WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has issued its first clean energy loan guarantee, reviving an Obama-era program that helped launch the country’s first utility-scale wind and solar farms a decade ago but has largely gone dormant in recent years.
The Energy Department said it would guarantee up to $1 billion in loans to help a Nebraska company scale up production of “clean” hydrogen to convert natural gas into commercial products used in manufacturing and agriculture.
The revived loan program is part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to slash planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, amid legislative gridlock that has stalled a $2 trillion package of social and environmental initiatives. It’s among the tools he can use without new legislation.
Under President Barack Obama, the program boosted Tesla’s efforts to become a behemoth in electric cars, but it stumbled after the California solar company Solyndra failed soon after receiving federal aid a decade ago, costing taxpayers more than $500 million. Republicans and other critics seized on Solyndra as an example of wasteful spending under Obama’s stimulus program.