While some in Congress and the media are now alleging that Department of Energy rushed the application, as far back as 2007 and as recently as July 2010, Republicans in Congress were complaining about the slow pace of reviewing and approving loan applications. In fact, during Secretary Chu’s 2009 confirmation hearings, Republicans in the Senate pressed Secretary Chu to make accelerating the loan program a priority.
April 2007 -- Representative Joe Barton Calls for “Renewed Commitment to Make This Program Move Forward.” "I am glad to hear we are here to talk about what I consider to be a very important part of the Energy Policy Act. I think it is central to our discussions about climate change and reducing CO2 emissions. The very purpose of the loan guarantee program is to bridge the gap between the capital new alternative energy projects need to get built and the amount that investors are actually willing to invest and put their own capital at risk. So this is a program that we need to get moving. I hope that this hearing facilitates some clear thinking and some re-emphasis and renewed commitment to make this program move forward." - Rep. Joe Barton [Hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality on the Implementation of EPACT 2005 Loan Guarantee Programs by the Department of Energy, April 24, 2007]
April 2007 -- Representative Dennis Hastert: “Get This Loan Guarantee Program Operational Soon." "But the bottom line is that we need to get this loan guarantee program operational soon. Congress intended to have these loans guaranteed at a full 80 percent of the project cost, not to 80 percent of 80 percent that we are now hearing some spin. This full financing is essential for the future of energy innovation in this country. Title XVII provides the loan guarantees to get new technology like clean coal, carbon capture and sequestration, and the next generation nuclear and ethanol on the ground running and into the market. Not only do these technologies improve our energy security, but they will also improve our environment. But again, to get there, we need new technology; that is why title XVII is so important. Properly operated, the title XVII loan guarantees could bring these new technologies to market with benefits that all Americans are certain to realize." - Rep. Dennis Hastert [Hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality on the Implementation of EPACT 2005 Loan Guarantee Programs by the Department of Energy, April 24, 2007]
Chu Confirmation Hearing: Senator Burr Complains about “Too Many Hurdles” to Loan Applicants. "Just recently Progress Energy in North Carolina announced two new plants in Florida that they would construct, and they made the statement that they think that they will seek to do these without DOE loan guarantees because they had run into too many hurdles with the program. One, it has been slow to get up and running and structurally in place. Now, all of a sudden, we are hearing companies that talk about it is problematic to go that route. We are on a time line that from a reliability standpoint, we have to start construction and we have to do it soon. Do you support the loan guarantee program, No. 1?" - Sen. Richard Burr [Hearing to Consider the Nomination of Steven Chu to be Secretary Energy, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, January 13, 2009, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111shrg47253/html/CHRG-111shrg47253.htm]
Chu Confirmation Hearing: Senator Burr Calls Pace of Loan Program “Very Frustrating.” "You have been asked about the loan program. That really needs to move forward. It is just very frustrating to see it be delayed as it is." - Sen. Richard Burr [Hearing to Consider the Nomination of Steven Chu to be Secretary Energy, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, January 13, 2009, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111shrg47253/html/CHRG-111shrg47253.htm]
July 2010 Budget Hearing – Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) Complains that Just 6% of Loans Closed. "As you know, I am a big supporter of the loan guarantee program and believe it is an important tool to enable energy projects to access credit markets during a time when credit is extremely hard to obtain. I understand that the Recovery Act included $4 billion in appropriations for loan guarantees for renewable energy projects, which I believe provides you with $32-$35 billion in additional authority, of which only 6% has been committed, correct?" - Rep. Mike Simpson [Hearing before the House Committee on the Budget, Questions Submitted by Congressman Mike Simpson, July 14, 2010]
July 2010 Budget Hearing – Representative Simpson (R-ID): “Get the Money Out the Door Quickly to Rapidly Create Jobs." "As I understand it, the goal of the ARRA funding particularly is to get the money out the door quickly to rapidly create jobs, and I am extremely concerned that very little of that funding has gone out. Are there an insufficient number of qualified projects applying? Could you please explain why DOE has been unable to obligate these funds more rapidly?" - Rep. Mike Simpson [Hearing before the House Committee on the Budget, Questions Submitted by Congressman mike Simpson, July 14, 2010]