Watchdog Alert: Tracking Energy Loan Guarantees

October 12, 2011

The topic of federal loan guarantees for energy projects, once very low profile, has become prime media territory with the bankruptcy of the solar company Solyndra after it received one of these loans, likely leaving taxpayers on the hook for much of the money. But Solyndra is far from the only company that has received a guarantee for a large sum of money.

As of the end of September 2011, the DoE Loan Programs Office says it had issued loans or loan guarantees, or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees, for about $40 billion to support about 40 solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, nuclear, energy efficiency, energy storage, battery storage, or transmission projects.

Seventeen of these loan guarantees, for $9.3 billion for projects in at least 33 states, were handed out in August and September 2011. All these projects, and the others awarded earlier, may be worth digging into to see how those companies, and their projects, are doing.

The recent awards were:

SOLAR

BIOMASS

GEOTHERMAL

  • NV (Pershing, Lander, and Elko counties), $350 million, 3 power plants (JerseyValley, McGinness Hills, and Tuscarora), Ormat Nevada, Inc./ John Hancock Life Insurance Company (Sept. 23, 2011).

WIND

  • ME (near Roxbury), $102 million, Record Hill wind project, Record Hill Wind, LLC/Wagner Wind Energy I, LLC (New Hampshire)/Independence Wind, LLC (Maine)/Yale University Endowment (Aug. 15, 2011).
  • NH (Coos Co.), $169 million, wind farm, Granite Reliable Power, LLC/BAIF Granite Holdings, LLC/Freshet Wind Energy, LLC/ WestLB AG (Sept. 23, 2011).