President Obama will make a push for wind energy subsidies on Thursday at the Iowa production facilities of a politically connected wind turbine manufacturer with ties to his administration. The appearance could serve to reinforce perceptions of cronyism in the administration’s “green jobs” push.
At the manufacturing facilities of TPI Composites, Obama will tout the need for continued federal “investment” in wind energy, according to the Des Moines Register.
TPI has some notable connections to the White House through Element Partners, one of its key investors.
One of Element’s operating partners is former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic National Committee chairman Ed Rendell. Rendell endorsed Obama during the 2008 campaign – though he has yet to do so in this cycle – and made numerous campaign appearances on his behalf.
During his tenure as governor, Rendell appointed Kathleen McGinty as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. McGinty is also an operating partner at Element.
The former chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the founding director of the White House Office on Environmental Policy, McGinty is a “protégé of Al Gore,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
White House visitor logs show that McGinty, who also served as a senior advisor to the DNC, met with Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Counsel on Environmental Quality, in 2010 to discuss the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Dr. Karl Hausker, McGinty’s husband, is a former deputy assistant administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency. He also represented the EPA on the White House Climate Change Task Force.
TPI Composites got $9 million from a $2.3 billion package of Energy Department tax credits for green energy manufacturers, but it is just one of a number of Element Partners investments to receive federal support.
Renewable energy companies NRG Energy, TAS Energy, Petra Solar, Wind Tower Systems, and EdeniQ have all received both financial support from the federal government in some form and investment from Element Partners.
Political connections have been near-constant among the recipients of federal money for green energy projects under Obama. Ironically, he has chosen to tout the effort at a site that reinforces that objection.