Not having learned its lesson with Solyndra and a half dozen other tax payer loan guarantees for iffy energy projects, the Energy Department is set to begin doling out taxpayer monies to more "destined to fail" projects.
The Energy Department said Thursday it expects to begin tentatively approving new taxpayer-backed loans for renewable energy projects in the coming months.
The announcement comes about seven months after Solyndra, the California solar firm that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the administration in 2009, went bankrupt, setting off a firestorm in Washington.
"The Department expects to begin issuing conditional commitments over the next several months after completing a rigorous internal and external review of each application," Energy Department loan program chief David Frantz wrote to the top lawmakers on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Frantz - in the letter to committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and ranking Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) - stressed that projects receiving loan guarantees will be "subject to a robust monitoring effort to ensure that taxpayers' investments are protected."
He defended the loan program from GOP critics, who have alleged that the administration is wasting taxpayer money by supporting risky renewable energy projects.
"By any measure, the Energy Department's loan programs have helped the United States keep pace in the fierce global race for clean energy technologies," Frantz wrote.
"Over the past three years the loan programs have invested in some of the world's biggest, most innovative, and most ambitious clean energy projects to date, supporting a balanced portfolio of American clean energy projects that are creating tens of thousands of jobs nationwide and are expected to provide power to nearly three million U.S. households," he said.
Sorry, but this is a crock. There haven't been "tens of thousands" of jobs created by these loans. That's nonsense. Besides, Obama promised millions of jobs would be created - another fantasy. And the reason that these companies need taxpayer guaranteed loans is because legitimate banks won't touch them with a ten foot poll without them. At least with the government involved, the bank might get some of their money back when the company goes belly up.
There's a reason these are high risk loans; the market isn't there yet and may never be. The government can't create a market out of thin air, can't force people to choose green alternatives - yet. Until they can, these loans will continue to be wasted.