The Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program (TELGP) was created to provide access to debt capital to support economic opportunities to tribes through energy development projects and activities. At the Reservation Economic Summit, the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) today announced an important update to the TELGP solicitation that implements several program changes to improve access to the program for tribes and qualifying tribal energy development organizations.
The revised solicitation eliminates application, facility, and maintenance fees payable to DOE to address concerns cited by tribes and stakeholders about these fees being a significant impediment to using TELGP.
We appreciate the Loan Programs Office for listening to Indian Country and incorporating many of our suggestions into the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program, announced at the 2022 Reservation Economic Summit. These changes eliminate costly upfront fees that have proved to be a barrier to entry for many tribes and Native entities, and open eligibility to a broad range of project types. The updates also take important steps for direct lending to tribes and Native entities. We look forward to continuing to work with the Loan Programs Office to ensure that its programs work for the communities we serve.
The revised TELGP solicitation also clarifies borrower and project eligibility requirements address a broad range of project types and structures, including those utilizing tax equity. Both federally recognized tribes (including Alaska Native Corporations) and qualified tribal energy development organizations can be borrowers under TELGP. Projects under TELGP may include tribal land-located projects or qualified off-reservation projects. A summary table showing different ownership eligibility cases is included as an attachment to the updated solicitation to aid tribes, developers, and banks in understanding TELGP program eligibility.
As a key part of DOE’s support of the Justice40 Initiative, the revised TELGP solicitation incorporates changes to the TELGP application process consistent with the recent revisions to the Innovative Clean Energy loan program and includes consideration of policy factors related to job quality, responsible contractor standards, workforce diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility goals. It also incorporates hiring goals for underserved or overburdened communities and energy communities in light of recent Executive Orders and that are key to place-based and Justice40 investments.
These updates to the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program are a significant step forward in addressing the feedback that NAFOA and tribes have offered and will help remove key barriers that tribes have encountered in accessing the program. These changes will hopefully unlock this program which holds real potential to improve access to capital for tribes to engage in economic development opportunities through energy projects. We encourage tribes to take advantage of the TELGP and continue to provide feedback on further needs.
Following online publication of the revised solicitation, LPO plans to issue an additional supplement to the TELGP solicitation in the near future that will more fully describe implementation of the direct loan authority provided under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022. This authority has been authorized through the end of fiscal year FY22 and can be an important additional resource for tribes seeking capital for qualified energy projects. In the interim, LPO welcomes potential applicants to contact LPO directly to begin discussing the direct loan program.
LPO has engaged in significant outreach since TELGP was launched in 2018, including soliciting feedback both in person and online with tribal representatives, project developers, and finance organizations. In May 2021, the Office of Indian Energy (IE), together with LPO, conducted a roundtable where Directors Wahleah Johns and Jigar Shah engaged tribal leaders and stakeholders in a discussion of challenges facing tribal energy projects and how the funding and financing programs DOE offers can be structured to address them.
Tribal leaders offered input on the TELGP program including the identification of three program characteristics that they had found to be barriers to access: program costs and fees, the lack of clarity on some eligibility questions, and the inability to offer direct lending. This input can be found in a summary of the roundtable and a complete list of questions and DOE’s responses published by IE. LPO has used this feedback to develop enhancements to the TELGP program that will reduce the barriers identified.
Prospective applicants and other interested parties are encouraged to read the amended and restated solicitation. Requests for a preapplication consultation meeting with LPO should be sent to TELGP@hq.doe.gov with the subject line containing the prospective applicant's name and ‘Request for Pre-application Consultation.’