For nearly a year, Congressional critics of the Energy Department’s loan programs have demonstrated a consistent pattern of cherry-picking individual emails from the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents the Department has provided to Congress with the sole purpose of inventing false and misleading controversy. The latest example is an effort to falsely suggest two of the Department’s loan guarantees, the Agua Caliente and Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, did not meet the Department’s definition for “innovative” – a definition that was first established during the Bush Administration.
Critics have cherry picked and taken out of context an email from the Chief Engineer of the loan program’s Technical and Project Management Division in which he said that one of the many technologies used in the projects could not, by itself in isolation, be defined as innovative. The email never says the project as a whole is not innovative or not eligible -- it simply asks for some corrections to powerpoint slides. Indeed, what the critics – and unfortunately, the New York Times – fail to mention is that the same career official also signed off on the project as a whole meeting the program’s standard for innovation, and wrote a memo discussing at some length the specific innovative technologies being used in the project.
Read the memo here.
If anything, these documents offer yet another glimpse behind the scenes to confirm that the loan program has a robust, thoughtful process in which the technical, financial and legal aspects of each transaction are carefully reviewed and all viewpoints are given full and fair consideration. Indeed, the career official in this case only signed off after a complete and thorough process had satisfied him that these projects qualified as innovative.
Most importantly, these two innovative solar projects will support hundreds of jobs, provide clean power to tens of thousands of homes and help America compete in the race for the clean energy jobs and technologies of the future.