Audit Report: The Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program for Clean Energy Technologies
The goal of the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program (Program), as defined in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, is to provide Federal support, in the form of loan guarantees, to spur commercial investments in clean energy projects that use innovative technologies. The Department estimates that the Program, one of the largest of its kind in U.S. history, can guarantee at present up to $71 billion in loans.
The audit found that the Loan Guarantee Program could not always readily demonstrate, through systematically organized records, including contemporaneous notes, how it resolved or mitigated relevant risks prior to granting loan guarantees. Despite a number of positive actions on the part of Program officials, the Office of the Inspector General noted that:
- Decision documents summarizing the results of the due diligence and risk assessment processes did not always describe actions officials told us they took to address, mitigate and/or resolve risks; and,
- Loan origination files, which according to Federal regulations are to contain key documentation to support actions taken as part of the loan guarantee process, were not maintained in the Program's official electronic information repository. Of the 18 projects with loan guarantees or conditional commitments, there was no information archived in the electronic system for 3 of the projects. The system included only limited data for 12 additional projects. Documentation for the remaining three projects was more robust, but did not include all of the information necessary to describe the actions taken to evaluate the applicant's credit worthiness and/or the risks associated with the projects.