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Clean Energy Loans = Taxpayers in $2.2 Billion Hole

On the front page of today's Washington Times, we learn, "Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2 billion in expected costs from the federal government’s energy loan guarantee programs, according to a new audit Monday that suggests the controversial projects may not pay for themselves, as officials had promised."

The Times story continues:

"Nearly $1 billion in loans have already defaulted under the Energy Department program, which included the infamous Solyndra stimulus project and dozens of other green technology programs the Obama administration has approved, totaling nearly about $30 billion in taxpayer backing, the Government Accountability Office reported in its audit.

"The hefty $2.2 billion price tag is actually an improvement over initial estimates, which found the government was poised to face $4 billion in losses from the loan guarantees. But as the projects have come to fruition, they’ve performed better, leaving taxpayers with a shrinking — though still sizable — liability.

“As of November 2014, DOE estimates the credit subsidy cost of the loans and loan guarantees in its portfolio — that is, the total expected net cost over the life of the loans — to be $2.21 billion, including $807 million for loans that have defaulted,” the GAO said in its report to Congress.

"The green program loan guarantees were created in a 2005 law and boosted by the 2009 stimulus. The first applications were approved in 2009, and through 2014 the Obama administration had issued some 38 loans and guarantees, covering 34 projects ranging from nuclear power plants to fuel-efficient vehicles to solar panels and wind-generation technology.

"The Energy Department said it considers the loan program a success.

The General Accountability Office (GAO) report, which is the basis for this report, is numbered GAO-15-438 (both the highlights page and the full 49-page report is available here).

What are members of Congress doing to reduce waste in the federal government? Have they done anything to eliminate these energy loans? After all, if there is money to be made on these loans, one would expect private banks to make these loans. We urge Growls readers to contact their members of Congress to ask what they are doing to eliminate these so-called clean energy loans. Contact information is available at Thomas (use left-hand column). Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County, can contact:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -  write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376.

Ask for a written response. And, tell them ACTA sent you.

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