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Environment

Renewable Energy: Obama offers $1 billion in loan guarantees for innovations

by Steven K. Gibb
August 31, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 34

The White House has created a new $1 billion loan guarantee program to spur investment in renewable energy and energy storage systems. It addresses a thorny challenge in the effort to combat climate change—promoting investment in cleaner energy supplies.

Proposals to develop, apply, or scale up innovative energy efficiency, energy storage, and renewable energy systems will be eligible for new Department of Energy loan guarantees, President Barack Obama announced last week. In addition to the new program, up to $10 billion in existing DOE loan guarantees will be open to such energy innovations.

The initiative is aimed at spurring advances in technologies and applications of both renewable energy sources and stored energy systems.

Renewable and energy storage organizations are praising the initiative. Matt Roberts of the Energy Storage Association says the effort will “definitely have an impact as DOE both brings financial resources and offers technical expertise to support these projects.” Roberts says the program will help innovative companies bridge the gap between venture capital investment when they are at the early idea stage and conventional lending that banks are more willing to extend to more mature, market-ready businesses.

According to the White House, the goal of the initiative is to increase the share of renewables to 20% of electric power generation (excluding hydropower) by 2030, install 300 MW of renewable energy on federally subsidized housing by 2020, and double energy production by 2030.

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