Energy’s loan program head steps down amid Solyndra controversy, moves to think tank

On the same day The Washington Post confirmed that the head of the Dept. of Energy’s controversial loan program would step down, the progressive think tank Third Way announced he would join the organization.

Jonathan Silver, who became executive director of the Loans Programs Office at the Dept. of Energy in Nov. 2009, has been the object of criticism by congressional Republicans after Solyndra secured a $535 federal loan guarantee and later declared bankruptcy. Despite the guarantee being provided to Solyndra before Silver’s appointment, he has remained the point of blame.

Silver joins Third Way as a distinguished visiting fellow and will help expand the Clean Energy Team’s Innovation Project, which aims to create a viable policy agenda for American clean tech innovation.

“[Silver’s] deep experience in the most senior levels of government and the private sector, and his understanding of how each operates, will help us tackle one of the most vexing problems that faces our nation: how do we to jumpstart a vibrant, innovative clean energy economy in the United States given the economic challenges before us?, said Third Way President Jonathan Cowan in a statement. He added: “There is a clear need for the US to engage in the emerging $2.3 trillion global clean energy market.”

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He blogs and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.


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