On May 6, 2022, the Department of Energy issued a notice of DOE’s intent to implement the Transmission Facilitation Program (TFP) and to request input regarding the solicitation and qualification process for TFP funding.
The TFP is “one of the first down payments on over $20 billion of investments” DOE has committed to make under its “Building a Better Grid Initiative” announced in January. According to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, “expanding and strengthening our power grid means we can get Americans power where and when they need it most, and in so doing, deploy the clean energy we need to reach our climate goals and ultimately bring down energy costs.”
Under the TFP, DOE will create a $2.5 billion revolving fund to provide financial support for eligible projects through capacity contracts, loans, and public-private partnerships. The first TFP solicitation will be limited to applicants seeking capacity contracts under which the DOE will purchase up to 50% of the planned capacity of an eligible project. DOE expects to issue another notice in early 2023 that will address the solicitation criteria for the loan and public-private partnership funding mechanisms of the TFP.
The implementation of the TFP has not been finalized while DOE awaits input from stakeholders regarding the application process, criteria for qualification, and selection of eligible projects to participate in the TFP. Interested parties can learn more about the TFP and how to provide input at a public webinar on May 26, 2022.
As it awaits input before launching the program, DOE hopes the TFP will be an innovative and effective tool for overcoming the funding challenges of large transmission projects. But project funding is not the only hurdle stalling transmission projects. Permitting has long been a major obstacle to constructing large scale transmission projects and finding solutions for the long delays associated with permitting these projects is a problem that past administrations have not been able to solve.