Government Audit Accuses Energy Dept. of Ignoring Own Guidelines for Green Energy Loans
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
While operating its $34 billion loan guarantee program, the Department of Energy has sometimes ignored its own rules for properly approving green energy financing. The program is supposed to support projects that deal with solar power, wind energy, geothermal power and biomass, as well those that advance nuclear power and fossil fuels.
After conducting an audit of the program, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Energy Department “in some cases deviated from the process without a clear explanation why,” Frank Rusco, the GAO auditor who wrote the report, told iWatch News. “This has gotten the program in trouble in the past and certainly raises questions that are hard for them to answer.” Some private energy analysts say that the department’s guidelines are fine…it’s just that they aren’t followed.
The GAO reviewed 13 winning applications and discovered that the department failed to adhere to written procedures at least once in 11 of the cases. In addition, the audit “identified more than 80 instances of deficiencies in documentation,” including missing signatures and dates. In six of the thirteen cases studied, the Energy Department failed to obtain a final independent engineering report before committing to the loan guarantee.
At least four of businesses who were approved for loan guarantees have filed for bankruptcy, including the high-profile cases of Solyndra Inc. and Beacon Power.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Audit Cites Risk In DOE Loan Program (by Ronnie Greene, iWatch News)
DOE Loan Guarantees: Further Actions Are Needed to Improve Tracking and Review of Applications (Government Accountability Office) (pdf)
Green Energy Firms Took Government Money, Awarded Bonuses, Filed for Bankruptcy (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Obama Administration Ignored Accurate Warnings about Failed Solar Company (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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