Wednesday, October 23, 2013

When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn Professional, Zilkha Biomass

OK, this is weird.

Michael Zilkha, one of the primary investors in Clean Line has more than one business.  There is also little talked about Zilkha Biomass Energy.  Biomass is a weird form of “renewable” energy.  Best  I can tell, biomass is…well carbon…like coal.  Zilkha Biomass produces a waterproof pellet from wood (carbon).  It’s burned like coal.  

Now, if I have this wrong, I’d suggest Zilkha Biomass and the rest of the industry do a better job explaining why biomass is considered a renewable and not just a coal like substitute.  I also don’t hold it against Michael Zilkha for being a billionaire.  There’s nothing wrong about making money.  We all do it and make a living.  We all want to be a billionaire.  Mr. Zilkha is just one of the few who have been successful…very successful.

Now here is where it gets really weird.  The Great Britain Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, went to jail.  Apparently his car was caught speeding by a video camera.  In an attempt to not lose his driver license, he convinced his wife to claim it was her driving the car.

A tabloid then discovers the energy secretary has a mistress.  The wife gets mad…very mad.  She tells a paper his dirty little secret.  He loses his job.  They both go to jail for a while…for speeding and covering it up.   

The Energy Secretary is now out of jail and needs a job.   Who comes along to help him out?  Michael Zilkha and Zilkha Biomass!  The company gives the former Energy Secretary a $100,000 pound  job to work 2 days a week as the European Head Honcho of Zilkha Biomass Energy.

As a famous radio talk show host likes to say, I can’t make this stuff up.  Sounds like this is making quite a little ending to a British scandal.  The former Energy Secretary goes to jail and gets out with a job making $100,000 for a 16 hour work week.  This would be comparable to Clean Line Energy giving Rod Blagojevich a job once he is released from prison.  It’s understandable why many British find this objectionable.  They see a little know American energy company hires a disgraced bureaucrat and pays him high dollar for minimal work.

It is understandable somebody has to hire the Rod Blagojevich’s of the world.  A guy has to make a living.  What I find most interesting of this stories is the comments made by the British to the newspapers.  The quotes below sound remarkably like what several of us have been saying about Clean Line Energy.  These people have no clue about Clean Line’s desire to jump into the transmission business, but read these quotes.  The British see the same red flags about Zilkha Biomass as we see about Clean Line Energy, RICL, GBE, and P&ECL. 

Here are some of the British comments,

These wretched people are like teflon - nothing sticks to them!

He's not being paid that much because of what he knows, more likely WHO he knows.

Zilkha Biomass has just employed a convicted liar - will anyone trust anything they say?

Do we think his impeccable character references landed him this job then, or maybe the small matter of his contacts swung it for him.....nah, surely not.

So the fact that he's a criminal and a liar to boot doesn't bother these companies.

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