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Q&A with Jigar Shah and the US Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office, Part 2

Posted to Guidehouse in the Utility Management Group
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Brett Feldman's picture
Research Director Guidehouse
  • Member since 2001
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  • Oct 7, 2021 5:00 am GMT
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Guidehouse recently conducted Q&A with US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Program Office (LPO) staff, led by Jigar Shah. Part 1 of the Q&A was published earlier. This is Part 2 of the Q&A session. 
 

  • How will you account for climate/carbon emissions impacts from applicants?
    • We think LPO can play a significant role in helping the Biden Administration advance its goals of a net zero carbon economy by 2050.
    • Under the Title 17 program, we perform an independent greenhouse gas life cycle analysis to determine whether or not the project is an improvement over a “business-as-usual” case.
    • For the ATVM program, vehicles manufactured must either have a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy from Model Year 2005 models or be ultra-efficient, which is a 75 mile per gallon equivalent. Component manufacturing projects must manufacture components that can contribute to those fuel economy improvements.

 

  • How can you help the transition from coal to a clean energy economy?
    • LPO’s role is to help accelerate the commercial deployment of clean energy and demonstrate the bankability of those technologies to the private sector so that they can come in with the significant capital needed to truly move us forward.
    • More specifically for coal communities, LPO can help bridge that transition and help those communities utilize their existing coal assets, such as access to transmission. Projects that retrofit coal assets or integrate renewable energy could potentially be eligible for Title 17 if they meet all the necessary criteria.

 

  • How do you see the role of utilities vs private sector?
    • We’re really in an all-hands-on-deck moment. We cannot achieve the Biden Administration’s decarbonization goals without contributions from the federal government, private sector, and utilities combined. The Administration’s proposed investments in clean energy have caught the attention of the private sector, which is beginning to step up its efforts and contribute, as evidenced by the commitment from Breakthrough Energy Ventures and other private investors.

 

  • Many consider hydrogen a critical fuel to help us achieve 100% clean energy goals, as well as infrastructure development (not just EV infrastructure, but transmission infrastructure). What might be specific areas of focus for the LPO?
    • Hydrogen projects could be eligible to receive LPO support for the deployment of utility-scale power generation, distributed energy resources, advanced technology transportation, technologies or processes for reducing GHG emissions from industrial applications, and other innovative technology areas.
    • Through the Title 17 Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program (Title 17), LPO can provide access to debt capital to support the domestic deployment of hydrogen projects from fossil fuel and/or renewable sources, so long as the projects meets all eligibility and programmatic requirements. Specifically, green hydrogen production and infrastructure project developers may be eligible to seek financing through the open Renewable Energy Projects and Efficient Energy Projects (REEE) solicitation. Further, distributed energy projects that include fuel distribution facilities, including associated hardware and software for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles may be eligible under either the REEE Project solicitation or the Advanced Fossil Energy Projects solicitation. Hydrogen produced from fossil fuels is also potentially eligible under the Advanced Fossil Energy Projects solicitation.
    • Moreover, hybrid technology solutions including the addition of hydrogen at existing fossil generation and nuclear power plants may be eligible for Title 17 support. For example, by applying available or excess power to produce hydrogen, the plants can sustainably and predictably operate at optimum efficiencies and the hydrogen can be stored long-term on-site for power generation and/or incorporation into transportation.
    • Additionally, through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM), LPO can potentially support the manufacture of hydrogen fuel-cell electric passenger vehicles and components, including manufacturing the associated hardware for hydrogen fuel-cell fueling stations through direct loans.
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