Idaho Power May Pull Plug To Hoku Plant

The Hoku solar panel plant struggling to get itself up and running in Pocatello can’t even pay its agreed upon electric bill to Idaho Power, it was revealed in a filing before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission Thursday.

The Chinese backed company has been the beneficiary of all kinds of public largess including local urban renewal funds (property taxes diverted from city, county, and schools), assorted state energy and economic development funds as well as Federal funds. Now they want extra time to pay their power bill, citing “cash flow” problems.

The company’s stock has plummeted to less than 1/4 its value earlier this year and is in danger of being delisted on the stock exchange where the current price is less than 60 cents a share.

The would-be polysilicon maker said losing power would delay the Pocatello plant’s commissioning and expose infrastructure to freezing as winter sets in. Southeastern Idaho’s hopes that Hoku’s $390 million plant will eventually add hundreds of green-energy jobs to the local economy have been shaken by uncertainty over whether the project will survive.

“If service is terminated, these high value systems may freeze, causing irreparable and material damage to Hoku’s plant assets,” the company’s lawyers told utility regulators in their complaint. “Any damage would need to be repaired, at additional cost, prior to continuing with the commissioning and operation of the plant.”

This failure to pay an existing Idaho utility a contractually agreed amount does little to help the local economy and could be a harbinger of the future for energy schemes dependent on government subsidies. We GROWTHOPHOBES have long welcomed corporations and individuals to our state as long as they can afford to pay the same taxes the rest of us pay and offer decent wages for the jobs they may create. If not, please visit one of the states competing against us.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Clearly this is Bush’s fault.

    But while we are at it, can we please identify the people who did win something from this lemon of public foolishness. I’m guessing there is someone who departed the deal with a suitcase full of cash for consulting all the fools… and I bet they are on retainer for future foolishness too.

    EDITOR NOTE–Well, the CFO actually did resign recently.

  2. And another one bite’s the dust!

  3. Back in the day when money was chased by people for investments there were things like “due diligence, ROI, EBIT, and debt to equity ” numbers crunched along with a business plan.

    Now we have money chasing people to no good purpose or profit realization. This is why the bubble burst…all that money chasing things that would never produce a profit.

  4. chicago sam
    Dec 31, 2011, 9:07 am

    At one time I actually owned stock in the company thinking it was the next best thing to burning garbage for electricity but when company diluted the stock and Chinese took control it was adios amigos. Number of stories on the internet but 4 years of construction and behind schedule and over budget pretty well sum it up. One report said company had as many as 500 construction workers and was burning thru cash at the rate of 20 million/month. I have been to the gate a couple of times and when I was there place looked dead. Don’t know where they hid 500 workers as it is not that big an area. Estimated total cost to complete the plant $700 million. My math on value of stock at current price 30 million

  5. One wonders why they did not use some of there own product to lower those cost?
    I was by there 4 weeks ago at night and the place was lite up like a Christmas tree. I wondered at the time if they had 24 hr office staff.

    EDITOR NOTE–Appears they don’t have a product yet. That’s one reason we chuckle at the “cash flow” problem.

  6. Gee whiz, I wonder if this could be another scam project. They invest a dime and keep ninety cents and send it back to China? A slow stroll to bankruptcy at investor and taxpayer expense.

  7. Got a good idea? Don’t bother:

    Got a bad idea and want to roll in public money for a few years? Call it green and watch the green pour in.

  8. Brian The Dog
    Jan 1, 2012, 4:39 am

    How much do they owe Idaho Power? I may be willing to cover the cost. Just tell me what it is money wise, US dollars, not Yuan.

    EDITOR NOTE–Looks like they owe $1.9 million for November and if they don’t make December payment it will be much more. ID PWR is obviously trying to cut its losses.

  9. Statesman has a article today on incentives to attract businesses to Idaho. Can’t agree with it at all.
    My thoughts is if they really want to be located in Idaho they would be willing to spend there own money to make that happen. If we pay them to come then once the money is gone so are they. Enough is enough with these companys taking advantage of our state and it’s tax payers.

  10. It is too bad that our COMMUNIST Chinese slave master enemies and their inept pals, our own local rulers, don’t believe in and practice mass Hara-Kiri (seppuku).

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: