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Ener1, an electric car battery company that the Obama administration awarded a $118 million stimulus grant to expand its operations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday after being unable to repay pressing debts.

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Ener1 is the third company to seek bankruptcy protection among those the Energy Department backed as part of the president’s signature program to invest in clean energy. Solyndra, a California solar-panel maker, and Beacon Power, a Massachusetts energy-storage firm, entered bankruptcy court proceedings in the fall, after having received taxpayer-guaranteed loans of $535 million and $43 million, respectively.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President foreshadowed the bad news by saying that he remained proud of his administration’s $80 billion commitment to clean-energy projects and companies, despite periodic failures. The Ener1 grant, among $2.4 billion in federal awards to spur the electric car industry. (Wash Post, 1/26/2012)