The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is seeking feedback via a Request for Information (RFI) on the potential use of state funds to implement statewide climate initiatives and leverage additional funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO). First established in 2005, LPO finances large-scale clean energy infrastructure projects across the United States, providing developers of clean and renewable energy technologies with accelerated deployment and implementation opportunities. In particular, the Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program allows LPO to finance large-scale clean energy deployment and infrastructure reinvestment and provides additional funding options for projects involving innovative energy technologies, which typically include technologies that have not yet achieved scale or reached full commercialization.
However, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) now permits LPO to waive the “innovative technology” requirement. This frees up LPO funds for projects and infrastructure portfolios that are affiliated with a State Energy Financing Institution (SEFI), aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and ready to deploy at scale. LPO has already determined that EGLE qualifies as an eligible SEFI.
Coupled with Michigan’s recent enactment of a clean energy law package, including a new clean electricity by 2040 standard and a streamlined state-regulated renewable energy infrastructure siting process, LPO’s new authority to approve projects that do not qualify as innovative technologies prompted EGLE’s recent RFI. Specifically, EGLE seeks input on its SEFI funding program design to ensure that funds have the maximum impact on Michigan’s statewide clean energy goals. Technologies eligible for SEFI funding include renewable energy systems, carbon capture and sequestration technologies, and energy storage technologies, among others, each of which may help Michigan reach its aggressive clean electricity, energy storage, and electrification incentive initiatives in the coming years.
Stakeholders may submit comments to EGLE via the online RFI form or email until Jan. 31, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET.