The Department of Energy’s green-energy loan-guarantee program was first authorized back in 2005 and then expanded in Obama’s 2009 stimulus law to especially support renewable-energy projects and companies with government-selected “investments,” a.k.a. political favoritism. In 2011, however, after a rather large handful of well-publicized failures like Solyndra, the DOE thought it wise to take a hiatus before they cashed out on the full extent of their allotted loan authority; in the interim, they’ve doled out a few billion here and there to a couple of nuclear projects and clean-tech for fossil fuels, but the Obama administration now feels itself ready to make a grand return to its industry-coveted renewables “investments” of yesteryear:
The Department of Energy is targeting from $1.5 billion to as much as $4 billion for a new renewable energy project loan guarantee program, one that could open the door to solicitations for a range of smaller-scale, distributed and grid-integrated projects by the end of this year.
These details on a potential second round of DOE green energy loans were provided by Peter Davidson, executive director of DOE’s Loan Programs Office…
While DOE’s 1705 program funding is gone, the Loan Programs Office still has $1.5 billion in remaining renewable energy authority under the separate 1703 program, he noted. It also has roughly $2 billion in mixed-use authority, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in credit subsidy authority, that could add up to about $4 billion in available funds for a renewable solicitation.
None of this is set in stone, Davidson emphasized. But the Obama administration and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz are eager to fulfill the program’s mandate to back innovative technologies and business models that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and are viable for commercial scale, yet lack the track records to obtain purely private financing.
Yes, I have no doubt that they’re super eager to once again begin handing out special treatment, courtesy of the taxpayer, for their own political gain — i.e., bolstering their climate-change agenda with still more small-ball yet costly executive actions. Let not the fact that those projects “lack the track records to obtain purely private financing” trouble them, hem hem, nor that renewables investments across the globe have been declining in the past couple of years while several countries that dove into renewables-subsidization schemes headfirst have lately been heavily backtracking — nor that one of the last massive solar loan guarantees they issued in 2011 was for a gigantic solar farm whose specific technology might already be irrelevant. It’s whatever.