June 30 -- Comment period extended to August 1, 2022. https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-13946
June 1 -- The Loan Programs Office (“LPO”) of the Department of Energy (“DOE”) is seeking information to understand how it could improve its Title XVII Innovative Technologies Loan Guarantee Program (the “Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program”) and implement provisions of the Energy Act of 2020 and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the “IIJA”) that expand or modify the authorities applicable to the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program. Comments must be received on or before July 1, 2022.
LPO administers certain DOE lending programs, including under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as amended (“Title XVII”). Title XVII authorizes the Secretary of Energy (the “Secretary”) to make loan guarantees for projects that “avoid, reduce, utilize, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases” and “employ new or significantly improved technologies as compared to commercial technologies in service in the United States.”
LPO has administered the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program pursuant to its regulations set forth at 10 CFR part 609 (the “Title XVII Rule”), as required by the authorizing statute. LPO provides additional guidance to applicants and establishes requirements in the solicitations for loan guarantee applications, which are issued and updated from time to time.
The Title XVII Rule sets forth the policies and procedures that DOE uses for the application process, which includes receiving, evaluating, and approving applications for loan guarantees to support eligible projects under Title XVII. The rule establishes the process by which DOE issues solicitations for applications for loan guarantees for eligible projects. The rule applies to all applications, conditional commitments, and loan guarantee agreements under the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program and provides specific guidance to program applicants regarding eligibility for the program, the loan guarantee application process and requirements, criteria for DOE's evaluation of applications, and the process for negotiation and execution of a loan guarantee agreement term sheet, conditional commitment, and loan guarantee agreement. The Title XVII Rule also describes the terms applicable to the loan guarantee. DOE is in the process of evaluating how it can improve the Title XVII Rule, in line with its statutory authority, including recent amendments.
The Energy Act of 2020 was enacted in December 2020, as Division Z of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Section 9010 of the Energy Act of 2020 is entitled “Loan Program Office Title XVII Reform” and sets forth several modifications to the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program through amendments to Sections 1702, 1703, and 1704 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The modifications include, but are not limited to, clarifying that the Secretary shall pay the cost of a guarantee, subject to availability of appropriations; specifying the time period for collection of fees for projects that reach financial closing; providing the Secretary the authority to reduce the fee for a guarantee; providing for certain interagency consultation requirements in connection with loan guarantees; requiring that the Secretary respond to certain applicant requests regarding the status of its applications under the program; and expanding and clarifying project eligibility under the program.
The IIJA was enacted in November 2021, as a historic investment in the Nation's infrastructure. The IIJA gives DOE express authority to support projects that increase the domestically produced supply of critical minerals and to provide loan guarantees to projects receiving financial support or credit enhancements from a State energy financing institution.
Request for Information: The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback from project developers and sponsors, industry members, investors, developers, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, potentially impacted communities and other stakeholders on potential changes to DOE's Title XVII Rule. Specifically, DOE is seeking input on how it could revise the Title XVII Rule to (i) improve its Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program and (ii) implement certain provisions of the Energy Act of 2020 and the IIJA that expand or modify the authorities applicable to the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program.
DOE seeks public input on the following questions regarding LPO's administration of the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program:
A. Energy Act of 2020 -- questions A1-A3
B. IIJA -- questions B1-B3
C. Title XVII Financing Structures -- questions C1-C4
D. Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program Improvements -- questions D1-D4