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DOE to issue up to $4B in loan guarantees for energy & efficiency projects tackling GHGs; drop-in biofuels a key area

5 July 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a loan guarantee solicitation (earlier post), making as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available for innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the US that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. With the new announcement, the Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) is now accepting applications in three areas, which also include the $8-billion Advanced Fossil Energy Projects solicitation that was released in December 2013 and the $16-billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.

The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy (REEE) Projects Loan Guarantee Solicitation is intended to support technologies that are catalytic, replicable, and market-ready.

Within the solicitation, the Department has included a sample list illustrative of potential technologies for consideration. While any project that meets the appropriate requirements is eligible to apply, the Department has identified five key technology areas of interest:

  • advanced grid integration and storage;
  • drop-in biofuels;
  • waste-to-energy;
  • enhancement of existing facilities including micro-hydro or hydro updates to existing non-powered dams; and
  • efficiency improvements.

Currently, the LPO supports a diverse portfolio of more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments, supporting more than 30 projects nationwide. The projects that LPO has supported include one of the world’s largest wind farms; several of the world’s largest solar generation and thermal energy storage systems; and more than a dozen new or retooled auto manufacturing plants across the country.

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Senator John McCain absolutely forbid the Department of Defense from using any money to develop drop in synthetic or bio fuels. The DOD is THE largest user of fossil fuels of any entity in the United States. So much for getting to the root of the problem.

This goes along with oil companies protecting profits. If one of the largest customers for refined fuels is the DOD, you would like people in Congress to make sure there are no alternatives.

Excellent initiative going in the right direction. Could 50% of the loan guarantee be converted into preferred and common shares?

Harvey,

The GOP does not want the Federal government to own ANY shares in ANY company. They keep harping about Solyndra, which was one loan guarantee out of hundreds.

According to conservatives, the "free market" investors will take care of everything, the government has NO business being involved in any loan guarantees.

SJC - That is correct. And that is why we have not had a new antibiotic developed for 30 years, and the treatment for Hepatitis A cost $80,000 per person. You know darned well that the Government paid for most of the basic research for medicine, but the citizens are not allowed to share in the profits. Talk about a welfare state.

It defines Corporate Welfare. The public sector does all the research and the private sector makes all the profits. The public sector builds the roads, bridges, sea ports and airports, but private sector corporations reap the benefits, then complain about government and taxes.

Although fairly worthless as a Senator, if John McCain understands anything it is the DoD’s propensity to throw VAST amounts of money at something with little or no beneficial results. The DoD has zero expertise in synthesizing fuels and would squander money on this venture faster than a drunken carrier crew on liberty in Amsterdam on payday. There are examples on examples of successful military procurements using commercially-available items, from hand-held GPS to Battle-Dress Uniform materials to red-dot tactical optics, in which parallel "R&D" was WOEFULLY executed by DoD “authorities”. (FWIW: the DoD's daily consumption of all liquid fuels globally is 12-13M gal/day, while the US overall uses around 600-700M gal/day. Thus a process showing only modest commercial success would easily support the DoD's needs, within deployed refueling reach. Conversely, a DoD-sized solution costing $B to execute would probably be like the magical shrinking BDUs from Aberdeen: a one-size-fits-none solution.)

For once JMcC was right about something.

But what really makes me wonder about all of the bio/synfuel concerns here is the rampant Amero-centrism. Clearly you are convinced that only the United States has the expertise to execute a successful program in these technologies. I mean, this MUST be what you are thinking since if we don’t have the US DoD to do it, and American oil companies pay off American investment banks (preposterous, but let’s pretend), then it can never happen. The extraordinary chemical refining expertise of Germany (where else would you have gotten a name like Fischer-Tropsch?) apparently cannot hope to solve the problem. The vast greening expertise of China? Powerless, I suppose. An island nation of great industrial capability and wealth who would dearly love to break the bonds of fossil fuel dependency (Japan)? I guess not. No, in a world where oil is king and some “hidden” breakthroughs could change it all, the political machine in America, run by oil companies --- despite their shamefully low actual monetary contributions --- is the ONLY reason the world is not awash in cheap, clean corn stalk/switchgrass/wood chip pump gas.

It has nothing to do with the extraordinarily inefficient process, high cost, environmental challenges, and the hurdles to scaling even extant processes, right?

"Clearly you are convinced that only the United States has the expertise to execute a successful program in these technologies"

Then you would be CLEARLY wrong. If you paid attention you would see that I have mentioned TOTAL, Haldor and other foreign companies that have pioneered GTL/BTL technology. Herman, quit trying to tick me off, EP tried that years ago now I just ignore him.

Well, ignore away... I do apologize for never having seen your references to these processes, but if TOTAL et al have these technologies ready now then why aren't they being used in Europe with
(1) far greater dependency on imports from unstable regions and/or tough suppliers (Russia),
(2) petrol and diesel twice as expensive as they are in the US,
(3) and societies far greener and more amenable to subsidy/taxation policies favorable to usage?

Is it because in fact GTL/BTL are far more expensive, unscalable, and noxious than all the Power Points say, or is it because the Kochs bought them secret Bier und Braunschweiger parties to dissuade them?

If you are Germany or France and could actually produce clean synfuels in an environmentally sound way at even twice the cost of current petroleum liquids, do so domestically, and give them tax relief as Norway does with EVs, why wouldn't you? I say it's because they CAN'T DO IT, and since there is some burden of proof for saying it CAN be done... well, where is it?

And I am NOT trying to tick you off. You are among the more sincere posters here, me being admittedly cynical. But when you say things like an entire industry exerts felonious influence on the nations bankers, you have thrown down a gauntlet that can't be ignored.

And, BTW, I agree that Corporate Welfare is indeed real and sickening. So there's something.

I say it's because they CAN'T DO IT, and since there is some burden of proof for saying it CAN be done... well, where is it?

I second the question.  Range Fuels, anyone?

Whoa, Herman.
My issue with corporate welfare says nothing about conspiracies or other countries. I just want to know why it is an invesment when it is corporate money and an expenditure when it is tax money. Can't we share the proceeds that eminate from investment.

Also, Government does not serve the same purpose as a corporation. But that does not mean the citizens who paid the taxes you complain about, should not recieve some benefits when there are fruits from the reasearch. And the fact that there are other countries has nothing to do with whether we are doing it right or not. You seem to be "commingling" the issues.

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