The Big Picture: DOE Loan Guarantees

Of the $35.9 billion in loan guarantees awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) since 2009, roughly $26.5 billion have financed nuclear and renewable power projects across the nation through the Section 1703 and 1705 loan guarantee programs.

Section 1703 of the 2005 Energy Policy Act’s (EPAct’s) Title XVII is meant to support clean energy technologies (including nuclear, advanced fossil energy coal, carbon sequestration, and projects promoting industrial energy efficiency) that are unable to obtain conventional private financing due to high technology risks. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 amended the Loan Guarantee Programs by adding Section 1705 to EPAct. That program—which ended Sept. 30, 2011—authorized loan guarantees for renewable energy and transmission projects. (A third program, Section 136 of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, established the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, which consists of direct loans to support the development of advanced technology vehicles and associated technologies.)

Here’s a look at how these loan guarantee programs have been rainmakers for nuclear and solar generation in particular. (Data source: DOE Loan Programs Office.)

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.