Obama Adds $1 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Clean Energy

(Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama will announce on

Monday a $1 billion increase in loan guarantees for renewable

energy projects as part of a series of steps to promote

development of clean energy.

The federal government also will ease access to financing

for home-energy improvements made by some low-income families

and approve a transmission line for a California solar facility,

according to a White House fact sheet released before the

president speaks at a clean energy summit in Las Vegas.

After legislative efforts to limit U.S. carbon emissions

failed in Obama’s first term, he has made climate change a focus

of his remaining time in office by taking regulatory action,

including stricter rules on power-plant emissions of greenhouse

gases linked to global warming.

In Las Vegas, Obama “will talk about the imperative of

acting to address climate change, the progress we’ve made to cut

carbon pollution and accelerate the transition to a clean energy

economy,” Brian Deese, a senior adviser to the president, told

reporters on a conference call Monday. “We’re incredibly

focused on these issues.”

The president has set a target of reducing U.S. carbon

emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025.

Distributed Energy

Among the steps to be announced Monday, the Energy

Department will add as much as $1 billion in loan authority to

help promote innovation in so-called distributed energy projects

such as rooftop solar energy, energy storage and smart-grid

technology.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said federal support remains

critical as the the clean-energy industry seeks to establish a

foothold.

“The playing field is not always level and that’s where

investors and developers can have risks,” he told reporters on

the conference call. “That’s where things like our loan program

come in.”

Republicans have sought to trim federal funding for clean

energy programs, accusing the Obama administration of wasting

taxpayer funds. Moniz said the solar-energy industry would

continue to expand, albeit at a slower pace, if Congress failed

to extend tax credits for solar development beyond next year.

Blythe Project

Obama also will announce Interior Department approval of a

transmission line across federal lands for the Blythe Mesa Solar

Power Project in California. The 485-megawatt photovoltaic plant

will produce enough energy to power more than 145,000 homes in

California, according to the fact sheet.

The project will be located immediately adjacent to federal

land that has been designated as a special zone for solar energy

production, Ray Brady, manager of the Bureau of Land

Management’s National Renewable Energy Coordination Office, said

in a telephone interview last week.

The Housing and Urban Development Department will clarify

loan guidelines for Federal Housing Administration-insured

mortgages, available to loan-income families, to make it easier

to transfer loans that finance energy improvements or solar

panels when selling a home. The new loan rules also will permit

homebuyers to incur more debt on houses with above-average

energy efficiency, according to the fact sheet.

To contact the reporters on this story:

Mike Dorning in Washington at

mdorning@bloomberg.net;

Toluse Olorunnipa in Washington at

tolorunnipa@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:

Jon Morgan at

jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

Steve Geimann, Alex Wayne

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