WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today announced that an agreement has been reached with the House of Representatives to allow the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program to continue. The agreement is contained as part of the FY2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill to fund the federal government.
The FY2008 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, contained within the Omnibus, contains a two year approval of the loan guarantee program. Domenici played a central role in negotiating the bill as ranking member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
The bill contains language directing the Secretary of Energy to provide $38.5 billion in loan guarantees, with a specific requirement that $20.5 billion be provided for nuclear energy, ($18.5 billion for nuclear reactors, $2 billion for uranium enrichment), $10 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency, $8 billion for clean coal technology.
“I’m pleased that the Energy and Water Appropriations bill will allow the DOE loan guarantee program to proceed for at least the next two years. This action sends a clear message to the Administration, utilities, and investors that Congress is serious about bringing more clean energy technology online. DOE will have to work hard to prepare, evaluate, and award loan guarantees over the next few years,” Domenici said.
Domenici noted that the DOE loan guarantee program includes a ‘risk premium,’ which must be paid by utilities and companies seeking a loan guarantee. As fees are collected, the loan guarantee program will become self financing.
“Loan guarantees are an excellent way for the federal government to support development of clean energy technology at little cost to taxpayers. Attracting investors for clean energy projects is challenging, so we should do what we can to help get their projects off the ground, just as we have done many times throughout history with new technology,” Domenici said.
Congress is set to approve the FY2008 Omnibus Appropriations Bill this week, starting in the House of Representatives as soon as today.