Oct 03, 2011 3:00 PM GMT
In a remote desert spot in northern Nevada, there is a geothermal plant run by a politically connected clean energy start-up that has relied heavily on an Obama administration loan guarantee and is now facing financial turmoil.
The company is Nevada Geothermal Power, which like Solyndra, the now-famous California solar company, is struggling with debt after encountering problems at its only operating plant.
After a series of technical missteps that are draining Nevada Geothermal’s cash reserves, its own auditor concluded in a filing released last week that there was “significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
It is a description that echoes the warning issued in 2010 by auditors hired by Solyndra, which benefited from the same Energy Department loan guarantee before its collapse in August caused the Obama administration great embarrassment.
The parallels between the companies illustrate the risk inherent in building the clean energy marketplace in the United States, government officials and industry experts say. Indeed, the loan guarantee program exists precisely because none of these ventures are a sure bet.