The Dept of Energy (DOE) is breathing a sigh of relief – two companies that filed for bankruptcy after receiving support from its now infamous renewable energy program, are facing a brighter future.
Republicans are still after the DOE over Solyndra, and the fact that two other companies have also had financial difficulties hasn’t helped.
Ener1, which makes lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, received a $118.5 million grant under the Recovery Act, and filed for bankruptcy in January. The company has the go-ahead from a US bankruptcy court to restructure its debt and emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization by mid-March.
Ener1 says it will exit bankruptcy with $86 million in new equity funding and a stronger balance sheet.
And Beacon Power, the other firm that declared bankruptcy, will return over 70% of the DOE loan after its acquired by Rockland Capital, a private equity firm. The acquisition is expected to close this month.
Beacon’s energy storage technology rapidly absorbs electricity from the grid when demand drops, and then puts it back when demand rises. It makes it possible to use more solar and wind technology in the grid.
DOE says the acquisition confirms the value of Beacon’s energy storage technology. "Rockland’s commitment to this project highlights the need to continue to make investments in innovative, commercially viable projects that can help America compete for the clean energy jobs of tomorrow," says DOE spokesman Damien LaVera.
Last month, an independent review of DOE’s renewable energy loan program concluded its loan portfolio is expected to perform well and holds less risk than Congress originally anticipated when they approved the program under President Bush. It also found the DOE has done a good job of balancing the inevitable risks in the range of projects it selected.