Internal Revenue Bulletin:  2007-26 

June 25, 2007 

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the Department of Energy (“DOE”) seek to certify applications that demonstrate a high likelihood of being successfully implemented by the applicants. To qualify, projects must be economically feasible and use the appropriate gasification technology.
This request for submission of supplemental application information:
  1. Describes the information to be provided by the applicant seeking a certification of feasibility, and
  2. Lists the evaluation criteria and Program Policy Factors to be used by DOE in the evaluation of applications.
In conducting this evaluation, the DOE may utilize assistance and advice from qualified personnel from other Federal agencies and/or non-conflicted contractors. DOE will obtain assurances in advance from all evaluators that application information shall be kept confidential and used only for evaluation purposes. DOE reserves the right to request clarifications and/or supplemental information from some or all applicants through written submissions and/or oral presentations.
Notice is given that DOE may determine whether or not to provide a certification to the IRS at any time after the application has been received, without further exchanges or discussions. Therefore, all applicants are advised to submit their most complete and responsive application.
Applications will not be returned.
A. General
This request, together with the information in sections 5.02, 6.01, and 6.02 of Notice 2007-53 includes all the information needed to complete an application for DOE certification. All applications shall be prepared in accordance with this request in order to provide a standard basis for evaluation and to ensure that each application will be uniform as to format and sequence.
Each application should clearly demonstrate the applicant’s capability, knowledge, and experience in regard to the requirements described herein.
Applicants should fully address the requirements of Notice 2007-53 and this request and not rely on the presumed background knowledge of reviewers. DOE may reject an application that does not follow the instructions regarding the organization and content of the application when the nature of the deviation and/or omission precludes meaningful review of the application.
B. Unnecessarily Elaborate Applications
Unnecessarily elaborate brochures or other presentations beyond those sufficient to present a complete and effective application are not desired. Elaborate art work, graphics and pictures are neither required nor encouraged.
C. Application Submission for DOE Certification
The application submission to DOE must include the information and documentation required by sections 5.02, 6.01, and 6.02 of Notice 2007-53.
An application will not be considered in the allocation round conducted in 2007-08 unless it is postmarked by October 31, 2007, and will not be considered in the allocation round conducted in 2008-09 unless it is postmarked by October 31, 2008. Two paper copies and one electronic version on a floppy disc or a CD of the Application must be submitted to:
Melissa Robe National Energy Technology Laboratory 3610 Collins Ferry Road Morgantown, WV 26507
Note that under section 5.03(1) of Notice 2007-53, one paper copy and one electronic version must be sent to the IRS as part of the application for IRS certification. The application for IRS certification will not be considered in the allocation round conducted in 2007-08 unless it is submitted to the IRS by March 3, 2008, and will not be considered in the allocation round conducted in 2008-09 unless it is submitted to the IRS by March 2, 2009.
To aid in evaluation, applications shall be clearly and concisely written and logically assembled. All pages of each part shall be appropriately numbered and identified with the name of the applicant and the date.
The application, including the Project Information Memorandum, MUST be formatted in one of the following software applications:
Microsoft Wordtm 2002 or later edition Microsoft Exceltm 2002 or later edition Adobe Acrobattm PDF 6.0 or later edition
Financial models should be submitted using the Exceltm spreadsheet and must include calculation formulas and assumptions.
The applicant is responsible for the integrity and structure of the electronic files. The DOE will not be responsible for reformatting, restructuring or converting any files submitted under this announcement.
The Project Information Memorandum, excluding Appendices, shall not exceed seventy-five (75) pages. Pages in excess of the page limitation will not be considered for evaluation. All text shall be typed, single spaced, using 12 point font, 1 inch margins, and unreduced 8-1/2-inch by 11-inch pages. Illustrations and charts shall be legible with all text in legible font. Pages shall be sequentially numbered. Except as otherwise noted herein the page guidelines previously set forth constitute a limitation on the total amount of material that may be submitted for evaluation. No material may be incorporated in any application by reference as a means to circumvent the page limitation.
D. Form of Project Information Memorandum
  • Description of the Project

  • Financing and Ownership Structure

  • Describe the main parties to the project, including background, ownership and related experience

  • Current Project Status and Schedule to Beginning of Construction

Provide a description of the proposed technology, including sufficient supporting information (such as vendor guarantees, process flow diagrams, equipment descriptions, information on each major process unit and the total plant, compositions of major streams, and the technical plan for achieving the goals proposed for the project) as would be needed to allow DOE to confirm that the technical requirements of § 48B are met. Specifically, the applicant should:
  • Provide evidence sufficient to demonstrate that the proposed technology will employ gasification technology as defined in § 48B(c)(2).

  • Present information sufficient to justify the total amount of synthesis gas (as defined in § 48B(c)(2)) to be produced by the project (synthesis gas capacity). Provide the total MMBtu/hr of the syngas (HHV) at the gasifier outlet.

  • Provide evidence sufficient to ensure that fuels defined in § 48B(c)(2) will comprise 90 percent of the total fuel input (fuels defined in § 48B(c)(2) and any other fuel input) for the project. Provide the total quantities of CO, H2, CH4, CO2, and water in the syngas.

  • Identify the domestic industry for which the proposed project is intended to be used.

  • Identify the specific products and quantities produced by the proposed project, providing sufficient evidence to support claims.

  • Provide evidence that indicates, for projects using non renewable fuels, the gasification technology design reflects reasonable consideration for, and is capable of, accommodating equipment necessary to capture carbon dioxide for later use or sequestration. Include the project status and relevant information from ongoing engineering activities. Also include in an appendix any engineering report or reports used by the applicant to develop the project and to estimate costs and operating performance.

Provide a narrative supporting the applicant’s capability to accomplish the technical objectives of the proposed project, including supporting documentation demonstrating that the applicant has assembled a team that is formally committed to participate in the proposed project.
  • Provide information to support that the applicant has assembled a team with the skills and resources needed to implement the project as proposed. Provide signed agreements or letters from team members demonstrating that the proposed team members are fully committed to the project.

  • Provide information, including examples of prior similar projects completed by applicant, EPC contractor, and suppliers of major subsystems or equipment, which support the capabilities of the applicant and its team members to design, construct, permit, and operate the facility. The applicant should demonstrate that the team members have a corporate history of successful completion of similar projects.

  • Provide information to support that key personnel of the applicant and its team members have knowledge, experience, and adequate degree of involvement to successfully implement the project.

  • Include the project status and relevant information from ongoing engineering activities. Also include in an appendix any engineering report or reports used by the applicant to develop the project and to estimate costs and operating performance. Included copies of any signed agreements to support project status claims regarding preliminary design studies, FEED, and EPC-type agreements.

  • Provide evidence that the applicant owns or controls a site in the United States of sufficient size to allow the proposed project to be constructed and operated on a long-term basis. Documentation such as a deed demonstrating the applicant owns the project site, a signed option to purchase the site from the site owner, or a letter of intent by the site owner to sell the site to the applicant should be provided.

  • Describe the current infrastructure at the site available to meet the needs of the project.

  • Provide documentation supporting applicant’s conclusion that the proposed site can fully meet all environmental, feedstock supply, water supply, transportation and public policy requirements. Such documentation may include signed agreements, letters of intent, or term sheets, such as coal supply, water supply, and product transportation, etc., and regulatory approvals supporting the key claims.

  • Provide detailed plans, schedules and status updates, particularly, for sites with pre-existing conditions that could impact the proposed project. Pre-existing conditions may include, but are not limited to, sites with mandated environmental remediation efforts; brown-field sites that will require building demolition; or sites requiring substantial rerouting of existing roads, railroads, or pipelines prior to the start of the project.

  • Applicants must select one “proposed site.” However, projects with key physical or logistical elements that require close integration with another system for the project to succeed should provide information on all integrated systems regardless of where they are located. Example 1: a gasification plant designed to operate exclusively on coals from a to-be-opened mine should provide supporting documentation for the new mine. Example 2: an oxygen-blown gasification plant planning to purchase oxygen from a third party who will construct a plant exclusively for this project should provide documentation for the oxygen supplier.

  • Provide evidence that a market exists for the products of the proposed project as evidenced by contracts or written statements of intent from potential customers. Such documentation should be signed by authorizing officials by both the buyer and seller, and may include: Sales Agreements, Letters of Intent, Memoranda of Understanding, and Option Agreements.

  • Describe any sales arrangements that exist or that may be contemplated and summaries of their key terms and conditions.

  • Include as an appendix any independent Market Study that has been done in connection with this project, or if no independent market study has been completed, provide a copy of the applicant-prepared market study.

Describe the project economics and provide satisfactory evidence of economic feasibility as demonstrated through the financial forecast and the underlying project assumptions. The project economic and financial assumptions should be clearly stated and explained.
Discuss the market potential for the proposed technology beyond the project proposed by the applicant.
Show calculation for the amount of tax credit applied for based on allowable cost.
Provide the total project budget and major plant costs (e.g., development, operating, capital, construction, and financing costs). Provide the estimated annual budget for and source of project development costs from the time of the application until the beginning of construction, including legal, engineering, financial, environmental, overhead, and other development costs. Describe the overall approach to project development and financing sufficient to demonstrate project viability. Provide a complete explanation of the source and amount of project equity. Provide a complete explanation of the source and amount of project debt. Provide the audited financial statements for the applicant for the most recently ended three fiscal years, and the unaudited quarterly interim financial statements for the current fiscal year for (a) the applicant, (b) for any of the project parties providing funding, and (c) for any third party funding source. If the applicant or another party does not have audited financial statements, the applicant or the party should provide equivalent financial statements prepared by the applicant or the party, in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and certified as to accuracy and completeness by the Chief Financial Officer of the party providing the statements. Applicant should demonstrate that the award recipient is financially viable without the receipt of additional federal funding associated with the proposed project.
For internally financed projects, provide evidence that the applicant has sufficient assets to fund the project with its own resources. Identify any internal approvals required to commit such assets. Include in an appendix copies of any board resolution or other approval authorizing the applicant to commit funds and proceed with the project.
For projects financed through debt instruments either unsecured or secured by assets other than the project, provide evidence that the applicant has sufficient creditworthiness to obtain such financing along with a discussion of the status of such instruments. Identify any internal approvals required to commit the applicant to pursue such financing. Include in an appendix, copies of any board resolution or other approval authorizing the applicant to commit to such financing.
For projects financed through investor equity contributions, discuss the source and status of each contribution. Discuss each investor’s financial capability to meet its commitments. Include in an appendix, copies of any executed investment agreements.
If financing through a public offering or private placement of either debt or equity is planned for the project, provide the expected debt rating for the issue and an explanation of applicant’s justification for the rating. Describe the status of any discussions with prospective investment bankers or other financial advisors.
For projects employing nonrecourse debt financing, provide a complete discussion of the approach to, and status of, such financing. In an appendix, provide (1) an Excel based financial model of the project, with formulas, so that review of the model calculations and assumptions may be facilitated; provide pro-forma project financial, economic, capital cost, and operating assumptions, including detail of all project capital costs, development costs, interest during construction, other operating expenses, and all other costs and expenses.
Describe the current status of each of the agreements set forth below. Include as an appendix copies of the contracts or summaries of the key provisions of each of the following agreements:
  • Raw Material Input Supply: describe the source and price of raw material inputs for the project. Include as an appendix any studies of price and amount of raw materials that have been prepared. Include a summary of any supply contracts and a signed copy of the contracts.

  • Transportation: explain the arrangements for transporting project inputs and outputs, including costs.

  • Operations & Maintenance Agreement: include a summary of the terms and conditions of the contract and a copy of the contract.

  • Shareholders Agreement: summarize key terms and include the agreement as an appendix.

  • Engineering, Procurement and Construction Agreement: describe the key terms of the existing or expected EPC contract arrangement, including firm price, liquidated damages, hold-backs, performance guarantees, etc.

  • Water Supply Agreement: confirm the amount, source, and cost of water supply.

  • Provide a complete list of all federal, state, and local permits, including environmental authorizations or reviews, necessary to commence construction of the project.

  • Explain what actions have been taken to date to satisfy the required authorizations and reviews, and the status of each.

  • Provide a description of the applicant’s plan to obtain and complete all necessary permits, and environmental authorizations and reviews.

  • Existing permits and permit applications must be specific to the project proposed. If existing permits are not specific for the proposed project (i.e., permits for oil-fired or natural gas-based systems), specific plans, procedures and schedules for reapplying, modifying and/or renegotiating permits should be provided.

  • Provide an overall project schedule which includes technical, business, financial, permitting and other factors to substantiate that the project will meet the 7 year requirement for placing the plant in service.

  • The project schedule should be comprehensive and provide sufficient detail to demonstrate how applicant will meet the placed-in-service requirement. The schedule should demonstrate that the applicant understands the required tasks, and has allowed realistic times for accomplishing the technical and financial tasks. The schedule should include the milestone accomplishments needed to obtain the financing for the project.

  • Copy of internal or external engineering reports.

  • Copy of site plan, together with evidence that applicant owns or controls a site. Examples of evidence would include a deed, or an executed contract to purchase or lease the site.

  • Information supporting applicant’s conclusion that the site is fully acceptable as the project site with respect to environment, raw material supply, water supply, and public policy reasons.

  • Project Market Study.

  • Financial Model of project.

  • Financial statements for the applicant and other project funding sources for the most recently ended three fiscal years, and the unaudited quarterly interim financial statements for the current fiscal year.

  • Expressions of interest or commitment letters from funding sources.

  • For each project contract, if no contract currently exists, provide a summary of the expected terms and conditions.

  • List of all federal, state, and local permits, including environmental authorizations or reviews, necessary to commence construction.

  • Copies of any contract or written statements from customers of intent to purchase project products.

E. Evaluation Criteria:
Industrial Gasification Projects: will be evaluated on whether they meet all the requirements of § 48B.
Technical: will be evaluated on whether the applicant has demonstrated the capability to accomplish the technical objectives.
Site: will be evaluated on the basis that the site requirement for ownership or control has been met, and that the site is suitable for the proposed project.
Economic: will be evaluated on whether the project has demonstrated economic feasibility, taking into consideration the submitted financial and project development and structural information and financial plan.
Schedule: will be evaluated on the applicant’s ability to meet the 7 year placed-in-service requirement.
F. Program Policy Factors to be used by DOE in the evaluation of applications
Section 48B identifies minimum requirements for consideration for the qualifying gasification project credit, including the project’s technical feasibility, cost, and applicant’s ability. In the event that there are more qualified (certifiable) applications than there are available tax credits, the DOE will apply additional factors to rank eligible projects based on their ability to advance the deployment of industrial gasification technology beyond its current state.
If there are two or more certified applications than available credits, DOE will rank the certified projects in descending order (that is, first, second, third, etc.), based on evaluation of the following Program Policy Factors. Factors 1, 2, and 3 are Primary Ranking Factors. A certified project that satisfies one of these factors will be ranked ahead of each project that satisfies only factors listed below that factor. Specifically, all certified projects satisfying Factor 1 will be selected before any project that does not satisfy Factor 1; all projects satisfying Factor 2 will be ranked ahead of any project that satisfies only Factor 3 and/or one or more Secondary Ranking Factors; and all projects satisfying Factor 3 will be ranked ahead of any project that does not satisfy any Primary Ranking Factors.
Primary Ranking Factors:
  1. Capture and sequestration of 50 percent or more of carbon dioxide emissions. Only projects capturing and sequestering 50 percent or more of the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions will satisfy this factor. Within this factor, higher rankings will be given to those projects capturing and sequestering higher percentages of plant carbon dioxide emissions.
  2. Use of advanced technologies that optimize the plant for future carbon dioxide capture (for example, gasifier sizing and pressure, air separation unit sizing, and quench system) as well as systems that are designed to capture and sequester less than 50 percent of the carbon dioxide. Within this factor, higher rankings will be given to those projects capturing and sequestering higher percentages of plant carbon dioxide emissions and/or requiring less retrofitting to implement greater than 50 percent carbon capture and sequestration.
  3. Location of the facility within 25 miles of potential carbon sequestration locations and carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines or pipeline easements. Within this factor, higher rankings will be given to those projects with the facility located closer to potential carbon sequestration locations and carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines or pipeline easements.
Secondary Ranking Factors:
  • Location of the facility relative to potential carbon sequestration locations and carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines or pipeline easements (for facilities not meeting Factor 3).

  • Presentation of other environmental, economic, or performance benefits (including priority factors that are listed in section 5.02(9) of Notice 2007-53 and are not included in the Primary Ranking Factors).

  • Higher plant efficiency.

  • Geographic distribution of potential markets.

  • The ratio of total synthesis gas capacity (as defined in section 3.03 of Notice 2007-53) to requested tax credit.

  • Diversity of technology approaches and methods.

G. Supplemental Technical and Financial Guidance for Section D “Project Information Memorandum”
Technology and Technical Information
  • It is important that the applicant select a specific gasification system for their project. Without that decision, it is difficult to provide the necessary specific design information needed for DOE to evaluate the project feasibility with respect to performance, emissions, outputs of major streams as well as capital and operating costs.

Project Economics
  • Applicants should demonstrate the project’s economic feasibility and financial viability by providing a clear statement and explanation of the economic and financial assumptions made by the applicant, and a financial forecast for the project. The financial forecast should flow logically from the applicant’s assumptions and be consistent with them. Applicants should include assumptions regarding financial and economic issues that may not be included in the project costs but have a direct impact on the project. The examples given in the “Site Control and Ownership” section are relevant here and their impact on the project economics should be discussed here.

Project Development and Financial Plan
  • The information provided by the applicant in this section should demonstrate that the applicant’s financial plan for developing the project is feasible and that the applicant will have access to necessary financing. The applicant should explain the source and timing for obtaining all financing, including the project development costs. It is important that the applicant explain and provide evidence that it has the capacity to fund the pre-construction project development costs, together with a budget for and description of those costs. Note that financial information is required for the applicant and for any other funding source.

Project Contract Structure
  • This section requires that the applicant demonstrate an understanding of the commercial contracting process and show progress in establishing the framework of contracts and agreements that a project typically requires. Applicants should show that their intended contract structure is reasonable and that their assumptions relative to price, terms, and conditions are consistent with current market conditions. Evidence of final agreements, agreements in principle, or summaries of terms and conditions between the applicant and contract counterparties should be provided, if available.

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