The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO) has released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking information about how to update and improve its rule governing the Title 17 Innovative Technologies Loan Guarantee Program. LPO is seeking feedback from project developers and sponsors, industry members, investors, developers, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, potentially impacted communities, and other stakeholders on potential changes to DOE’s Title 17 Rule. Responses to the RFI will assist LPO in evaluating how it can improve the Title 17 Program and implement amendments to the statutory authority governing the program, including amendments under the Energy Act of 2020 and the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

LPO administers the Title 17 Program pursuant to Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as amended, and its regulations set forth at 10 CFR part 609, also referred to as the “Title 17 Rule,” as required by the authorizing statute. LPO provides additional guidance to applicants and establishes requirements in the solicitations for loan guarantee applications, which are issued and updated from time to time. This RFI will help inform LPO as it considers revisions to the Title 17 Rule.

For example, today’s RFI seeks input on whether DOE should consider other applicant fee structures or arrangements with respect to third-party costs in response to Energy Act of 2020 amendments, which prompted DOE to eliminate Title 17 application fees and defer collection of the costs of DOE’s third-party advisors until financial closing of a loan guarantee. The RFI also seeks comment on implementing Energy Act of 2020 amendments related to the Secretary’s consideration of regional variation when deploying technologies.

The RFI also seeks input on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act amendments allowing the Secretary to issue loan guarantees to projects receiving financial support or credit enhancements from a state energy financing institution. This new authority specifies that projects receiving such financial support would not be required to meet Title 17’s requirement to employ new or significantly improved technologies to be eligible. (Additional Congressional appropriation is required before DOE may provide loan guarantees for such projects.) The RFI asks for input on types of entities and projects that could be eligible under this authority, how DOE should treat a loan or loan guarantee in conjunction with financial support or credit enhancements from such entities, and how DOE should implement a nationwide program to partner with state energy financing institutions.

The RFI considers whether LPO’s Title 17 Rule should be revised to accommodate a wider variety of eligible financing structures, like co-lending, funding a warehouse financing vehicle, or guaranteeing capital market instruments.

Finally, the RFI seeks input on whether there are ways to improve program requirements and procedures under the Title 17 Rule as LPO reviews and processes a significantly higher volume of applications to Title 17 than in recent years.

To review the RFI, please click here.  Comments must be received on or before July 1, 2022. Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments, identified by “Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program RFI,” by emailing LPO.ProposedRuleComments@hq.doe.gov and including ‘‘Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program RFI’’ in the subject line.