• Funding comes from same program that guaranteed Solyndra loan
  • Loan program's portfolio expected to deliver $5 billion return

The U.S. Energy Department is offering another $1 billion to companies developing innovative energy systems, Secretary Ernest Moniz will announce Wednesday.

The department’s loan programs office now has $4.5 billion available for loan guarantees for renewable energy, up from $4 billion. Funding for the advanced fossil energy projects initiative has been boosted to $8.5 billion from $8 billion. The programs also support energy storage, smart grid technology and methane capture for oil and natural gas wells.

The program is part of the government’s efforts to spur the development of new energy technologies and reduce the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions. While the loan programs office was widely derided for its $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra LLC, a California-based solar manufacturer that went bankrupt in 2011, its portfolio has a loss rate of about 2 percent and is expected to earn at least $5 billion from its existing clean-energy loans.

The announcements “reflect what we are hearing from the market,” Mark McCall, executive director of the loan programs office, said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. There’s strong “demand for financing for innovative technologies.” The office manages more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees and commitments.

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