Wednesday, February 8, 2017

USA: Energy Loan Guarantee Program Under Threat

Trump May Retrench Massive Energy Loans (Transmission and Distribution World)

President Donald Trump’s advisers have recommended the Energy Department freeze and consider ending a loan program that famously backed the failed solar panel maker Solyndra, according to two people familiar with the plan.

A memo prepared by Trump’s transition team for Energy secretary nominee Rick Perry calls for a halt to new loan guarantees while the department determines what should be done with more than $25 billion still available for use, the people said. That would give the administration time to determine whether the program, initially created in legislation signed by then-President George W. Bush, should be shut down entirely.

Either way, the Energy Department would continue to administer the $30 billion portfolio it has of existing loans and guarantees, according to the people who declined to be identified discussing the memo because it isn’t public. The aid has helped nuclear plants and wind farms, solar-panel fabricators and the geothermal industry. Brian Mahar, a spokesman for the loan programs office, declined to comment.