U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) announced new legislation on November 19 to revamp the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program and incentivize energy producers to construct new, cleaner, and more efficient coal-fired units. SB 3653, the Reinvigorating American Energy Infrastructure Act, would expand eligibility for DOE’s existing loan guarantee program to high-efficiency, low-emission (HELE) generating coal plants. This would broaden the eligibility for DOE’s loan program, which would encourage reinvestment in coal technology, the senator’s office said in a statement.

“Indiana’s coal producers provide affordable, reliable energy to homes and businesses throughout the Midwest,” said Sen. Young. “My bill will help ensure that this vital energy source is competing on a level playing field while also keeping up with advances in technology that can lead to cleaner and more efficient coal-fired power plants.”

This would amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which established a loan guarantee program known as Section 1703 that was focused on supporting clean innovative technologies. This bill would make federal loan guarantees available for new high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) coal power plants in the U.S. for units that are larger than 350 megawatts (MW) and modular units smaller than 350 MW.

Eligible large-scale HELE units would need to use 65% of their net energy output to generate electricity and derive at least 65% of their annual heat input from coal or one or more coal derived fuels. They must also be designed so that they achieve an overall generation efficiency of at least 40%; have the capability of accommodating the equipment to capture carbon dioxide emissions from the unit; and minimize water consumption.

Small-scale, HELE units would be required to meet those specifications as well as have a load following capability down to 25% of maximum continuous rating for the unit and the capability to achieve high ramp rates of not less than 4% of the maximum continuous rating per minute of the unit.