- Apr 12, 2008
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- real world
Questions Raised After DOE Hides Costs Of Energy Projects
By Yuliya Chernova, Of DOW JONES VENTUREWIRE
NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- The Department of Energy has removed from the public eye the total cost of renewable energy projects backed by billions of dollars in federal loans, in response to requests from recipients.
The loan guarantee program, which has come under fire by a Republican- controlled Congress, has committed more than $30 billion to 42 renewable energy projects since 2009, when the federal stimulus bill allocated capital for this purpose. Each project is listed in detail on the DOE's website, but the costs were recently taken down.
The move is unusual for the Obama administration, which in general has been more forthcoming online with government spending data than previous administrations. However, some critics, especially from Republicans, have complained that the DOE has withheld key information regarding the loan guarantee program in particular.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has been investigating the first loan made under the program in 2009 for solar-panel maker Solyndra Inc., which said on Wednesday that it plans to file for bankruptcy and is laying off 1,100 people.
Critics of the program have said that some of the projects could be too risky, especially considering that taxpayer dollars support them. The House Committee also raised questions about the political connections of Solyndra's backers and their role in winning the loan.