Energy loans

The economy and environment will both benefit in the new loans being rewarded to energy companies.

The Department of Energy recently awarded the first alternative-energy loan guarantee. This program, which was established in 2005 under the Bush administration, has been in place for some time but has been unable to award a loan due to the vast amount of applications and clashing political forces. But now, new Energy Secretary Steven Chu has stated that he wants to make the program effective at lending out money to alternative-energy companies. An essential part of this program that is especially attractive to taxpayers is the word âÄúloan.âÄù Alternative-energy companies will use the money to start projects that will benefit both the economy and the environment, while at the same time having the obligation to pay the money back. An example of this is Solyndra Inc., the first company to receive a loan. The company will now use the credit to fund 75 percent of a new solar power plant, which will ultimately produce 15 gigawatts of electricity and save 300 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the air. This enticing program is yet another step in making the alternative-energy market viable in the United States. Companies will now have a finance partner to aid in the investment of nuclear power, energy efficiency programs and power transmission technology; all of which will create jobs and better the environment. But the Energy Department must be watchful of what technology it chooses to endorse in these loans. Technologies such as âÄúclean coalâÄù power plants are mostly unproven, and therefore should be avoided. The program has a great potential, but if the wrong technologies are endorsed, it could instead do a disservice to the country and its energy efficiency ambitions.