It is the policy of the Congress to encourage and assist in the commercial development of practicable means to produce useful energy from geothermal resources with environmentally acceptable processes. Accordingly, it is the policy of the Congress to facilitate such commercial development by authorizing the Chairman of the Project to designate an appropriate Federal agency to guarantee loans for such purposes.
Any guaranty under this subchapter shall apply only to so much of the principal amount of any loan as does not exceed 75 percent of the aggregate cost of the project with respect to which the loan is made, except that any guarantee made for a loan to an electric, housing, or other cooperative, or to a municipality (as defined in section 796(7) of title 16), may apply to so much of the principal amount of the loan as does not exceed 90 percent of the aggregate cost of the project. In determining the aggregate cost of a project for purposes of the preceding sentence, there shall be excluded the cost of constructing electrical transmission lines to the extent that the cost of constructing such lines exceeds 25 percent of the aggregate cost of the project (as determined without regard to this sentence); except that the Secretary may waive or limit the application of this sentence with respect to any project located in the State of Hawaii upon a finding that such project is remote from the area of primary consumption, that a transmission line is required before the geothermal reservoir can be developed, and that the particular transmission line involved will be used for more than the plant which is the subject of the loan guarantee. In the case of a guaranty for the purposes specified in subsection (b)(5), the aggregate cost of the project shall be deemed to be that portion of the total cost of construction and operation which is directly related to the utilization of geothermal energy within the structure or facility in question, except that the aggregate cost of the project with respect to which the loan is made may be the total cost including construction and operation in cases where the facility or structure has been located near a geothermal energy resource predominantly for the purpose of utilizing geothermal energy, or as determined by the Secretary of Energy the economic viability of the project is substantially dependent upon the performance of the geothermal reservoir.
The amount of the guaranty for any loan for a project shall not exceed $100,000,000: Provided, That in the case of a guaranty under subsection (b)(5), the amount of the guaranty for any loan for a project shall not exceed $50,000,000 and the amount of the guaranty for any combination of loans for any single qualified borrower shall not exceed $200,000,000, unless the Secretary of Energy determines in writing that a guaranty in excess of these amounts is in the national interest. Any such determination shall be submitted to the Speaker of the House and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives, and to the President of the Senate and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate, accompanied by a full and complete report on the proposed project and guaranty. The proposed guaranty or commitment to guarantee shall not be finalized under authority granted by this chapter prior to the expiration of thirty calendar days (not including any date on which either House of Congress is not in session) from the date on which such report is received by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate.
As used in this subchapter, the term “qualified borrower” means any public or private agency, institution, association, partnership, corporation, political subdivision, or other legal entity which (as determined by the head of the designated agency) has presented satisfactory evidence of an interest in geothermal resources and is capable of performing research or completing the development and production of energy in an acceptable manner.
With respect to any guaranty which is issued after February 25, 1978, by, or in behalf of, any State, political subdivision, or Indian tribe and which is either guaranteed under, or supported by taxes levied by said issuer which are guaranteed under this subchapter and for which the interest paid on such obligation and received by the purchaser thereof is included in gross income for the purposes of chapter 1 of title 26, the Secretary of Energy shall pay to such issuer out of the fund established by this subchapter such portion of the interest on such obligations, as determined by the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to be appropriated after taking into account current market yields (1) on obligations of such issuer, if any, or (2) on other obligations with similar terms and conditions, the interest on which is not so included in gross income for purposes of chapter 1 of title 26, and in accordance with such terms and conditions as the Secretary of Energy shall require in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury.
The full faith and credit of the United States is pledged to the payment of all guaranties issued under this subchapter with respect to principal and interest.
The Secretary of Energy shall charge and collect fees for guaranties in amounts sufficient in his judgment to cover applicable administrative costs and probable losses on guaranteed obligations, but in any event not to exceed 1 per centum per annum of the outstanding indebtedness covered by each guaranty. Fees collected under this subsection shall be deposited in the fund established by this subchapter.
The Secretary of the Treasury shall insure to the maximum extent feasible that the timing, interest rate, and substantial terms and conditions of any guaranty exceeding $25,000,000 will have the minimum possible impact on the capital markets of the United States, taking into account other Federal direct and indirect commercial securities activities.