The U.S. Department of Energy has selected a massive solar power plant to be built in California and Tesla Motors’ planned electric car factory in New Mexico as two of 16 projects eligible for up to $2 billion in federal loan guarantees. Such guarantees can prove critical in securing financing for untested technologies like the distributed power tower design planned for a 400-megawatt solar energy plant to be built by BrightSource Energy of Oakland, California, in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. Silicon Valley’s Tesla Motors intends to produce its WhiteStar electric sports sedan at the New Mexico factory. (The company’s first vehicle, the Roadster sports car, is being built in the U.K.)
"DOE’s action today will pave the way for federal support of clean energy projects using innovative technologies and will spur further investment in these advanced energy technologies," the Energy Department said in a statement. Other projects invited to submit final applications for the loan guarantees range from so-called clean coal power plants to fuel cell factories to biofuel production facilities.