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DOE reviving loan program

WASHINGTON (AP) — As part of its clean-energy agenda, the Biden administration is reviving an Energy Department program that disbursed billions of dollars in loan guarantees to companies such as electric car maker Tesla and the failed solar company Solyndra, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says.

The loan program helped launch the country’s first utility-scale wind and solar farms as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to create “green jobs,” but largely went dormant under President Donald Trump.

The program boosted Tesla’s efforts to become a behemoth in electric cars, but it stumbled with a major loan guarantee to Solyndra, the California solar company that failed soon after receiving federal money a decade ago, costing taxpayers more than $500 million.

Republicans and other critics cite Solyndra as an example of wasteful spending under President Barack Obama’s stimulus program, and the loan guarantees have largely dried up in recent years. The Energy Department provided $12 billion in guarantees for the Vogtle nuclear power station in Georgia, but few other loans were offered under Trump.

That’s about to change — in a big way, Granholm says.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Granholm said up to $40 billion in guarantees will be made available for a variety of clean-energy projects, including wind, solar and hydro power, advanced vehicles, geothermal and even nuclear.

“It’s got to be clean. That’s it,” she said. “And when I say clean, you know, it’s technologies that are being researched in the lab,” like projects to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions, so-called green hydrogen fuel and other energy sources, she said.

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