US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said she is ready to use the $ 40 billion in her department’s Office of Loan Programs that has not been used for the past four years to support the shift to clean energy.
“I am ready to rev those engines back up so that we can spur the next generation of innovation and deployment,” Granholm said during the virtually-held CERAWeek conference.
She stated that clean energy finance expert Jigar Shah will head the ministry’s loan programs office, and Shah recently served as head of Generate Capital, where he helped entrepreneurs accelerate carbon emissions reductions, and funded SunEdison, a solar financing company.
“It will help us put together a very strong investment portfolio for American taxpayers to confront climate change and create jobs,” said Granholm, who was approved by the Senate last week with the support of Republicans from fossil fuel producing states.
“We’re ready to invest in advanced vehicles, carbon capture, advanced reactors, and so much more,” said Granholm, a former governor of Michigan, who secured federal funding for companies in the state to make electric cars and batteries. She will likely play a big role in President Joe Biden’s push to put the country on a path to fully decarbonize the economy by 2050.
She stated that the ministry had established an office for energy jobs to create job opportunities for groups “who have been marginalized for a very long time,” especially “people of color who live in the toxic legacy of air pollution.”
The Energy Department’s loan office was established with stimulus funding in 2009 under former President Barack Obama, and worked to lend to companies that had achieved success, most notably Tesla, but faced criticism from some Republicans for supporting Solyndra, a failed solar energy company.