Obama Adds $1 Billion in Loan
by Mike Dorning
President Barack Obama will announce on Monday a $1 billion increase in loan guarantees for renewable energy projects as part of a series of steps to promote development of clean energy.
The federal government also will ease access to financing for home-energy improvements made by some low-income families and approve a transmission line for a California solar facility, according to a White House fact sheet released before the president speaks at a clean energy summit in Las Vegas.
After legislative efforts to limit U.S. carbon emissions failed in Obama's first term, he has made climate change a focus of his remaining time in office by taking regulatory action, including stricter rules on power-plant emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
He has set a target of reducing U.S. carbon emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025.
Among the steps to be announced Monday, the Energy Department will add as much as $1 billion in loan authority to help promote innovation in so-called distributed energy projects such as rooftop solar energy, energy storage and smart-grid technology.
The Interior Department will approve a power transmission line across federal lands for the Blythe Mesa Solar Power Project in California. The 485-megawatt photovoltaic plant will produce enough renewable energy to power more than 145,000 homes in California, according to the fact sheet.
The project will be located immediately adjacent to federally owned land that has been designated as a special zone for solar energy production, Ray Brady, manager of the Bureau of Land Management's National Renewable Energy Coordination Office, said in a telephone interview last week.
The Housing and Urban Development Department will clarify loan guidelines for Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages, available to loan-income families, to make it easier to transfer loans that finance energy improvements or solar panels when selling a home. The new loan rules also will permit homebuyers to incur more debt on houses with above-average energy efficiency, according to the fact sheet.
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