U.S. Gov’t Loans $64.5M for Wind Farm--in Uruguay

August 7, 2014 - 12:55 PM

gamesa

(CNSNews.com) -- The Export-Import Bank of the United States is giving a $64.5 million direct loan to a company in Uruguay for the purchase of wind turbines made by a Spanish company at one of its plants in Pennsylvania, according to the bank.

The  $64.5 million direct loan to Astidey S.A. , in Montevideo, Uruguay”  is for “the purchase of U.S.-manufactured wind-turbine generators being exported by Gamesa Technology Corporation Inc., headquartered in Feasterville-Trevose, Penn.,” reads the July 10 press release from the Ex-Im Bank.

Gamesa, a Spain-based company, has offices around the world, including three in the United States: two in Pennsylvania (Fairless Hills and Trevose) and one in Minneapolis, Minn.

The Ex-Im Bank, which was initially chartered by Congress in 1934 and is up for renewal in September,  is supposed to finance and insure the purchase of U.S. goods by foreign entities. The bank calls itself an “independent federal agency that creates and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers."

Obama at a wind farm

President Barack Obama near some wind mills in Haverhill, Iowa, on Aug. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama described the bank as “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.”  However, President Obama announced on Aug. 6 that he supports re-charting the Ex-Im Bank for another 3-year term.

The Gamesa plant in Pennsylvania will supply, transport, and install 25 wind turbines for the Talas de Maciel wind farm in Uruguay. The deal includes Gamesa’s operation of and maintenance on the turbines for 20 years.

The wind turbine generators funded by the loan will be exported from the Gamesa factory in  Feasterville-Trevose, Pennsylvania.  According to Bloomberg News, another Gamesa plant located in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania closed down earlier this year  after they were forced “to cut costs after a U.S. tax incentive expired.”

“The Zamudio, Spain-based company will fire 62 people and close the Ebensburg plant on March 31, [2014], Frank Fuselier, a spokesman said.”

This is the second time the Ex-Im Bank has authorized funds for wind transactions in Uruguay.

According to the bank, “in fiscal year 2013, Ex-Im Bank authorized a $72.6 million loan to support Gamesa’s exports to Palmatir S.A., in Uruguay. The Bank has also supported Gamesa’s exports to wind-energy projects in Costa Rica and Honduras, including the Cerro de Hula project in Honduras, the largest wind farm in Latin America.”

On April 6, 2011, President Obama visited a separate Gamesa plant in Fair Hills, Pennsylvania to host a discussion about “building a 21st century clean energy economy to win the future.”

“The Administration has bolstered the market for wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable electricity technologies; over the last two years, this program has supported more than 7,000 renewable energy projects representing more than $21 billion in investment, and the addition of nearly 10 gigawatts of renewable electricity generation capacity,” said the White House. “These programs have supported investment and job creation at clean energy companies like Gamesa, the first overseas wind manufacturer to set up full production facilities in the United States.”

Sen. Mike Lee

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). (AP Photo)

 

“One of the government-supported projects CAP’s representatives touted before Congress was Antelope Valley, a solar farm backed by — you guessed it, First Solar. It’s a vicious circle of cronyism.”

In a statement about repealing the authority of the Ex-Im Bank in June 2013, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said, “Export subsidies like those provided by the Export-Import Bank, serve only to enrich well-connected special interests at the expense of the rest of the country.”

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), who introduced the legislation along with Amash, said, “The Ex-Im Bank has outlived its usefulness and it’s time to end the Bank’s market distortion and political cronyism.”