The Department of Energy (DOE) trimmed Luminant from its grant consideration list. Instead, Comanche Peak’s two proposed reactors, Unit 3 and 4, have been ranked as a “first alternate position.”
“We are very early in the application process and did not expect to be awarded a loan guarantee right now,” said Luminant spokesperson Ashley Montes. “We are encouraged that the program is moving forward and as the first alternate, we are optimistic that future developments will allow us to obtain loan guarantees as we continue the application process.”
Montes said Luminant will submit a second 90-day update in June to DOE as part of the loan application process.
The guarantees are key for energy companies trying to get new nuclear energy production facilities up and running. Under the program, the government assumes the company’s debt obligations if they default on their loans.
“An estimate of what it could possibly cost is $15 billion,” Montes said. “Once constructed, the marginal cost to generate nuclear power is a fraction of the cost of other means of generating electricity. Today, companies like Luminant bear the risks in today’s competitive Texas electric market. If we do not rigorously control construction costs, Luminant will lose money. In the competitive Texas electric market, the company has a significant financial incentive to keep future costs under tight control.”
The list leaves four proposed plants fighting it out for a piece of DOE’s $18.5 billion federal loan guarantee. Southern Co.’s Vogtle plant in Georgia, Scana Corp’s Summer plant in South Carolina, Constellation Energy Group’s Calvert Cliffs plant in Maryland and NRG Energy Inc.’s South Texas plant are the four projects left on the shortlist.