Fact Check: Department of Energy – Still Helping Create Winners Nationwide

Let’s just be clear, as we head into the next round of Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, the Department of Energy’s investments in clean energy have been extremely successful.  A recent fact-checking analysis found that DOE’s projects had a 98% success rate.   That means about 14,700+ successes out of 15,000+ projects.

98% success means that for every one Solyndra, there are forty nine stories like Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant just an hour or two up the road from last night’s debate.                                                                                                                                                          

In fact, this DOE loan to Ford is actually 11 successes in five states that together support 33,000 jobs.  In addition, these successes unequivocally show that American companies and workers have what it takes to lead the world in building the innovative clean energy technologies that combat climate change.   

The retooled Louisville Assembly Plant celebrated in June. Photo: Sam VarnHagen/ Ford Motor Co.
So when people mention funding for Tesla and Fisker they should really carry right on and mention the program’s loans to Nissan for their new battery and retooled assembly plant in Tennessee, and to Ford which received loans to innovate, upgrade, and retool to build far more efficient gasoline and electric vehicles in 11 engine, transmission, and assembly plants in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Today in Louisville, the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant  is running at full capacity around the clock 7 days a week and employs 4600 workers. Ford made a $600 million investment in the plant, which added 1800 jobs in 2010 and another 1300 in 2011.   The “transformed” plant builds the redesigned and more efficient Ford Escape which is also on track to beat sales records.

 “Workers who once worried if they would even have a job here, are now working extra hours. “It really makes us feel good about our future,” says [plant] manager John Savona. “We are building vehicles that customers want.”

At the opening of the retooled plant in June, state and city leaders, the company and the union talked about how working with government and each other had resulted in a turnaround that delivered on innovation, to the community and to the economy.

Louisville’s story isn’t unique.  Not only have DOE investments saved or brought back tens of thousands of jobs and cut pollution, but they’re a direct investment in the success and competitiveness of American businesses large and small.    These successes are also supported by smart clean energy, fuel economy, and tax policies that create the certainty the private sector needs to invest in clean technologies of the future.  They build on world leading science and R&D in our National Labs, DOE programs that help companies commercialize cutting edge innovation in America, and Department of Commerce, programs that help small manufacturers develop the processes and skills to develop new businesses in rapidly growing clean energy fields.

 Strong demand for fuel efficient cars and trucks like the Escape is also driving job growth in the thousands of companies that make the innovative parts and components for these vehicles, cutting carbon pollution and pain at the pump.  

So let’s replace naysaying about American failures with the truth about Americans working together to succeed. With approximately 14700 successes to choose from, feel free to pick one near you.

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Published: October 11, 2012