Energy Department Ready to Issue Green Loan Guarantee

March 22nd, 2009

Posted by: admin

From the Bits Blog of The New York Times comes word of a Department of Energy loan guarantee. The Department has tentatively issued a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, Inc. for the company to ramp up production of its photovoltaic systems.   The loan guarantee is intended to cover 75 percent of the project expenses.  The company indicated the loan guarantee would be essential in achieving the economies of scale it needs to make production cost-effective.  Their systems are intended for commercial use and lie flat, rather than at an angle.

No, this isn’t part of the economic recovery plan, and Secretary Chu isn’t trying to usurp Secretary Geithner’s post at Treasury.  While Secretary Chu’s announcement highlights the prospective economic and environmental impacts of the guarantees in language consistent with the Administration, the program actually dates to 2005 – smack dab in the midst of the Bush Administration.  Apparently the Department has struggled for nearly four years to start issuing what might ultimately be $40 billion in loan guarantees.  Better late than never?

One Response to “Energy Department Ready to Issue Green Loan Guarantee”

  1. George Tobin Says:

    It would great if the federal government funded overlooked avenues, risky but potentially very productive methods and the basic research needed to fill in the gaps and complete the foundation for the next generation of energy technologies.

    That, of course, will not happen. Government will fund projects connected to politicians.

    Government will fund technologies which are never going to be cost-effective because those activities will spend more for lobbyists and pursue subsidies more aggressively (Ethanol from corn comes to mind..).

    And government funding czars will favor older but not very useful studies like the ones the czars themselves did before they became czars. (Why else would there be 20 years of cancer research focusing on rather pointless repetitions of the cyclamate paradigm –giant toxic doses given to small animals to ‘prove’ carcinogenicity or ordinary products.)

    It would be great if this actually spurred an effective, market-driven deployment of solar powered technology. But I am not optimistic.