The office in the U.S. Department of Energy that opened last summer to provide federal loan guarantees for producing clean energy and innovative technologies has only one employee who hasn’t had time to do more than open the mail, The San Jose Mercury News reports.
Pre-applications for loan guarantees simply get shelved because the Department of Energy hasn’t had the money to hire more staff to assess them.
One application is from Iogen, the Canadian biotechnology company that wants to open a $500 million plant near Idaho Falls that would be the first in the world to produce cellulose ethanol.
The company expects to turn out annually 20 million to 50 million gallons of the biofuel and has already contracted with 320 farmers in southeastern Idaho, who could collectively reap $25 million to $35 million a year.
“It’s a race between Canada, Germany and the U.S.” to host the plant, Passmore said.