Department of Energy

The Energy Department can’t figure out how hundreds of thousands of dollars in “green energy” stimulus money earmarked for manufacturing equipment was spent, according to a new report from the agency’s Inspector General.

DOE’s IG stated in a July 2012 audit report that $500,000 of equipment bought with stimulus money to fund the Advanced Batteries and Hybrid Components Program cannot be located.

The authors of the report examined three recipients of stimulus money: A123 Systems, Inc., Delphi Automotive Systems and Johnson Controls, Inc.  The report claims that “one of the three recipients” does not have information that provides the location of purchased equipment.

“Despite the assistance of recipient officials familiar with the premises and knowledgeable about the purchases made, we were unable to locate 20 of the 37 equipment items sampled,” the report states.  “The missing items were valued at approximately $500,000.”

The authors of the report would not release the name of the recipient that lost the $500,000.

The stimulus allocated $2 billion “to support the construction of U.S. based battery and electric drive component manufacturing plants.”  In all, it gave 30 grants worth $1.2 billion to for-profit manufactures.

Although the DoE requires that for-profit manufacturing grant recipients display “best commercial practices,” a set criterion to fit this standard does not exist.

“Regulations currently require for-profit recipients to follow best commercial practices, but do not define such practices,” the report states.  “One recipient in our sample had purchased about $24 million in equipment and services without adequately documenting purchasing decisions.”

It also concluded that the Department “obtain and review required audit reports to ensure the sufficiency of internal controls and compliance with laws and regulations” in order to improve its administering of the Advanced Batteries and Hybrid Components Program. “Of 28 program recipients, 8 had not submitted required reports.”

Melanie Wilcox is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.