President Biden’s new Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is ready to let loose $40 billion in Department of Energy loans, the former Michigan governor said on Wednesday at CERAWeek.
Granholm has selected Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison, to spearhead the loan program as Director of the Loan Program Office.
The DoE’s loan program has been in place for years, and is responsible, according to IHS Markit, for backing the first five US utility-scale solar projects in the United States. More uncharitably, the DoE’s loan program is also recognized for dispersing $528 million to Solyndra—the solar panel manufacturer that went bankrupt two years after receiving DoE funds.
The program, originally created in 2005 under U.S. President Bush, added a renewable energy component four years later, under President Obama.
The largest loan, issued in pieces starting in 2014 to 2019, went to VOGTLE in the amount of $12 billion for the construction of Vogtle Units 3&4—something the DoE coined “the nation’s next generation of advanced nuclear reactors”. The reactors will likely miss its promised November 2021 in-service dates.
The second-largest loan in the program, issued in 2009, went to Ford Motor Company in the amount of $5.9 billion for the purpose of revamping facilities to improve fuel efficiency.
The two loans account for more than half of the nearly $30 billion in outstanding loans issued by the DoE.
The loan program is part of President Biden’s aggressive push toward cleaner energy, with Granholm a perfectly green second chair.
The $40 billion in funds have been available and waiting for disbursement for years, but with the new Administration, expectations are that we will see more clean energy funds doled out.