A Local Green Energy Company's Got Bad News for Obama

Waltham-based electric car battery maker A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday, handing Mitt Romney a ready made attack on President Obama’s green energy investments just hours before their second debate. The company received $249 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009, which gives Romney added ammunition to his oft-stated claim that Obama “picks losers” in the green energy industry.

Stepping back from the current presidential politics, Yahoo’s Justin Hyde provides a helpful recent history to explain how expectations for the electric car industry and increased battery supply led to A123’s fall. Here’s a sample:

The Obama administration was far from alone in thinking that battery makers were a source of future jobs; A123 and Vieux had been guests of President George W. Bush when he touted his energy plans. Governments around the world, especially China and Japan, have poured billions of dollars into battery research and manufacturing. That money has yet to produce a breakthrough that would make EVs as usable as liquid-fuel vehicles, but it has created a mini-glut of battery makers, driving down prices. A123 attempted to lower its costs with deals in China and Korea, but neither paid off in time.

Quotes from Obama as when he told the company, “The work you’re doing will help power the American economy for years to come,” are already giving the Monday morning quaterbacks some fun so we’d bet quite a bit of money that Romney’s going to nailing Obama with this today.