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DOE touts deal to recoup $200M from failed solar project

An aerial view of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 110-megawatt solar thermal power project in central Nevada. The Department of Energy said yesterday it will recover $200 million in taxpayer dollars from a loan guarantee issued under the Obama administration for a solar project in Nevada that flopped.

The $1.1 billion Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project located near Tonopah, Nev., landed a $737 million federal loan in 2011 and was trumpeted at the time as the world’s largest molten-salt power tower project. The operation, however, was fraught with problems, was outpaced by cheaper technology and is no longer operating.

If a bankruptcy court judge agrees, at least some of the government’s money will be returned, DOE spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said yesterday.

“This project has consistently faced technical failures that have proven difficult to overcome,” Hynes said, adding that the department’s decision was made “after years of exhausting options within our authority to get the project back on track, given the significant taxpayer investment the prior administration committed to this project.”

DOE is currently owed about $425 million, with the last payment made in July 2013.

The initial loan guarantee was announced by the Obama administration just three weeks after the ill-fated Solyndra […]

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