After Solyndra collapsed, the Department of Energy (DOE) should have learned its lesson. Guaranteeing loans for energy and industrial companies is a bad idea. The failures of Beacon Power and Fisker Automotive should have driven home the message. Now, we have further proof that the DOE isn’t paying attention.
Yesterday, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz traveled to Georgia to announce $6.5 billion in loan guarantees for two new nuclear reactors already under construction.
The loan, like so many others, has the markings of an incredible risky use of taxpayer dollars. According to the Washington Post, the project is already 21 months behind schedule. Additionally, Southern Company, the largest shareholder of the project, had its ratings’ outlook downgraded from “stable” to “negative” by Standard and Poor’s last year, in part because of “cost overruns” at the Georgia facility.
Even more frustrating, the company already had private loans in place to finance construction. Now we, the taxpayers, will save the company $250 million a year in interest costs by bearing the full burden of default.
The company also benefits from $2 billion in other federal tax credits, according to its CEO.