An outside consultant hired by the White House to assess the Department of Energy’s hot-button green energy loan program suggests the agency hire a “chief risk officer” to better track companies backed by taxpayer-funded loans.
“To enhance the independence of the oversight function, DOE should create a new Risk Management department,” wrote Herbert Allison, the independent consultant.
That conclusion is among the core recommendations detailed in the 75-page report, released Friday afternoon.
The report was intended to help resolve concerns triggered by the political backlash over the Obama administration’s failed $535 million investment in upstart solar firm Solyndra, which declared bankruptcy last fall.
But the review never directly addresses Solyndra’s failure, or another DOE-backed green energy venture that went bankrupt, Beacon Power Corp.
Allison, a longtime official in the public and private sectors who most recently served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability, writes that he “did not evaluate the loans to Solyndra and Beacon” because those companies have already failed.
He also notes that his review was less exhaustive than it could have been because it was put on a 60-day fast track by the White House.
“Because of this abbreviated time period, the Independent Consultant’s work plan necessarily omitted activities that might have provided further insights,” Allison’s report notes, “such as a more detailed examination of each loan’s performance and of the financial, operational, regulatory, and market demand risks facing each loan applicant … and more extensive examination of the loan origination and monitoring processes and practices that DOE followed for each of the loans.”