Second Energy Department-backed company goes bankrupt

By Ben Geman - 10/31/11 08:04 AM ET

A Massachusetts company that received a $43 million Energy Department loan guarantee last year filed for bankruptcy Sunday, a step certain to fuel criticism of federal green energy financing in the wake of the solar company Solyndra’s collapse.

Beacon Power Corp., which develops energy storage systems, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

Beacon Power had received federal loan guarantee to help build an energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York that began operating in January. The Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank provided the loan.

Beacon sought bankruptcy protection two days after the White House ordered an independent 60-day evaluation of the Energy Department's loan programs aimed at ensuring effective management and monitoring.

The review, conducted by a former Treasury Department official, will include examination of how Beacon’s project is performing going forward, and whether there are additional steps that can be taken to protect taxpayers, according to the Obama administration.The Beacon bankruptcy comes roughly two months after the California solar panel maker Solyndra, which had received a $535 million Energy Department (DOE) loan guarantee in 2009, went belly up and laid off 1,100 workers.

Solyndra’s collapse unleashed a torrent of GOP-led attacks on the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program. 

 

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