Top DOE official calls pace of clean energy transition ‘wholly unacceptable’


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WASHINGTON – The head of the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office said the United States needs to scale up its investments in clean energy five fold if it is to meet President Biden’s climate change goals.

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Jigar Shah, director of the loan office, estimated that government and private industry were spending about $2oo billion a year combined on climate solutions and that, “probably needs to be a trillion dollars a year.”

“The pace at which we are deploying climate solutions is wholly unacceptable,” he said in an episode of the CERAWeek Conversations series, which is hosted by the consulting firm IHS Markit.

Biden is set to appear at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow later this year, where he is expected to lay out his plans to get the United States to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

One avenue at Biden’s disposal is the $40 billion in loans and loan guarantees the Energy Department has available to build out energy projects in the United States, which Shah described as a “catalyst” for Wall Street to invest in clean energy when traditional lenders won’t step in.

He pointed to loans to companies including Tesla a decade ago that had since generated close to a trillion dollars in shareholder equity.

“Now we have to find the next set of technologies to do the same thing,” he said. “Ultimately what you find is that the commercial debt market generally does not want to do new things. Sometimes it’s because they generally believe there’s technology risk that they don’t understand. But a lot of times it’s just because they can hit their numbers without doing new stuff.”

Read More:Top DOE official calls pace of clean energy transition ‘wholly unacceptable’

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