On July 12, 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report critical of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program for renewable energy sources.
The GAO report notes that DOE has issued only one loan guarantee (for a $535 million solar panel manufacturing project) since the program’s inception in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and made nine conditional commitments. In 2009, DOE received more than 170 applications seeking more than $175 billion in loan guarantees. DOE currently has funding authority estimated at $77 billion, and is seeking additional funding.
The report’s recommendations include the following: (1) DOE should develop performance goals so it can monitor and measure the program’s success, (2) DOE should institute procedures to ensure it treats applicants consistently, which GAO found is not currently the case, and (3) DOE should establish mechanisms for administrative appeals and addressing applicant feedback. In a June 17 letter included as Appendix VI to the report, DOE has said it will take action to develop performance metrics, make the process more transparent, and streamline consideration of applications.