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Clean Energy Program Revived by Biden

The Biden administration has given its first renewable energy loan guarantee, restarting an Obama-era initiative that aided in the development of the country’s first utility-scale wind and solar farms a decade ago but has been largely dormant in recent years. The Energy Department announced that it would guarantee up to $1 billion in loans to help a Nebraska company scale up production of “Clean” hydrogen, which is used to transform natural gas into commercial products used in industry and agriculture.

The resurrected loan programme is part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to cut global warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, despite parliamentary impasse that has blocked a $2 trillion social and environmental package. It’s one of the instruments he has available to him without the need for new law. The programme aided Tesla’s quest to become a global electric vehicle powerhouse under President Barack Obama, but it crumbled after the California solar business Solyndra flopped shortly after receiving federal funding a decade ago, costing taxpayers more than $500 million.

Republicans and other critics pointed to Solyndra as an example of Obama’s stimulus program’s wasted expenditure. The loan guarantee for Monolith Inc., situated in Lincoln, is the program’s first non-nuclear credit guarantee since 2016. Monolith manufactures “carbon black,” a powdered substance that improves the performance of tyres and other rubber products, as well as hydrogen, which is utilised in ammonia-based fertilisers.

Monolith claims to be able to produce both items while drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm hailed the news as proof that the once-high-profile loan programme is back in operation and ready to help Clean energy projects such as biofuels, nuclear power, and offshore wind get off the ground.

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