Energy Dept's Last-minute Loans: Billions to Alternative Energy Firms

By:  Joe Wolverton, II
10/03/2011
       
Energy Dept's Last-minute Loans: Billions to Alternative Energy Firms

The Department of Energy (DOE) Friday finalized grants for four solar energy projects. The guaranteed funds being made available to the companies total more than $4.7 billion.  Earlier in the week, the DOE awarded separate loan guarantees worth one billion dollars for two solar power plants and one cellulosic ethanol biorefinery.

The decision comes several weeks after the Obama administration announced that Solyndra, a California-based solar energy component manufacturer, was awarded a $535-million loan guarantee. This bureaucratic boon came to Solyndra despite the fact that in 2009 the company had filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers. The grant, the circumstances surrounding it, and the recipient’s obvious lack of demonstrable viability combined in a cocktail of controversy that the President is still imbibing.

 
In addition to the foregoing financing, the DOE announced an additional guaranteed funding totaling $737 million for the construction of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110-megawatt solar-power-generating facility in Nye County, Nevada. The project is being spearheaded and overseen by Tonopah Solar, a subsidiary of California-based SolarReserve.
 
Despite the facts produced by the DOE itself regarding the questionable economic feasibility of financing solar and wind power versus traditional sources of energy, the Secretary of the Department wrote in a statement accompanying the announcements:

The Department of Energy (DOE) Friday finalized grants for four solar energy projects. The guaranteed funds being made available to the companies total more than $4.7 billion.

Earlier in the week, the DOE awarded separate loan guarantees worth one billion dollars for two solar power plants and one cellulosic ethanol biorefinery.

The decision comes several weeks after the Obama administration announced that Solyndra, a California-based solar energy component manufacturer, was awarded a $535-million loan guarantee. This bureaucratic boon came to Solyndra despite the fact that in 2009 the company had filed for bankruptcy and laid off 1,100 workers. The grant, the circumstances surrounding it, and the recipient’s obvious lack of demonstrable viability combined in a cocktail of controversy that the President is still imbibing.

 
In addition to the foregoing financing, the DOE announced an additional guaranteed funding totaling $737 million for the construction of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110-megawatt solar-power-generating facility in Nye County, Nevada. The project is being spearheaded and overseen by Tonopah Solar, a subsidiary of California-based SolarReserve.
 
Despite the facts produced by the DOE itself regarding the questionable economic feasibility of financing solar and wind power versus traditional sources of energy, the Secretary of the Department wrote in a statement accompanying the announcements:

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