Tuesday, May 7, 2013

David Loomis, Big "Clean" Wind Energy Business, Center for Renewable Energy, and Pay-to-Play



David Loomis, Big “Clean” Wind Energy Business, Center for Renewable Energy and Pay-to-Play

Some say Pay-to-Play is dead and it left Illinois with the Blago administration.   Most assuredly Pay-to-Play is still thriving in Illinois.   Maybe the Office of the Governor isn’t as active as Blago was, but it’s still around.  There are those who act as lobbyists and being paid by lobbyist and companies trolling Springfield looking to assist anyone in “need” and are willing to pay.


Now enters David Loomis.   He’s an interesting fellow.   His day job is an economics instructor at Illinois State University.   Is he a “professor” “fellow” or “chair” in the technical sense, I don’t know.  His exact title and position at Illinois State University doesn’t matter enough.   I’d hate to offend him by giving him an improper title.   Let’s just leave it as “instructor” though I think he has a PhD.   We’ll just say he is an “economist”.  Like so many other instructors in Illinois’ community college and university system, Mr. Loomis understands his job is to not only teach economics, but to teach and train young students to become a working part of society.   He trains young people to be prepared for entry level jobs and start a career.  


Unfortunately, it looks like David Loomis has lost his focus and realized there are benefits individual to focus on one industry.  David Loomis has focused on fostering growth in the wind industry.  At Illinois State University holds several other titles.  He is also the “Director” for the Center of Renewable Energy.  According to David’s own words “The Center is a facilitator for the Illinois Wind Group.”


According to the Center of Renewable Energy’s website;
“The Illinois Wind Working Group is an organization whose purposes are to communicate wind opportunities honestly and objectively, to interact with various stakeholders at the local, state, regional and national levels, and to promote economic development of wind energy in the state of Illinois.


At this time it should also be noted that the Centers website (or perhaps more accurately the Illinois State Universities website) also claims;

The Illinois Wind Working Group, its members, board members, Director, agents and other representatives expressly disclaim any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of information posted on this site…


I guess “honesty” and “objectivity” mean nothing with such a disclaimer for “any responsibility of accuracy or completeness….”  What kind of website affiliated with a University needs a disclaimer that basically says “Yeah, we might possible full of ca-ca here and shouldn’t be held responsible?”


So how does someone become a member of the Center for Renewable Energy?


Write a check.  They don’t call Illinois the Pay-to-Play State for nothing.  A $50,000 check to the Illinois State University Foundation allows a company to become a “Founding Member”.  Zilkha Renewable Energy (a.k.a. Horizon Wind Energy) under the leadership of Michael Skelly and ownership of Michael Zilkha was the first Founding Member for the Center of Renewable Energy.  After Michael Zilkha sold the company, EDP Renewables is now listed as a Founding Member.


Pay-to-Play in Illinois is kind of like being friends with “benefits”.  Being a “Founding Member” and the $50,000 check buys a seat on the Board of Advisors, input in the research direction, and a paid intern for three years.  Perhaps this is where Clean Line Energy bought its Illinois-Intern-Rob.  It also appears very likely Clean Line Energy’s close ties the Center and David Loomis has also bought provided letters to Illinois regulators in the Springfield supporting the Rock Illinois Clean Line from Loomis’ student base at Illinois State University.   

So $50,000 buys a company “legitimate” research from an accredited university.  In return David Loomis is a profit center for Illinois State bringing in cash from “clean” energy companies.  Hand Detweiler and Charlie Ary of Clean Line Energy are both listed as members of the Center for Renewable Energy.   While the Center’s website does not state Hans was a board member, I believe he sat on the board for at least 3 years before employed by Clean Line Energy.

According to Loomis and the Center for Renewable Energy’s website, $50,000 buys a company “input” or influence in research and the allusion of legitimate research from an “unbiased” university.  Just exactly how biased is this Illinois State University research into the value of wind energy?  

Perhaps a better question would be “Who funded the study that says Illinois needs more wind-power manufacturing?”  Seriously, Dave Loomis did such a study and came to that conclusion.  Why not do something useful and relevant and have an Illinois State University economist do a study that determines Illinois State University would be the perfect site for the Ringling Bros Clown College.  Just as absurd was the study concluding property values do not fall because of a neighboring wind farm.  (We’ll come back to that one later.  Sounds like it was quite a circus when Loomis went to a county zoning board meeting to explain that one!)

With all this going on, David Loomis still develops a private consulting company.  He becomes an “expert” witness for aspiring utility companies like “Clean” Line Energy before state utility boards.  Loomis has authored an economic impact study for Clean Line Energy claiming the “benefits” of a powerline across Illinois.  This study looks remarkably similar to another called Economic Impact; Wind Energy Development in Illinois developed for the Illinois State University and the Center of Renewable Energy.

If you want to read a real economic study Exelon commissioned a study about the affects of Negative Pricing the wind industry is having on the rest of the energy generation industy where the wind industry continues generation just to obtain income from the Production Tax Credit when the market price is so low other generators cannot make a profit.  It’s basically predatory pricing by the wind industry.  Exelon was thrown out of the American Wind Energy Association for that report.   It’s a great report worthy of reading and shows just how poorly written a Loomis study really is. 

Heck, if Loomis wanted to do a real economic impact study, it would be fascinating how overpriced wind energy from the 20 year power purchasing agreements have negatively impacted the purchasing power of Illinois ratepayers.  Particularly interesting would be the adverse effects of paying too much by the low income households in Illinois. 

How does Illinois residents compete with the Loomis brand of Pay-to-Play? As residents and taxpayers, we fund the Illinois State University, while David Loomis uses the University for personal gain.  Do consumers have to pay $50,000 per seat to the Illinois State University Foundation to obtain the truth and honest research from the university and Center for Renewable Energy?   Exposing David Loomis and his Culture of Corruption is the first step for ratepayers to compete with the Loomis Industry and his shameless marketing of “clean” wind energy through dirty tactics.

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