At the Department of Energy, the loan programs office was “essentially dormant” under former president Donald Trump, The Guardian reports.
But now that department has come roaring back to life.
And it now has a massive war chest to bankroll emerging clean energy projects and technology.
The Inflation Reduction Act passed last year grew the previously dead office’s loan authority to $140 billion.
It also added a new program worth another $250 billion in loan guarantees to retool projects that help cut planet-heating emissions.
This means the department head, Jigar Shah, oversees resources comparable to the GDP of all of Norway.
And the massive amount of cash is all there to help turbocharge solar, wind, batteries, and a host of other climate technologies in the U.S.
With a newly divided Congress stymieing any new climate legislation in the foreseeable future, Shah has emerged as one of Washington’s most powerful figures in the effort to confront global warming and disastrous climate change.
John Podesta, a senior adviser to Joe Biden on clean energy, said that the loans office is “essential to the effective implementation” of the administration’s goal to eliminate planet-heating emissions by 2050.
Shah said the cobwebs had to be dusted off in order to reanimate the office after Trump left. Trump was so wary of even the most lo-fi environmental technology that he complained energy efficient lightbulbs made him look orange and became fixated upon the weak flushing ability of water-saving toilets.
But the clean energy loans are now appearing to be gaining momentum.
There are 125 current applications seeking $119 billion worth of loans.
This new prominence is set to provoke a stinging Republican backlash, however. Shah said scrutiny from the Republicans is ordinary and expected.
Experts say that the U.S. has traditionally not funneled large amounts of cash into commercializing clean energy technology, and now the country is wishing it did.
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