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Secretary joined Maryland Governor Ehrlich at ribbon-cutting for first State-owned E-85 fueling pump

BALTIMORE, MD - U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today unveiled DOE program guidelines for a total of $2 billion in loan guarantees to help spur investment in projects that employ new energy technologies.  Secretary Bodman made the announcement in Baltimore while joining Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich at a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening Maryland's first State-owned E-85 fueling facility.

"With these loan guarantees we hope to encourage creativity and ingenuity that will help us strengthen our nation's energy security," Secretary Bodman said.  "Projects eligible to receive loan guarantees are vast and varied.  We hope to spur investment in new renewable energy projects like solar and wind, as well as clean coal technologies and efforts that can convert cellulosic biomass into ethanol."

The solicitation, which will be issued soon, will govern the first round of loan guarantee applications, valued at a total of $2 billion.  In addition over the next several weeks, DOE will propose draft regulations for public comment that will govern future solicitations.  The Department views this first round solicitation as a learning opportunity that will assist in building expertise before permanent regulations are developed.

Loan guarantees will enable the Department to share some of the financial risks of projects that employ new or significantly improved energy technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants and greenhouse gases.  Projects supported by loan guarantees will help fulfill President Bush's goals to diversifying the United States' energy sources, while reducing the nation's reliance on foreign sources of energy and encourage energy efficiency.  The loan guarantee program was authorized in Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) that President Bush signed into law on August 8, 2005. 

"The Energy Policy Act has set the country on a path forward to increasing clean energy sources that will power our robust economy for generations to come," Secretary Bodman said.

Secretary Bodman is holding events around the country to highlight the first anniversary of the signing of EPAct.  Today's event in Baltimore highlighted Maryland's effort to use more home-grown fuel in their State automobile fleet.  Secretary Bodman and Governor Ehrlich cut the ribbon opening the first E-85 fueling station for State vehicles. 

"I applaud the work of Governor Ehrlich and his commitment to fuel more Maryland vehicles with home-grown E-85," Secretary Bodman said.  "By diversifying our energy mix, we strengthen our nation's energy security, reduce our reliance on foreign oil, and provide employment for America's farmers and biorefiners."

"As the State purchases new vehicles for its fleet, more and more of the cars, trucks and vans will run on alternative fuels," Governor Ehrlich said.  "With this new E-85 facility, and others planned for Annapolis and College Park, we are working to make our State fleet less dependant on fossil fuels.  Additionally, the use of E-85 will further economic development, increase the viability of our farms, and keep our air and water clean."

In addition to today's event in Baltimore, Secretary Bodman was joined at an event on Capitol Hill by Senator Pete Domenici and Congressman Joe Barton on July 26 to kick-off the first anniversary celebration of the Energy Policy Act.  On August 2, the Secretary visited Illinois to announce $250 million for two new bioenergy centers, which will accelerate basic research on the development of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels. Later that day he traveled Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to tour a wind turbine manufacturer and highlight the Administration's efforts to improve wind energy technology and reduce the cost of wind generated electricity.  This past Friday, Secretary Bodman visited Georgia Power in Atlanta, where he announced a total of $2 billion in risk insurance for the next six nuclear reactors that are built to protect against losses associated with bureaucratic and legal delays.  Tomorrow in Washington, DC, the Department will issue a study that will outline congestion points in the electricity transmission grid that will help guide further transmission line construction.

Media contact(s):

Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940