The White House said the independent report "confirms that the loan portfolio as a whole is expected to perform well and holds less than the amount of risk envisioned by Congress when it created and funded the program." The report also includes a number of recommendations on how to improve the management of the Department's loan program and ongoing monitoring of the loan portfolio. The Department of Energy is reviewing the recommendations to determine the best way to use them to further strengthen the program.
In a blog posting the White House indicated that "DOE's loan programs are generating $40 billion in private investment in America's economy that is supporting 60,000 direct jobs and thousands more up and down the supply chain. With the help of this program, American workers will build wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear power plants across the country that will help power our economy for decades to come -- as well as the next generation of automobiles that will reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. And these numbers don't include the investments made in the supply chain or from other investments made from projects that have been able to get financing because the loan program helped structure and establish a market for them."
The White House noted that when Congress first developed this program under the Bush Administration, the purpose was to help fund some high risk projects to put America at the cutting edge of innovation. The White House indicated, "There's no question, as the report indicates, we expect more bumps along the road in emerging industries like clean energy. But as the President said in his State of the Union message, that's not a reason to throw up our hands and cede the jobs of the future to China or Germany or anywhere else. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable, and invest in a clean energy industry that's never been more promising."
Among other things the report recommends:
- DOE should assign authorities for decision-making only to individual managers and never to committees where collective responsibility can obscure individual accountability.
- DOE should develop explicit objectives and standards of performance for managing the Portfolio during the construction phase of the projects and beyond.
- DOE should create a new Risk Management department encompassing all DOE functions that monitor LPO [Loan Program Office] and should appoint a highly experienced Chief Risk Officer to head it. DOE should also reorganize oversight of the Program.
- Overall governance of the Programs would benefit from access to senior government officials of other departments and agencies who have knowledge of proven 'best practices' across credit programs government-wide.
"The very suggestion of an early warning system misses the point given that the internal warnings on Solyndra were abundant well before the half a billion dollar loan guarantee was finalized. What use are early warnings if they are ignored? Every warning on Solyndra fell on deaf ears while the experts understood Solyndra was doomed for failure, they were overruled every step of the way. If the Obama White House is indeed sincere about protecting taxpayers, its team of lawyers should swiftly comply with our subpoena for West Wing Solyndra documents. It has been 100 days since we were forced to subpoena the White House, and they continue withholding documents and shielding key staff from our investigators. This report reveals broad-based weaknesses, but it does not answer some of the most fundamental questions about how these risky bets were made over the objections of experts. Our investigation continues as we work to ensure taxpayers are never again stuck paying hundreds of millions of dollars because of the Obama administration's risky bets."
Access the White House blog post (click here). Access the complete report (click here). Access the statement from Senator Reid (click here). Access the statement from Senator Bingaman (click here). Access a release from Representative Markey (click here). Access a release from Representative Waxman (click here) Access the statement from Senator Murkowski (click here). Access the joint release from Reps. Upton & Stearns and link to related information (click here). Access the release from Rep. Issa and link to related information (click here). [#Energy]
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