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Launching the Next Wave of Clean Fossil Energy Innovation

December 12, 2013 - 1:15pm

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The National Energy Technology Laboratory's <a href="http://energy.gov/articles/potential-path-emissions-free-fossil-energy">chemical looping reactor</a>. This promising approach to capturing carbon dioxide will be among the technologies explored as part of the the Loan Program Office's advanced fossil energy solicitation. | Photo courtesy of the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory's chemical looping reactor. This promising approach to capturing carbon dioxide will be among the technologies explored as part of the the Loan Program Office's advanced fossil energy solicitation. | Photo courtesy of the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

From the pioneering work of Thomas Edison more than a century ago to today’s clean energy revolution, American innovation has always played an important role in making energy production smarter and more efficient.   

That’s why, as part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) announced today that it is providing up to $8 billion in loan guarantees to build advanced fossil energy projects here in the U.S. These loan guarantees will support a new wave of innovative projects ready for commercial-scale deployment that demonstrate how fossil energy -- which currently accounts for 80 percent of U.S. energy use -- will continue to play an important role in our low-carbon, clean energy future. Whether projects are developing fossil fuels more cleanly, constructing an advanced power plant that cuts carbon pollution, or building an efficient microgrid network that better utilizes fossil fuels, loan guarantees under this solicitation will support innovative fossil energy projects across the spectrum that reduce, avoid or sequester greenhouse gases. 

Today’s announcement is just the latest way we’re working to make cleaner forms of energy a commercial reality in the U.S. Since it was created by Congress in 2005, LPO has invested approximately $30 billion in a portfolio of more than 30 projects around the country. 

In just a few years, we’ve seen how LPO financing can transform energy markets and attract additional investment to cut pollution, diversify America’s energy supply and spur economic development. 

  • Going Big on Solar -- Five years ago, there was not a single solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in the U.S. producing power at utility scale. In 2011, LPO stepped in and financed the first five utility-scale solar facilities built in the U.S., meaning projects greater than 100 MW. Since LPO established this market, 10 additional projects have been built in the U.S., financed exclusively by private lenders.     
  • Launching "Nighttime Solar" Technology -- LPO successfully financed the world’s largest operating "nighttime" solar facility that can continue producing solar energy for another six hours after the sun has set. It is one of three concentrating solar power (CSP) projects that LPO has financed, which operate much like a conventional power plant, except that they use the sun’s renewable energy for power.  
  • Restarting America’s Nuclear Industry -- Two of the first new nuclear reactors being built in the U.S. in over three decades are currently under construction in Waynesboro, Georgia, with support from LPO. This project is using the nation’s next generation of advanced nuclear reactors to enhance safety and produce carbon-free electricity. 
  • Competing in a Global Market for Advanced Vehicles -- LPO has helped upgrade advanced vehicle manufacturing facilities across the U.S. to produce advanced, fuel-efficient vehicles. This includes more fuel-efficient engines in conventional vehicles as well as some of the first electric vehicles being produced in the U.S. Together, these projects are helping cut America’s oil dependence while also making the U.S. auto industry more competitive in the global marketplace. 

Visit the Loan Programs Office website to learn more about the Advanced Fossil Energy Projects. 

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