Recovery Act Milestones

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Recovery Act Milestones
Every 100 days, the Department of Energy is held accountable for a progress report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Update at 200 days, hosted by Matt Rogers, Senior Advisor to Secretary Steven Chu for Recovery Act Implementation.
Matt Rogers
Energy Department Video

MATTHEW ROGERS:  So I’m Matt Rogers.  I’m the senior adviser to the secretary for Recovery Act implementation.  And Saturday, September the 5th, was the 200th day of the Recovery Act.  And it should be no surprise that we are accountable every hundred days; so it was a good chance to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and where we’re headed over the next hundred days or so.

If you take a step back, the secretary said when we started this thing we had to do four things at the same time:  We had to move the money out the door quickly; to create jobs and contribute to economic recovery.  And we had to do it through a set of competitive processes – so we selected great projects, not just OK projects.  We had to do it with accountability and transparency.  And at the end of the day, we had to make a meaningful contribution, a meaningful down payment, on the nation’s energy and environmental future.

We’re also – just been doing a whole set of things around environmental cleanup.  We’ve cleaned up more than 3,000 cubic meters of legacy low-level radioactive waste from some of the Cold War nuclear sites, and are well on our way to ameliorating 900 square miles of ground that had previously been contaminated and returning it to civilian use.  And so the Recovery Act within the Department of Energy goes from advanced science to energy efficiency to renewable energy to environmental cleanup.

We did $2.4 billion for batteries and transportation electrification in the first week in August, which was part of a broader program where we funded $17 billion of projects focused on restructuring the transportation sector just in the last two months.

So just before the 200th day, anniversary, we closed on Solyndra, our first loan under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act.  This is the first loan.  It’s for $535 million, for a solar power manufacturing facility in Fremont, California.  The exciting part about it, beyond just being a very important renewable manufacturing plant in the United States, is the ability then to bring – if the federal government does its part, to bring private capital off the sidelines.  So we committed $535 million to Solyndra.  They were then able to go out and raise another $198 million, to create a very attractive project where we have a high confidence of repayment, and the ability then to produce these solar panels in the United States.

Interestingly, some of Solyndra’s customers are then applicants under the 1603 program, so that we’re working both the supply side and the demand side of the – of the renewables equation.

And this was the – that’s the first close.  We’ve done three of these loans so far, and we have a very strong pipeline behind that.  And so we are excited about the ability to make a series of Title XVII loans as we work into the fall.