The Loan Programs Office (LPO) has been tasked with developing the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program (TELGP) to increase the capacity of the commercial lending market for tribal energy development activities through the issuance of partial loan guarantees.
LPO has significant experience with the “Loan Guarantee Program” part of TELGP but is in the process of learning more about the “Tribal Energy” portion. We are consulting with our colleagues in the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and engaging in conversations with American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and corporations. As part of this effort, I led an introductory presentation about TELGP at the Reservation Economic Summit 2018 (RES 2018) in early March that included a very productive listening session.
Listening is the key word. The Department heard during the National Tribal Energy Summit 2017 and from the Indian Country Energy & Infrastructure Working Group about the importance of implementing TELGP, which was first authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Now we need further input from tribes to help LPO design a program that meets their needs.
The Department is authorized to guarantee up to $2 billion in loans to Indian tribes for energy development. The goal of TELGP is to provide economic opportunities to tribes through energy development projects and activities by increasing the availability of commercial debt financing rather than replace existing debt markets. In the longer term, we hope TELGP will catalyze sustained investment in tribal communities by the private sector.
To achieve these goals, LPO envisions modeling TELGP after the successful Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP). Tribes would work with an eligible lender, which in turn would apply to the Department for a partial loan guarantee. Notably, “energy development” is not restricted to a type of technology or project location, so TELGP has the potential to benefit a wide range of projects.
For more details about how LPO envisions designing TELGP, please read the introduction letter the Department sent to tribal leaders ahead of the RES 2018. You can also review the slide presentation I gave at RES 2018.
As I mentioned earlier, our primary goal at the moment is listening. LPO is seeking comments and input through June 15, 2018. The best way to submit comments or to ask questions is by emailing TELGP@hq.doe.gov.
(Edit: This post has been updated to reflect that the period in which LPO is seeking comments has been extended from April 30, 2018, to June 15, 2018.)