The US Export-Import Bank opens its 2011 books, showing its commitment to renewable energies … which is still unfortunately still a drop in the larger bucket of federal funding.
December 23, 2011 – The US Export-Import bank achieved its third consecutive record year in 2011, exceeding $32B of financing in support of $41.3B of exports, for 3600 US companies and creating nearly 300,000 “export-related American jobs.” (For skeptical taxpayers who immediately cringe at the mention of big government investments in business, the Ex-Im Bank notes that over the past five years it has earned for US taxpayers $1.9B above the cost of operations.)
In summarizing its efforts, Ex-Im calls out its support for renewable energy initiatives. Out of a record $889M support for $1.3B in US exports “of environmentally beneficial goods and services,” $721M of that was for renewable energy production, vs. $332M in 2010 and $101M in 2009. (Note that’s only about 2% of the Ex-Im Bank’s total 2011 financing; to add further perspective, it also handed out $4.8B — seven times more — for fossil-fuel plants and oil/gas development and refining projects.)
Specific Ex-Im solar projects include being the first international financing institution to finance a solar power project under India’s National Solar Mission (20GW by 2022), and approving $180M for seven Indian solar projects using products from First Solar, Abound Solar, and SolarWorld among others (and multiple hundreds of US$M in Indian projects in the pipeline). A bit closer to home, it also authorized two transactions totaling $430M to support Canadian solar projects with ties to First Solar.