Feds to provide $4B in green energy support

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The Energy Department is opening up $4 billion in federal loan guarantees to projects that reduce or capture greenhouse gas emissions.

The department issued its draft request for applications of renewable energy and energy efficient projects on Wednesday. The agency is looking for projects that will help advance electric grid integration with renewable sources, create more compatible biofuels and turn waste into energy.

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Projects that help enhance and extend the life of existing energy efficient facilities or that focus on improving the efficiency of technologies that reduce pollution will also be considered.

The move is part of a larger trend within the department's Loan Program Office, and in line with President Obama's climate agenda.

Last year the department released its first new solicitation, or request for applications, for up to $8 billion in loan guarantees for advanced fossil-fuel projects.

The last renewable energy loans were offered in 2011. Tuesday's announcement opens up the 30-day public comment period and a series of public meetings at the Energy Department. The process is slated for finalization by summer of this year, an Energy Department official said.

“Through our existing renewable energy loan guarantees, the Department’s Loan Programs Office helped launch the U.S. utility-scale solar industry and other clean energy technologies that are now contributing to our clean energy portfolio,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said at a policy forum hosted by Georgia Institute of Technology Wednesday.

“We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today.”