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DOE revisits clean energy loan program

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In a recent interview, the executive director of DOE’s Loan Programs Office, Peter Davidson remarked on the stance of DOE towards the reboot of its green energy loan program. Although last active in September 2011, where funds were provided to solar energy projects, the program has not supported any green initiatives since. Yet under Davidson’s new leadership, the loan office already has permitted about $8 billion for a fossil fuels technology program and $6.5 billion for two separate nuclear reactor projects. Davidson plans for green technology to be the next energy source in line for financing. The target, however, is less than its other energy counterparts with the range extending between $1.5 and $4 billion.

The original loan program, referred to as 1705, had a high percentage of success at 97 percent, but did suffer much negative criticism from the press and the politicians due to the failure of the solar companies Solyndra and Abound Solar. In addition, no more funding remains from program 1705, so the funding must come from another source. The funding will come from a separate green program named 1703 which holds a $1.5 sum reserved strictly for renewable energy usage along with another $2 billion allocation for an undisclosed use and many millions of dollars in the form of credit subsidy. The total fund could reach up to $4 billion.

Although eager to push these plans into motion, Davidson stressed that these plans are still tentative. His faith in Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and the rest of the Obama administration regarding the program’s employment towards innovative technologies are strong however, and so DOE has begun discussions of the loan program with the intent to move forward. The most important discussion topic is which renewable sources to support. One of the front runners is the conversion of waste to energy. Davidson stated “We have a huge problem in this country with municipal solid wastes, going into landfills, creating huge methane leakages.” He also mentioned backing a renovation of hydropower and the improvement of storage capabilities for wind and solar power.

Regardless of which green technologies DOE decides to support, the loan program is making a step in the right direction. To read the full interview with Peter Davidson, please visit the story written by Jeff St. John on greentechmedia’s website.

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