If you worry that you might lose $10 billion but then only lose $3 billion, is that a success?

That's the current fiscal reality of the Department of Energy's advanced energy projects loan guarantee program, the one that most people know simply because it gave a loan guarantee to Solyndra, which then went belly up. The political debate continues about whether the DOE should have given out the loan guarantees in the first place, and now the White House is saying the program get better financial oversight and performance standards. That's the takeaway point from an audit the White House released Friday, the New York Times reports. The audit was started at President Obama's request last October.

Thus far, the audit revealed, according to the Detroit News, of the $23.5 billion allocated to the loan program, just $8.3 billion has been given out through 30 different loans. The current estimate is that $3 billion of that will not be returned. The DOE says that its $8.3 billion has generated $40 billion in private investment and is supporting at least 60,000 jobs.

As part of the audit process, the DOE is taking a harder look at the loans, which is one reason Fisker Automotive is renegotiating its loan.