One step forward, ten steps back??

Politics is full of surprises, but this week gave a very nasty one in the form of sections 1425 and 3001 of the House Continuing Resolution (CR) now under consideration. These sections would abruptly eliminate the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program for clean energy. Just like that. After the long hard fight we had for those same loan guarantees in the last two years, after we finally got loan guarantees for several large scale solar plants in the Southwest that would allow the solar industry to get its foot in the proverbial energy market door. This is not just a step back, this is ten steps back. If we cannot break ground this year on several of these large scale solar projects, it would deal a devastating blow to the US solar industry.

In the words of Arthur Haubenstock of BrightSource (about to break ground on the Ivanpah project): “It is a terrible threat to a fledgling industry”.  Arthur thinks that Ivanpah itself may not be affected, depending on when Ivanpah can close financing, but it would certainly  jeopardize other projects, such as Blythe, and send exactly the wrong signal.

An alarmed Senator Feinstein sent a letter to congress on Tuesday expressing her concern and strong opposition to these CR sections. She writes that “Five conditional loans already issues to renewable energy projects would have to be withdrawn, while 26 loan agreements with final term sheets in hand could never be completed”. These projects affect 35,000 US workers and $9billion in equity investment from the private sector.

Congress created the loan guarantee program in 2005 to assist large innovative energy projects that face great challenges in obtaining affordable long-term financing in the financial market. The total allocation since then has been $23 billion. This may sound like a lot, but for every dollar appropriated, the loans drive thirteen dollars of private sector investment. Other countries are supporting the renewable industry with similar guarantee programs. China, for example, provided nearly $37 billion in project financing last year through the China Development Bank.

What gets me also is that at the same time as these cuts, large loan guarantee programs are proposed to support nuclear development.

All in all, this is a shortsighted CR, which could hurt the US renewable energy industry, a lot. I’m following the debate anxiously.


One response to “One step forward, ten steps back??

  1. I don’t know if this is the correct vinue for my post or not. But this looks like a place is that concerned about engery, and fuel comsumption. Who am I? I’m a nobody. I work on cars for a living. Been doing this for nearly 16 years now I’m a highschool drop out. I have a wife and an 8yo son who I love very much. So what do I have to say. I watched a movie last night and it got me to thinking about an idea I had back in 1993. About building an engine without camshafts. Using solenoids for the valves. And thus being able to close off indivisual cylinders while under a vacuum when little power is needed. I know this is a sound concept cause each of the big 3 have dabbled into this. I think I read somewhere that Chrysler even built a proto type. SO what now? Why am I telling you this. Well The movie, got me thinking about trying to do what every it take to keep an Idea alive. I know I can’t get rich or anything like that. What I mean is I just want it built. Perhpas you can pass this idea to someone you may know who and make this a reality. I know heat is an issue with a solenoid, as well as speed and strengeth. But with the advance of mondern metals and high voltage systems on the horizon. This could possibly happen now. The concept of actually driving a V8 engine and just using 2 of the cylinders for cruising/idleing WILL WORK. This can SAVE FUEL like never seen before. Hybrid vehicles are just a fad, and arn’t really that efficent. Untill hydrogen infrastructor is built, this really is the answer to the life style the human race is a custom to. Thanks for reading this. Thankyou for you time. Ray S. Pierce.

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