WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Energy today released its regulations implementing the clean-energy loan guarantee program authorized by Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The legislation empowers the Secretary of Energy to provide loan guarantees for up to 80 percent of the cost of “innovative technologies” that “avoid, reduce or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.” Following is a statement from Frank L. (Skip) Bowman, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer.
“We are pleased that the Department of Energy has taken this important step to implement the loan guarantee provisions of the Energy Policy Act. Electric generating companies have begun to file license applications for new nuclear plants with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and it is imperative that the Energy Department have in place a loan guarantee program that will support the financing for these large, capital-intensive power plant projects.
“Advanced-design nuclear power plants available today hold tremendous promise to strengthen U.S. energy security and ensure fuel diversity. Nuclear energy also is essential to any credible program to prevent or avoid greenhouse gases, and it provides forward price stability in a volatile energy marketplace. These benefits accrue broadly to consumers and the U.S. economy, but electric companies carry a disproportionate share of the business risk in new reactor projects. The federal government’s loan guarantees appropriately would mitigate some of the business risk involved in building new nuclear plants.
“Today’s regulations are a substantial improvement on the proposed regulations unveiled earlier this year. We are pleased that the final regulations provide for 100 percent guarantee of project debt, up to 80 percent of total project cost, as the Energy Policy Act intended. Consumers will be protected because industry will bear the cost to the government of providing the guarantee, in addition to making substantial equity investments. The nuclear industry looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration to ensure an aggregate loan volume for the program that reflects the size of these high-cost capital projects.
“Further analysis of the new regulation is ongoing. We salute the leadership of Secretary Bodman and others in delivering this important ruling.”