Energy Department Touts Controversial Loan Program as Huge Solar Project Opens

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Secretary of Energy nominee Ernest Moniz arrives for testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. Moniz, a nuclear physicist, testified before a full committee hearing on his pending nomination. 
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Ben Geman
Feb. 13, 2014, 3:13 a.m.

En­ergy Sec­ret­ary Ern­est Mon­iz will be in Cali­for­nia on Thursday for the form­al open­ing of a huge sol­ar-power pro­ject sup­por­ted by his de­part­ment’s green tech­no­logy loan pro­gram.

The Ivan­pah Sol­ar En­ergy Gen­er­at­ing Sys­tem in the Mo­jave Desert, a vast ar­ray of mir­rors that makes it the world’s largest sol­ar pro­ject of its kind, was helped along by a $1.6 bil­lion En­ergy De­part­ment loan guar­an­tee in 2011.

De­part­ment of­fi­cials are tout­ing it as a ma­jor win for the loan-guar­an­tee pro­gram, which has faced years of polit­ic­al at­tacks from Re­pub­lic­ans over the 2011 col­lapse of the sol­ar-pan­el man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany Solyn­dra and some oth­er flops.

But de­part­ment of­fi­cials note that in the main, the loan port­fo­lio of more than two dozen pro­jects has been a suc­cess—and point to Ivan­pah as a big ex­ample.

The loan pro­gram was cre­ated through a bi­par­tis­an 2005 en­ergy law but first began sup­port­ing pro­jects un­der the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“This pro­ject was made pos­sible by the suc­cess­ful pub­lic-private part­ner­ship between the De­part­ment of En­ergy and the pro­ject spon­sors,” said Peter Dav­id­son, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the En­ergy De­part­ment’s loan pro­grams of­fice.

Ivan­pah, a $2.2 bil­lion pro­ject, is a joint ef­fort of NRG En­ergy, Google, and Bright­Source En­ergy. The com­pan­ies say it will provide enough elec­tri­city to power 140,000 homes.

Most of the power will be sold to Pa­cific Gas & Elec­tric and South­ern Cali­for­nia Edis­on, ac­cord­ing to the En­ergy De­part­ment.

The San Fran­cisco Chron­icle has an in-depth look at the pro­ject here.

The As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports on the his­tory of Ivan­pah, call­ing it a “a mile­stone for a grow­ing in­dustry that is test­ing the bal­ance between wil­der­ness con­ser­va­tion and the pur­suit of green en­ergy across the West.”

“Ivan­pah can be seen as a suc­cess story and a cau­tion­ary tale, high­light­ing the in­ev­it­able trade-offs between the need for clean­er power and the loss of fra­gile, open land,” AP re­ports.

Mon­iz, in a state­ment, called the pro­ject a demon­stra­tion of wider White House en­ergy goals.

“We must con­tin­ue to move to­ward a clean­er en­ergy eco­nomy, and this pro­ject shows that build­ing a clean-en­ergy eco­nomy cre­ates jobs, curbs green­house gas emis­sions, and fosters Amer­ic­an in­nov­a­tion,” said Mon­iz, who also noted that in­stall­a­tions of util­ity-scale sol­ar pro­jects in the U.S. set a re­cord last year.

What We're Following See More »
60 VOTES NEEDED
Kaine and Warner Oppose CR
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
6 YEAR EXTENSION, NOT 30 DAYS
Cornyn Corrects Trump on CHIP
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
PRO-TRUMP SPENDING COULD VIOLATE FECA
FBI Investigating Potential Russian Donations to NRA
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.

Source:
VIOLATORS WOULD BE IDENTIFIED
Members Will Now Have to Pay Misconduct Settlements
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Senior House negotiators are set to unveil as soon as Thursday a bipartisan plan to shake up Capitol Hill’s workplace harassment system — and to force lawmakers found liable for misconduct to pay settlements with their own money. ... The Hill's Office of Compliance, which adjudicates workplace harassment claims, would release a report every six months on misconduct settlements, including the identities of the offices involved."

Source:
UNDERMINES ALLIES ON CHIP, WALL
Trump Tweets Complicate Shutdown Talks
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump on Thursday undermined efforts by House Republican leaders and his own staff to avoid a government shutdown, criticizing a decision to include an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in a GOP-crafted stopgap spending bill." He said the CHIP fix “should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!” Earlier this morning, he contradicted Chief of Staff John Kelly, saying that his views on the Mexican border wall have not "evolved," and he still expects Mexico to pay for it.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login