October 5, 2022

Expansion of Clean Energy Loans Is ‘Sleeping Giant’ of Climate Bill

“We have established that the private sector wants to use our resources again,” said Jigar Shah, the director of the Energy Department’s loan programs office and a former solar energy entrepreneur. “We still have to do a lot of work. We have to identify all the areas that qualify.”

One beneficiary of the new loan money could be the Palisades Power Plant, a nuclear facility on Lake Michigan near Kalamazoo, Mich., that closed in May. The plant had struggled to compete in the PJM energy market, which serves homes and businesses in 13 states, including Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and in Washington, D.C.

The Biden administration has made nuclear power a focal point of its efforts to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 2035. The administration has offered billions of dollars to help existing facilities like the Diablo Canyon Power Plant — a nuclear operation on California’s coast that is set to close by the end of 2025 — stay open longer. It is also backing new technologies like small modular reactors that the industry has long said would be cheaper, safer and easier to build than conventional large nuclear reactors.

The owner of the Palisades facility, Holtec International, said it was reviewing the loan program and other opportunities for its own small reactors as well as bringing the shuttered plant back online.

“There are a number of hurdles to restarting the facility that would need to be bridged,” the company said in a statement, “but we will work with the state, federal government and a yet to be identified third-party operator to see if this is a viable option.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/22/business/energy-environment/biden-climate-bill-energy-loans.html

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