US Department of Energy to Offer More Funding to Renewables and Energy Efficiency Development

The Department of Energy is offering an additional US$4 billion in loan guarantees for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Published: Mon 21 Jul 2014

The US Department of Energy plans to offer additional funding to technologies that have failed to receive full commercial financing, but which are “catalytic, replicable, and market ready.” The technologies must prove to avoid or reduce greenhouse gases.

Anyone can apply

While any project, that meets the eligibility requirements, is eligible to apply, the Department has outlined five key areas of interest:

  • Advanced grid integration and storage

  • Drop-in biofuels

  • Waste-to-energy

  • Enhancement of existing facilities

  • Efficiency improvements

The advanced grid integration and storage technology area focuses on renewable systems that mitigate issues related to variability, dispatchability, congestion, and control, by incorporating technologies such as demand response or local storage. Those designs are expected to demonstrate greater grid compatibility of generation from renewable resources and “open up an even larger role for renewable power generation,” according to the Department. Projects can include distributed generation, storage, and smart grid systems that incorporate demand response, energy efficiency, or sensing.

The “waste-to-energy” technology area focuses on projects that incorporate renewable generation technologies into existing renewables or efficient energy facilities to significantly improve performance or extend the lifetime of the generating asset. These could include non-powered dams, retrofitting of existing wind turbines, or including variable speed pump-turbines into existing hydropower projects.

Application process

Applications will undergo a two-part review:

Part I will determine the initial eligibility of a project and whether it is ready to proceed.

Part 2 for applications that pass Part I, includes the full application process.

The deadline for Part I for the first round is 1 October and the Part I deadline for the fifth round will be on 2 Dec 2015. The first round Part 2 deadline is 14 January 2015, with the round five Part 2 deadline being set for 2 March, 2016.

Once this has been completed, the Department will grant a conditional commitment to selected applicants, who will then undergo the complete underwriting process and negotiation of terms for the loan guarantee. The Department will also consider projects that require a 100% loan.

To date, the agency has disbursed US$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.

At least US$40 billion remains to be disbursed.

According to the Department, most of the federally financed “first-of-a-kind” projects have been a success. Only 2% of the total amount disbursed proved to be outstanding losses.

Additional information on the solicitation and application process is available on the DOE website.