verney
December 9, 2016 12:56 am

‘winners’ in bankruptcy cases are the auditors, lawyers and consultants who…” you forgot the CEOs FCOs, and so on whom got paid millions and then start the next money pit..

Reply to  commieBob
December 8, 2016 7:15 am

Why don’t we just send money to the creditors and skip the wasteful and environmentally damaging green energy sinks. Oh wait, this whole line of reasoning is the same as throwing bricks through windows to keep glaziers employed. I think that method of fallacious reasoning was buried by Bastiat in 1850.

Reply to  rocketscientist
December 8, 2016 7:00 pm

That really depends on the circumstances.
If the shopkeeper is sitting on a huge pile of cash, breaking his window will stimulate economic activity that otherwise wouldn’t have taken place. On the other hand, if things are tight, the broken window stimulates no new economic activity. The money that might have gone to the fish monger now goes to repair the window.

December 7, 2016 6:12 pm

And who will pay to remove the defunct wind turbines?
The cost of removing the foundations could be horrendous,
….and you can BET that the subsidy scammers will have their funds tied up securely out of the reach of any government.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  AndyG55
December 7, 2016 6:21 pm

Sheer irony that the concrete is the longest lasing component of these monsters. Hopefully for their sake they can call them carbon sinks and leave them there.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
December 7, 2016 6:24 pm

“lasting” not “lasing”.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
December 7, 2016 7:08 pm

I guess they will eventually corrode, supplying the ground with lime and iron. Some trees like those in small amounts
Maybe just drill in and tnt it, to break it up to speed up the decay.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
December 8, 2016 6:57 am

Pop, you won’t need lasers to get rid of the concrete. Just a few hundred pounds of tnt.

Reply to  AndyG55
December 7, 2016 7:14 pm

“And who will pay to remove the defunct wind turbines?”
There are no wind turbines involved here. Abengoa made ethanol plants.

R. Shearer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2016 7:38 pm

Abengoa was involved in a wide array of “green” energy production, more than ethanol plants, mostly solar. From just 2009 and 2015 the “green” company had already received about $3 billion in grants and loan guarantees from U.S. DOE.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2016 8:16 pm

3 billion bucks?
Green indeed,

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2016 8:52 pm

“$3 billion in grants and loan guarantees”
Almost entirely loan guarantees, to build solar plants (Solana at Gila Bend and Mojave solar in California), . Both were constructed and are producing.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2016 8:56 pm

“3 billion bucks?”
Almost entirely loan guarantees, to finance construction of solar plants at Solana, Gila Bend, Az, and Mojave Solar in Calif. The plants are built and producing, and there seems to have been no call on the guarantees.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2016 9:39 pm

OK then , who is going to clean up all the noxious chemicals from rotting solar panels
Not Abengoa… the bosses will probably have syphoned as much away as they could before claiming bankruptcy.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2016 6:59 am

” Both were constructed and are producing.”
I guess you could call it that.

Reply to  AndyG55
December 7, 2016 9:20 pm

Andy – Maybe use the concrete foundations for water towers?

Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
December 8, 2016 3:19 pm

I’ve got an interesting idea to use the foundations for pillars to hold up a giant plexiglass panel roof. We could thus turn entire counties into giant greenhouses. We could grow oranges in Indiana and bananas in Ohio. Or just grow more corn year round.
Position a coal on gas power plant next door and pump the exhaust Co2 inside. We could sell it to the Climate Faithful as a Carbon Capture and Storage project. See if they offer any of that climate cash. ○¿●

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  AndyG55
December 7, 2016 9:35 pm

Near us there is a single Darrieus wind turbine [vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT)]. It was built about 30 years ago and the company went bankrupt within a year. I don’t think it was ever connected to the grid.
It still stands, now near several new towers built about 3 years ago.
If it is ever removed, my guess is that tax payers will get the bill. Maybe there will be an environmental beautification fund to make it sound good.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
December 8, 2016 6:59 am

Plant vines on it?

Phil R
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
December 8, 2016 6:58 pm

John F. Hultquist,
I like MarW’s comment. Not sure where you are located, but if anywhere south of the Arctic circle, plant Kudzu. It’ll be covered in a week in the summer time.

Stephen Richards
Reply to  AndyG55
December 8, 2016 2:04 am

Wind companies I have come across operate through shell companies. The shell has no assets virtually from the moment they come into existence to the moment they die. No assets no money no compensation.

David Alexander
Reply to  AndyG55
December 8, 2016 8:58 am
Curious George
December 7, 2016 6:15 pm

Abengoa has always been a pioneer of green technologies. It is today, and it will always be – until it runs of other people’s money.

Michael Jankowski
December 7, 2016 6:20 pm
“…North America is its largest market, followed closely by South America…”

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
December 7, 2016 6:54 pm

Wherever suckers abound, a windmill may be found!

John Harmsworth
Reply to  John Harmsworth
December 7, 2016 6:55 pm

Unless a solar array got there first.

Reply to  John Harmsworth
December 7, 2016 8:16 pm

And then they fight to see who’s worst.

December 7, 2016 6:21 pm

The US may fight to get that money back, but we’ll never get back the millions of birds including Bald Eagles brutally killed every year by the insidious wind monsters.
See this video please.
Big bird sliced and killed by green energy. It’s really hard to watch:

Knock ALL the wind monsters down! Now!

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Eric Simpson
December 7, 2016 6:42 pm

Nature can still sustain recovery of their numbers, if we just stop chopping them up and luring them to false lakes (ie. Ivanpah) to be incinerated.

Reply to  Eric Simpson
December 8, 2016 2:18 am

No, knock down the blades, leave the rest as nesting sites.

Dave Ward
Reply to  Felflames
December 8, 2016 4:18 am

That’s actually an excellent idea. But go one further – the nacelle contains valuable materials, and ought to be worth removing. To reach the blades would require a large crane, so make full use of it. Then just install a platform on top of the tower so large birds can nest in safety.

Reply to  Eric Simpson
December 8, 2016 5:49 am

We need a lot more cameras to teach the useful idiots something about reality.

NW sage
December 7, 2016 6:23 pm

If the US Government continues to think of and address these loans as ‘investments’ they are fools. An “investment” is made in a project by putting money in with the expectation of – eventually – getting all that money out PLUS something ‘for the trouble’. No one – including the US officials – was under the foolish impression that the US Government ever expected any money out.

Tom Halla
December 7, 2016 6:30 pm

Green prayer wheels.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 7, 2016 6:42 pm

Those and big tax-payer subsidized projects like Ivanpah are the Green’s religious idolatry symbols.

Roger Knights
December 7, 2016 6:44 pm

Trump’s Justice Department should hire 100 attorneys to claw back money from Solyndra, etc. Even if little is recovered, the facts the might come out in legal proceedings would illustrate government’s failure to do due diligence due to warmist bias.

Patrick Bols
December 7, 2016 6:53 pm

Where is congress in overseeing the reckless Obama waste on renewable Sources? Do they not have a responsibility in this?

December 7, 2016 6:58 pm

They found Obama, their sugar daddy.
Wind Energy’s GhostsWind Energy’s Ghosts
In early 2009 the Socialist government of Spain reduced alternative energy subsidies by 30%.  Calzada continues:
“At that point the whole pyramid collapsed.  They are firing thousands of people.  BP closed down the two largest solar production plants in Europe.  They are firing between 25,000 and 40,000 people….”
“What do we do with all this industry that we have been creating with subsidies that now is collapsing?  The bubble is too big.  We cannot continue pumping enough money.  …The President of the Renewable Industry in Spain (wrote a column arguing that) …the only way is finding other countries that will give taxpayers’ money away to our industry to take it and continue maintaining these jobs.”

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Rob
December 8, 2016 2:09 am

That’s what they have done as well as the german wind industry. They have moved to the most stupid countries in Europe; UK and France both controlled by halfwitted women

December 7, 2016 7:17 pm

The windy’s just lost their puff . No wonder Gore looked distraught after his meeting in the beautiful Trump Tower . The gravy train just went off the tracks .
Long overdue . Go Global Warming !

Reply to  Amber
December 7, 2016 9:31 pm

Just like Goering after the war. Rather worried and peed-off as his toys and prestige get confiscated.×214/90384_1.jpg

December 7, 2016 7:18 pm

“They found Obama, their sugar daddy.”
The program has been going for thirteen years.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2016 7:27 pm

Throwing good money after bad.

December 7, 2016 7:30 pm

In August, Abengoa sold two ethanol plants in Nebraska for $237 million. My guess is that the US government wants some of that money. The IRS is after $19 million.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2016 8:59 pm

You’re a party-pooper, Nick. We’re all trying to gloat here

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2016 10:53 pm

Are you saying that they knew that ethanol in petrol is NOT a sensible option, …
…and that they scammed someone else into taking the loss when mandates are removed?

R. Shearer
December 7, 2016 7:43 pm

Between grants and loan guarantees from the DOE, Abengoa has received $3 billion or more from U.S. taxpayers.

Reply to  R. Shearer
December 8, 2016 9:10 am

“Between grants and loan guarantees from the DOE, Abengoa has received $3 billion or more”
Abengoa has not received $3 billion from U.S. taxpayers. Loan guarantees are not a transfer of funds, and cost the taxpayer nothing unless called on. These guarantees related to the construction of two solar plants, Solana in Az and the Mojave project. Both were built and are producing.
The Solana guarantee was not to Abengoa as such, but to an entity called Atlantica Yield. That may have been a subsidiary at some stage, but isn’t now. It is listed on Nasdaq; in May Abengoa was trying to sell its 42% share. The company still operates Solana, and seems to be doing OK. Here is a plot of its share price:comment image
That is from July 2014, when the price was about $40, to now, when it is $18. No sign of imminent bankruptcy.

Reply to  R. Shearer
December 8, 2016 9:14 am

Mods, I seem to again have been put in a state where my comments don’t appear, but go to some spam bucket, from which you kindly recover them. Could this please be fixed? It first started during this thread.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2016 9:40 am

Apologies, seems to be OK again. But it happened three times on this thread, including one comment still waiting here, for no apparent reason.

Patrick MJD
December 7, 2016 8:36 pm

I thought green taxes were raised by Govn’t to fund local companies and jobs to replace jobs lost in traditional industries locally?

Robert from oz
December 7, 2016 9:21 pm

Don’t care who you are if you invested in this rubbish you deserve to lose your money , due diligence would have revealed it for what it was , nothing but a scam .
Here in OZ the state premiers are trying to tax electricity , led by the power out states premier from SA .

Patrick MJD
December 7, 2016 10:31 pm

The South Australian premier is ganging up with other states and applying pressure on Turnbull to implement a emissions trading scheme. He would not have an ulterior motive there would he?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 8, 2016 2:21 am

Turnbull basically said “FU” to that idea today.

Patrick MJD
December 7, 2016 10:40 pm
Reply to  Patrick MJD
December 7, 2016 10:54 pm

The only credible climate policy any government could adopt would be to totally ignore the whole scam !!

December 7, 2016 11:43 pm

Lord Stern, the architect of ‘green’ levies, advised a £1.2 billion Abengoa solar array project
Lord Stern is the London School of Economics professor commissioned by Tony Blair to write his seminal 2006 review of the economics of man-made global warming – the foundation of many of the policies pursued today. He is a member of the advisory board of Abengoa. Its biggest project, a solar panel array in Arizona, cost £1.2 billion.
Neither Stern’s spokesman nor Abengoa will disclose how much he is paid. His company, NS Economics, is a vehicle for his public speaking earnings and in one year declared assets of £189,000 after the first year of trading.
Stern’s agent at Celebrity Speakers said his basic rate for an hour-long talk was £50,000 – with first-class flights on top for a conference in the US, and all extra expenses reimbursed.
Stern’s spokesman at London School of Economics said he openly declared all his interests, and had ‘built his reputation on a track record of high-quality independent research and analysis.’
Stern advises governments to invest in the most expensive schemes in which he has an interest. When the scheme blows up and all the money is gone, he walks away – leaving the taxpayers to pick up the tab. This is a classic case of how the AGW fr@ud has always operated.

Bill Illis
December 8, 2016 2:07 am

What is the longest-lasting Green Energy company?
It seems they all just declare bankruptcy eventually. I think SunEdison was the longest until this summer when they also declared bankruptcy.
What an industry. All they do is suck money out of people (investors, banks, governments, consumers) until they declare bankruptcy and leave their plants and assets abandoned in the field.
Who is giving these companies so much money? Normally, the big money people are not this gullible. Somebody is obviously making money up-front and then, at the end, there are so many people left holding the bag. If it wasn’t so “Green and Good”, it would have all the characteristics of a “scam industry”.

Reply to  Bill Illis
December 8, 2016 9:57 am

GE and Siemens have been around for more than 100 years.

ole jensen
Reply to  Chris
December 8, 2016 10:43 am

If GE and Siemens had started up as “green” companies, you could have used the analogi…
But they didn´t…
So you can´t

December 8, 2016 5:54 am

One part of government is going to half to be doubled or tripled and that is the FBI for all the investigations of agency funding methods and look the other way due diligence. The recipients run by former politicos need to first on the audit list. A new award needs to be started for the most corrupt Federal employee and called the John C. Beale Award.

Brooks Hurd
December 8, 2016 7:26 am

It seems that any time that governments attempt to pick winners and losers, they invariably support the latter.

Phil R
Reply to  Brooks Hurd
December 8, 2016 7:07 pm

Brooks Hurd,
With respect, a slight correction. they don’t “invariably support the latter,’ they invariably CREATE the latter.

Svend Ferdinandsen
December 8, 2016 7:44 am

All the green jobs goes apparently to lawyers.

Reply to  Svend Ferdinandsen
December 8, 2016 11:27 am

Or collection agencies

Steve Oregon
December 8, 2016 7:57 am

Only the government didn’t see this coming.
December 28, 2015
“Investors in Abengoa SA shares, on the other hand, lost 85 percent through yesterday as ballooning debt and a lack of funds put the company on the brink of bankruptcy.”

Reply to  Steve Oregon
December 8, 2016 8:35 am

The same with Solyndra after it was shopped to all the sane people and rejected.

Retired Kit P
December 8, 2016 9:30 am

List of monitored photovoltaic power stations:
There are two kinds of pv systems, those ‘not working’ and those ‘not working’ yet.
Of course, solar does not make electricity most of the time. The solar industry likes to talk about ‘expected power production’. I find this very dishonest because actual performance is always much lower than expected.
Another claim is that PV does not require maintenance. What happens when you have to pay someone to keep PV working, is that when the value of the electricity is less the cost of paying someone, PV becomes permanently ‘not working’. .

Reply to  Retired Kit P
December 8, 2016 11:26 am

I checked out the list on Wiki. I thought it was a joke. Community market of East Nowhere’s ville and many of the same are some of the primary one’s on the list. It is really next to nothing in output. Except a few places and as we learned a few months ago here, the are probably cranking out the global warming heat as we speak. Talk about ironic!
BTW, if we have 100% renewable, what will happen to the frequency quality of the electricity? Just saying, we depend upon it in Indiana for the few renewable sites we have that have descent output.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  Stephen Greene
December 8, 2016 2:30 pm

You will never see 100% renewable in a state like Indiana. The reason is that at some point the equipment will break faster than we can build them. It is an engineering thing.
I grew up in northern Indiana and worked at large nuke plants in Michigan and Illinois among other places. The active construction time is about 5 years and the power plants could last 100 years. So it is possible from an engineering point of view to be 100% nuclear.
I could also make a small rural town 100% renewable in a state like Indiana using field corn or wood.

December 8, 2016 11:13 am

The US Govt stinks at investing. I bet Trump will indeed help with this.

Gerald Machnee
December 9, 2016 12:42 pm

So the greens tell us that the cost of solar and wind is falling rapidly.
Then why do they need subsidies?

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