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DOE offers $8.25 billion in loans for transmission grid upgrades

DW Keefer's picture
Journalist Independent Journalist and Analyst

DW Keefer is a Denver-based energy journalist who writes extensively for national and international publications on all forms of electric power generation, utility regulation, business models...

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $8.25 billion in loan availability from its Loan Programs Office (LPO) and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) for efforts to expand and improve the transmission grid.

The department said that without added transmission, the grid “cannot reliably and consistently deliver renewably sourced power” from often-remote points of generation to high demand areas.

DOE said it has two separate financing streams available to help with transmission projects:

  • Up to $5 billion in loan guarantees from LPO’s Title 17 Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program and Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program. The programs allow DOE to support transmission projects along with transmission projects owned by federally recognized tribal nations or Alaska Native Corporations. This includes high-voltage direct current systems, transmission to connect offshore wind, and facilities sited along rail and highway routes.
  • Up to $3.25 billion from WAPA’s Transmission Infrastructure Program (TIP) revolving loan program. TIP is a federal debt financing program, congressionally mandated to support transmission and related infrastructure projects that facilitate the delivery of power in the Western United States. Applicants can leverage WAPA’s technical transmission expertise for project development support and access low-cost capital.

In addition, the Department of Transportation said it will work to make use of public highways and other transportation rights-of-way to speed transmission line siting and permitting. To do so, DOT issued guidance to help state transportation departments host transmission lines, build renewable energy projects, deploy broadband, and support electric vehicle charging along highway rights-of-way.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 28, 2021

The appointment of Jigar Shah to be Director of the LPO was one of the more exciting moves of this administration when it comes to energy, despite not being widely recognized outside of energy wonk circles, but clearly a move that's paying dividends!

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