US prepares $ 40 billion in loans to boost clean energy – official

FILE PHOTO: Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hearing to consider her appointment as Secretary of Energy, on Capitol Hill in Washington , DC, USA January 27, 2021. Jim Watson / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Wednesday she was ready to reactivate her department’s loan program office which has remained largely unused for the past four years and has more than $ 40 billion in funding to spur the clean energy transition.

“I am ready to relaunch these engines so that we can drive the next generation of innovation and deployment,” Granholm said at the CERAWeek virtual conference. She did not give details on when the loans would be offered.

Granholm said Jigar Shah, a clean energy finance expert, will head the department’s lending programs office. Shah was most recently co-founder and chairman of Generate Capital, where he helped entrepreneurs accelerate decarbonization. He also founded SunEdison, a solar energy finance company.

“It will help us build an indomitable investment portfolio for American taxpayers, which will help us tackle climate change and create jobs,” said Granholm, who was confirmed by the Senate last week, with the support of several Republicans who produce fossil fuels. States.

“We are ready to invest in advanced vehicles, carbon capture, advanced reactors and much more,” said Granholm, a former governor of Michigan, who secured federal funding for state companies to manufacture electric cars and batteries. It will likely play an important role in President Joe Biden’s efforts to put the country on the path to full decarbonization of the economy by 2050.

The Department of Energy’s loan office was founded with stimulus funding in 2009 under the Obama administration. It has issued more than $ 35 billion in loans and loan guarantees and has been repaid by companies including Tesla Inc. But some Republicans have criticized it for a $ 535 million loan to Solyndra, a solar company in bankruptcy.

Granholm said the department had created an energy jobs office to create jobs for communities “left behind for too long,” including “communities of color living with the toxic legacy of air pollution.” .

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio

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