US to Reinvest in Transforming Essential Energy-Intensive Industries

Earlier this month, US Department of Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm announced she will bring back the agency’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) that was essentially non-existent during the Trump presidency.  

The Loan Programs Office, which funded Tesla, has upwards of $43 billion in lending authority that can be applied towards large-scale energy infrastructure projects thus advancing the production of electric vehicles. 

With the accelrated adoption of electric mobility and democrats now in control of not only the White House, but congress as well, the US Department of Energy is planning on beefing up its investments into the electric vehicle industry in hopes of boosting domestic production and deployment. According to SAFE (Securing America’s Future Energy), the US could create a whopping 647,000 jobs in the EV industry over the course of the next five years. 

Additionally, the LPO has $4.5 billion that can be applied towards renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Reform to the LPO is long over due as Experts have been asking that the application to access funds be made easier for those applying as well as application fee adjustments, among other things. Furthermore, with the Trump administration still in the back of some minds, trust needs to be built back up between applicants and the current administration as while Trump was president the program was essentially non-existent. Granholm hired clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah for exactly that. One of the main concerns Shah wants to focus on is the need for more clean energy development, as well as the economic development opportunities that creates, to tribal lands.

The LPO has three main departments: Title XVII for energy, the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM) for transportation, and the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program. 

Title XVII has provided over $25 billion to an energy portfolio, that includes everything from solar, wind, advanced nuclear, geothermal, and more, and has been successful in clean energy ventures in that past including the utility-scale solar market in the US. An investment that quickly led to a surge in private sector financing in the solar industry

The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM) has more than $17 billion in lending authority. The ATVM funded the nation’s first two electric vehicle manufacturing facilities by Nissan and Tesla in 2010. ATVM loans have also been used to build and retool factories across Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky, New York, Tennessee, and California, allowing them to produce millions of advanced vehicles. 

Launched in 2018, the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program has up to $2 billion in partial loan guarantees made to a federally recognized Native American tribe or tribal energy development organization. The program can back up to 90% of the unpaid principal and interest due on eligible loans provided for any type of energy development made on tribal lands. 

Director of manufacturing & advanced transportation of the BlueGreen Alliance, Zoe Lipman commented on the riviva (via Electrek): “Through the energy and manufacturing loan and grant programs at the LPO, we have the opportunity to make investments at scale that not only make the US the leader in deploying clean and advanced energy technology, but ensure we retool factories building the clean vehicle and energy technology of the future, fill critical supply chain gaps, and reinvest to transform essential energy-intensive industries. Using these avenues, we can keep and create good jobs in America and help ensure cleaner, safer jobs and communities here and worldwide.”

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