DOE’s clean-energy loan guarantees costing taxpayers 46% less

If the mainstream media has reported on the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantees for advanced technologies, it’s been about the controversy. Solyndra! But here’s the news you probably haven’t heard: the federal government loan guarantees will cost the American public about 46 percent less than originally estimated because many of the green tech companies are paying back the loans quicker than expected…

U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees will cost Americans about $2.7 billion, down from the $5 billion originally estimated, Think Progress is reporting, citing Herb Allison, ex-national finance chairman for Sen. John McCain. The DOE had already recently forecast the loans, which were committed to companies that produced everything from wind farms to cellulosic ethanol and solar power plants, to cost about $3 billion. For comparison, taxpayers subsidized Big Oil to the tune of $70 billion between 2002 and 2008

DOE loans towards clean-energy projects have been a divisive issue as the government looks to narrow its budget deficit and analysts and politicos debate over the dynamics of weaning the country off of fossil fuels…DOE loans have also been a point of contention among start-up automakers looking for funding for alt-fuel vehicles.

Last month, extended-range plug-in utility vehicle maker Bright Automotive shut down after accusing the federal government of taking too long to process its $400 million in loan requests. The future of Fisker Automotive, maker of the extended-range luxury sedan Karma, has also been called into question because of that company’s inability to secure most of the $520 million in loans it was slated to get from the DOE.

Efficiencies, proof of the loan granting-process over almost all of the companies involved means nothing to beancounters – whether the whine derives from intellectual dishonesty or right-wing ideology.

There are set and stable procedures for federal loans. Believe me, the paperwork isn’t reduced by any comparison with private loans. The essential difference is aid to small business and advancing the public good. There isn’t anyone left other than True Believers who accept the Republican Party fiction about any concern for small business or the public in general.

Some of these pundits and panderers blather on about these loans as if we the people lose money on every one. Folks, it’s just like banks – you don’t lose money unless there’s a default. The whole program has not only been sound – with damned few flops – it’s been profitable. That’s the significant difference between several billions of dollars the Feds have loaned in the quest for alternative energy savings – and the tens of billions Congress and the last Republican administration handed over on a silver platter to Big Oil as subsidies.

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