WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Energy today took a long-awaited step in the implementation of its clean energy loan guarantee program, soliciting applications for loan guarantees from new nuclear power projects and uranium enrichment plants. Following is a statement from Richard Myers, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) vice president of policy development.
“As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the Department of Energy has taken a major step on the road to greater energy security and a low-carbon future with this solicitation to companies to apply for loan guarantees that will support financing of clean energy technologies, including new nuclear power plants, uranium enrichment facilities and renewable energy projects. This program will act as a catalyst, accelerating the rate at which companies will build energy technologies that avoid, reduce or sequester greenhouse gases. It will do so at no cost to the taxpayer, since the private sector will pay the cost to the federal government of providing the guarantees, as well as the administrative costs of the program.
“In the case of nuclear energy, loan guarantees will provide a substantial consumer benefit. By allowing companies access to lower cost capital, nuclear power plants supported by loan guarantees will deliver lower-cost electricity than would otherwise be the case. This program is good public policy at a time when American consumers are reeling under higher energy costs.
“This program builds on decades of experience within the federal government with loan guarantee programs. The federal government manages a loan guarantee portfolio in excess of $1 trillion, providing financing support for critical infrastructure in a number of areas, including transportation, shipbuilding, affordable housing, and export of U.S. goods and services. As in other federal loan guarantee programs, the DOE clean energy loan guarantee program will follow established procedures and practices to ensure that projects are subject to rigorous review and due diligence before any loan guarantees are issued.
“The Department of Energy deserves great credit for the progress since the Loan Guarantee Program Office was formally established last year. In that period of time, the Office has published the final rules governing the loan guarantee program, developed (and provided to Congress) an implementation plan for this second round of solicitations, and made significant progress in developing the tools and administrative procedures necessary for effective implementation of the program. NEI also appreciates the continuing support for the program from the Congressional authorizing and appropriations committees that have encouraged DOE to establish a robust loan guarantee program.”