Open For Business: LPO Issues New Conditional Commitment for Loan Guarantee

By Jigar Shaw, Director of DOE’s Loan Programs Office

The improved U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO) is open for business and ready to build on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s support for the deployment of clean energy.  

LPO has made substantial changes to improve the program that has now attracted more than 66 loan and loan guarantee applications, valued at more than $53 billion in clean energy and advanced vehicle technology projects. The recently-enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expanded LPO’s loan authority and broadened the pool of eligible borrowers for the program.  Continue reading here.

Image: A depiction of Monolith Nebraska LLC’s hydrogen facility in Hallam, Nebraska
Credit: Monolith

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“As the leader in wind and solar energy, and as an investor in Monolith, NextEra Energy Resources is encouraged by the U.S. Department of Energy’s conditional approval of Monolith’s loan application,” said John Ketchum, president and chief executive officer, NextEra Energy Resources. “Monolith’s clean hydrogen production process is powered by locally-produced renewable electricity and represents a significant advancement to support cost-effective decarbonization of multiple sectors of the U.S. economy.”

Spokespeople from Monolith told E&E News that its pyrolysis process could reduce carbon emissions to about 0.45 kilogram, for every 1 kilogram of hydrogen — assuming it was all powered by 100 percent renewable electricity. That’s within the definition for “clean” hydrogen established by the bipartisan infrastructure law, which sets a 2-kilogram CO2 limit. Monolith did not provide an estimate, however, of how much nitrogen oxides and other local pollutants would be emitted through its hydrogen and carbon black production. Carbon black companies have long been major emitters of NOx, sulfur oxides and particulate matter. DOE told E&E News that NOx and other emissions from Monolith’s existing facility in Nebraska would be regulated by the state and county, as the plant was not considered a major source of hazardous emissions under the Clean Air Act.

A total of 28 different companies provided responses for a mix of wind, solar, storage and clean energy products. This included 21 wind projects totaling nearly 4,000 megawatts, 33 projects for solar amounting to approximately 5,800 megawatts, and electric storage projects amounting to 2,200 megawatts.The majority of proposals provided locations within Nebraska.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY’S HYDROGEN SHOT

The first Energy Earthshot, launched June 7, 2021—Hydrogen Shot—seeks to reduce the
cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade (“1 1 1”).

The Hydrogen Shot establishes a framework and foundation for clean hydrogen deployment in the American Jobs Plan, which includes support for demonstration projects. Industries are beginning to implement clean hydrogen to reduce emissions, yet many hurdles remain to deploying it at scale.

Achieving the Hydrogen Shot’s 80% cost reduction goal can unlock new markets for hydrogen, including steel manufacturing, clean ammonia, energy storage, and heavy-duty trucks. This would create more clean energy jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and position America to compete in the clean energy market on a global scale. These efforts would ensure that environmental protection and benefits for local communities are a priority.