The first portfolio project I had the opportunity to see in person as Executive Director of the Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) was the construction of the new nuclear reactors at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia. To say I was impressed by the immensity and complexity of the construction site is an understatement. It is truly the kind of energy infrastructure project that will help ensure our country remains the technology and energy leader it is today.
Building projects that use innovative technologies at commercial scale for the first time is a difficult task. Fortunately, America does not shy away from tackling the challenges of innovation and LPO’s Title XVII loan guarantee program was created by Congress in 2005 specifically to finance these very kinds of projects. As Secretary Perry said, "Advanced nuclear energy projects like Vogtle are the kind of important energy infrastructure projects that support a reliable and resilient grid, promote economic growth, and strengthen our energy and national security."
For these new loan guarantee applications, LPO is performing the rigorous due diligence it has become known for in the industry. However, unlike typical applications, LPO was able to lean on its in-depth understanding of the project because of its involvement over the past seven years. The technical and portfolio management teams at LPO have been closely monitoring the Vogtle project and maintaining regular contact with its owners, as it does with all the portfolio projects. This knowledge gives LPO comfort in thoroughly understanding the project and its owners, all of which are well-established, sizable, and credit-worthy companies with investment grade credit ratings.
Advanced nuclear energy projects like Vogtle are the kind of important energy infrastructure projects that support a reliable and resilient grid, promote economic growth, and strengthen our energy and national security.
As with all projects that are offered a conditional commitment, LPO will complete its rigorous due diligence and underwriting process in conjunction with the applicants, with the goal being to close on loan guarantees that support the project and protect taxpayer interests.
With a projected ability to generate more than 17 million megawatt-hours annually, enough to power more than 1.6 million average American homes without emitting greenhouse gases, completing the Vogtle project can play an important role in supporting a reliable and resilient grid, promoting economic growth, and strengthening our energy and national security. And with exciting new technologies like small modular reactors that are in the licensing and regulatory process and being readied for commercial-scale deployment, finishing Vogtle would demonstrate America’s leadership and commitment to deploying advanced nuclear energy technologies.
» Read DOE's press release about the announcement.