Over the past week, the Department of Energy (DOE) made available $4 billion in additional loan guarantees for U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency projects as it slashed application fees by more than a third for its $8 billion Advanced Fossil Energy Projects Loan Guarantee Solicitation.
The agency on July 3 issued a loan solicitation to support “technologies that are catalytic, replicable, and market-ready,” but which must “avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases.”
The solicitation identifies five key areas of interest: advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; enhancement of existing facilities including micro-hydro or hydro updates to existing non-powered dams; and efficiency improvements.
The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy solicitation is authorized by Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 through Section 1703 of the Loan Guarantee Program, the DOE said.
The application process involves a two-part review: Part I, to determine initial eligibility, and Part II (if Part I is cleared), which includes the full application process. Complete Part I submissions are due on Dec. 2, 2015, while complete Part II submissions are due on March 2, 2016.
On July 9, meanwhile, the DOE’s Loan Program Office (LPO) reduced Part I application fees to $50,000, down from $75,000. Fees for Part II applicants requesting more than $150 million in loan guarantees have also been slashed to $350,000 from $925,000, and for applicants requesting guarantees of $150 million or less, Part II applications have been reduced to $100,000.
The fees reflect those outlined in the July 3 Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy solicitation.
The LPO also announced that a credit-based interest rate spread would be added to certain loans that are issued by the Federal Financing Bank and backed by a 100% DOE-issued loan guarantee.
The DOE says investment in U.S. clean energy technologies is declining, though the LPO has about $41.8 billion in remaining loan authority. To date, the agency has disbursed $32.4 billion to 30 projects under Sections 1703 (all to nuclear projects, including Southern Co.’s Vogtle reactors, and AREVA’s Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility), 1705 (which expired in September 2011 and furnished mostly renewables, transmission, or biofuels projects with loan guarantees), and advanced technology vehicles manufacturing.
—Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)