PG&E Crisis Exposes Risks of Energy Department Loan Program

Is the Department of Energy’s loan and loan guarantee program for renewable-energy companies worth risking the government, and ultimately taxpayers, billions of dollars in losses, like it may in the PG&E crisis?

That’s because the U.S. Energy Department has backed renewable-energy projects contracted to supply power to PG&E with a total of $8.3 billion in loans and loan guarantees. And a bankruptcy filing — which PG&E plans to make as soon as month’s end — threatens those power-purchase agreements, along with several others signed years ago when green-power prices were much higher than they are now.

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