Federal Funding: DOE Guarantees for Concentrating Solar, Cellulosic Ethanol; USDA Funds Upgrades to Rural Grid

250MW Genesis Solar Project Advances

The US Department of Energy (DOE) finalized a partial guarantee for an $852 million loan to support the Genesis Solar Project. 

The project is a mammoth 250 megawatt (MW) parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) facility being developed by NextEra Energy on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Riverside County, California.

The project is expected to produce enough electricity to power over 48,000 homes and avoid over 320,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. Power from the project will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric. 

Cellulosic Ethanol from Kansas Corn Stover

DOE also announced a conditional commitment for a $133.9 million loan guarantee to Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas to support the development of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant.

Abengoa Bioenergy US Holding, its parent company and project sponsor, expects to convert about 300,000 tons of corn stover (stalks and leaves) into 23 million gallons of ethanol per year using an enzymatic hydrolysis process.

The facility will be self sufficient, using unconverted biomass to generate 20 MW of electricity to power the cellulosic ethanol plant.  The company has an agreement to sell all the ethanol produced and expects over 90% of the components to be made in the U.S.

The project will be located in Hugoton, Kansas, about 90 miles southwest of Dodge City, Kansas.

USDA Funds Upgrades to Rural Electric Grids

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $900 million in loans to rural electric cooperative utilities for smart grid technologies and improvements to generation and transmission facilities.

The projects are expected to benefit more than 19,000 rural consumers in 14 states.

Among the funding recipients are Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, which serves Indiana and parts of Illinois. A $462.5 million loan will help Hoosier improve reliability and comply with environmental requirements. The loan will also finance smart grid technologies and transmission line improvements.

Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative received a $23.5 million loan to build or improve nearly 250 miles of distribution lines and other system improvements. The loan includes $1.2 million for automated metering.

The loans are provided by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service to help electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America’s electric infrastructure.

The funding will help build nearly 1,500 miles of lines and improve more than 1,700 miles of existing lines in rural areas. More than $19 million will finance smart grid technologies.

USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.

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Comments on “Federal Funding: DOE Guarantees for Concentrating Solar, Cellulosic Ethanol; USDA Funds Upgrades to Rural Grid”

  1. LJ

    @ over $43,000 per customer it would be cheaper to install off grid solar for each of those rural customers. Of course the monopoly would be watered down but hey, it’s the way people think these days. Rediculous.

  2. Doc Freeman

    That comes to $17,750.oo per house. I do not know about the rest of the country, but I this is to rich for the country who has over $14.5 TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT. THIS IS A WASTE OF TAX PAYERS’ MONEY.

  3. Rona Fried

    Without government support we wouldn’t have new industries. We are thinking too short term these days, unlike our new competitors like China, which is investing heavily in clean energy sources. What’s really a waste is subsidizing fossil fuels, nuclear, and big agriculture – not renewable energy, the source for economic growth going forward. I agree with LJ however, in that we’d be better off subsidizing small, distributed solar and wind, rather than mammoth projects. That would make every American energy-independent and vastly bring down energy costs for everyone. The US is too accustomed to centralized power and that’s how utilities are used to making their money.


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