Energy loan program needs bailout due to bad loans

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon taxpayers will have to bail out a state energy loan program due to a series of delinquent loans to renewable energy companies.

The Oregonian reports (http://bit.ly/zVNU8r ) Wednesday that a State Debt Policy Advisory Commission report finds the Oregon Department of Energy's Small Scale Energy Loan Program will need $2 million to $5 million a year over the next five years for a total of up to $20 million to stay solvent.

The program has made 848 loans totaling $574 million since it was approved by voters in 1980. At year's end, five loans worth $13.4 million -- 10 percent of the current portfolio -- were delinquent.

Energy Department acting director Bob Repine blamed the losses on the poor economy, not poor management of the program.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com