The Corner

DOE Announces $1.2 Billion Loan to Solar Firm

The Obama administration simply cannot help itself. Like a hapless gambler scouring the sidewalk for slot quarters, the White House continues — in spite of the embarrassing failure of its pet project Solyndra — to shower billions on “green” companies in the form of taxpayer-guaranteed loans. The LA Times reports:

The U.S. Energy Department hopes that a new solar energy project will result in about 900 construction and permanent operations jobs.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said today that his department had finalized a $1.2-billion loan guarantee to Mojave Solar for the development of the Mojave Solar Project. When complete, the 250-megawatt solar generation project in San Bernardino County will increase the nation’s currently installed concentrating solar power capacity by approximately 50%.

Abengoa Solar Inc., the project sponsor, is the source of the estimate on construction and permanent operations jobs.

“Investments in solar generation facilities like the Mojave Solar Project are critical to our effort to create good, clean energy jobs in America and compete with countries like China in the global clean energy race,” Chu said. “This project will supply local utilities with energy, help drive down the cost of solar power and fund more than 900 American jobs, all at minimal risk to the taxpayer.”

That’s more than double the $535 million dished out to Solyndra, and works out to about $1.3 million per job created, which seems to be par for the course when it comes to these types of ventures. And because most of those (construction) jobs will presumably be temporary, the real figure is actually much higher.

The loan to the Mojave Solar Project was authorized by the same program that approved funding for Solyndra. In fact, the Department of Energy still has some $10.4 billion in pending loans that — in accordance with the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (the stimulus package) — must allocatd before Sept. 30, 2011 or else they will be recouped. Reps. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Cliff Stearns (R., Fla.), chairman of the Subcomittee on Oversight and Investigation, have called on the administration not to proceed with any new loans until the Solydra debacle can be fully investigated, apparently to no avail. “With taxpayers potentially on the hook for this half-billion dollar bust, it’s time to sound the alarm about the remaining $10 billion in loan guarantees set to expire September 30,” Upton and Stearns said in a statement. “Let’s learn the lessons of Solyndra before another dollar goes out the door.”

More here.

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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