DOE Funding For Tesla In Jeopardy?

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Department of Energy chief Steven Chu says he wants to get cash out the door as quick as he can, but the department is already slowly moving its current $25 billion budget. If the stimulus bill adds more cash to DOE coffers, lawmakers worry that the cash will sit idle.

David Franz, the head of the Department of Energy’s clean energy loaning program did little to settle lawmakers nerves. Today he testified that while the program will begin disbursing loans this year, guarantees for projects that require environmental impact statements will not go through until 2010, according to Earth2Tech.

This is of great concern to companies like Tesla and Solyndra who are patiently waiting for the government checks so they can stay in business. With credit markets haywire and VCs tight, the DOE is the new sugar daddy for alternative energy start-ups.

If the DOE isn’t up to the task there is talk of taking the money out their hands entirely, creating a “clean bank” which would exist solely to dole out the government cash.

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