Jigar Shah is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Programs Office, which is responsible for the public investment of hundreds of billions of dollars into clean infrastructure and energy projects.
What is the single most important action you think the public, or a specific company or government, needs to take in the next year to advance the climate agenda?
We have cost-effective technologies available today to meet our 2030 goals. We don’t have a technology problem, we have a massive deployment opportunity. In each and every community there needs to be a sustained effort to pressure elected officials to deploy solutions that save money. Without that pressure coming from local citizens, we will miss this opportunity. The solutions to meeting the President’s decarbonization goals are already within our grasp. It’s a matter of doing rather than waiting for a breakthrough.
What is a climate technology that isn’t getting the attention or funding it deserves?
Enhanced geothermal, low-impact hydro, small modular nuclear reactors, carbon sequestration, hydrogen, and long duration energy storage are all technologies that need to cross the bridge to bankability.
What’s the most important climate legislation that could pass in the next year?
While it’s exciting to be hopeful and anticipate the passage of new climate legislation in the next year, what is more profound are the ten years of certainty provided by the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA will be the largest wealth creation opportunity of our lifetime. After passage comes deployment, which is where the Loan Programs Office comes into play. This is when Americans will see real development, job creation, and cleaner energy in their own communities.
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