Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts Gov., plans to stop government efforts to help private businesses by offering guarantees and loans for green energy.
He recently visited Solyndra LLC, the bankrupt solar panel factory from California, only to criticize the Obama administration’s efforts to offer loans for new technology. The company received a loan of $535 million from the Energy Department’s clean energy loan programs, but eventually laid off 1,100 employees.
“The government is now picking winners and losers — or in the case of this president — it’s picking losers and the private sector does a much better job,” Romney told The Detroit News in a wide-ranging interview.
In September 2011 the program that funded Solyndra was shuttered, but a similar program is still available. The $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, a third green energy program created in 2007 by Congress, offered loans of $8.5 billion, from which $5.9 billion to Ford Motor and $1.4 billion to Nissan Motor.
The Energy Department hasn’t made any auto sector loan in 14 months, withdrew the proposed loan to Russian steelmaker Severstal OAO in January 2012, and froze nearly $340 million of Fisker’s loan.