Speed of US climate solutions must increase five-fold, says DOE director

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The DOE’s Loan Programme Office has more than US$40 billion in loans and loan guarantees available to help deploy utility-scale energy projects in the US. Image: Total Eren.

The pace of climate action in the US is “wholly unacceptable”, according to the director of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programme Office, Jigar Shah.

Shah said the US was investing around US$200 billion a year in climate change solutions, but this needed to be closer to US$1 trillion a year to be able to reach climate targets and achieve “the goals that the president will be announcing [at the United Nations Climate Change Conference] in Glasgow”.

The comments were made during a conversation with Atul Arya, IHS Markit senior vice president and chief energy strategist, in which Shah also discussed acting as a catalyst for Wall Street investment, stating this to be needed for the scale of the funds required.

The US has “too much money and not enough projects”, said Shah. “The reason we don’t have enough projects is because the only people who really know how to develop projects are people who develop solar and wind.”

He said the “vast majority” of people were waiting on the government to “tell them what a risk-free approach looks like”.

“I have US$46 billion of authority here at the DOE Loan Programs Office. We can do whatever portion of that that we can do. But at some point, we’ve done our job. We’re a catalyst and we can hand it off to Wall Street to do the next hundred billion,” he said.

The DOE’s Loan Programme Office has more than US$40 billion in loans and loan guarantees available to help deploy utility-scale energy projects in the US.

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