Jigar Shah to head up U.S. DOE loan programs office

NextEra Energy, Inc., NextEra Energy Partners, Global Infrastructure Partners, Gulf Pacific Power & Sumitomo of America are owners of the 550-MW Desert Sunlight Solar Project, which received support from the LPO. Credit: US DOE Loan Program Office

Longtime renewable energy expert and founder of Generate Capital, Jigar Shah, has been appointed to head up the Loan Programs Office (LPO) of the US Department of Energy (DOE).  

According to the website, LPO manages a portfolio comprising more than $30 billion of loans, loan guarantees, and conditional commitments covering more than 30 projects. Overall these loans and loan guarantees have resulted in more than $50 billion in total project investment. Some of the large-scale energy infrastructure projects in the U.S. include nuclear power (Vogtle),  Solar (multiple large projects), Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing (Ford and Tesla), Wind (multiple large projects), Geothermal (USG Oregon). You can see a complete list here.

Shah wrote on his linkedin page that he is excited to join the Biden-Harris Administration. “Secretary Granholm has been a fierce advocate for job creation through decarbonization and I look forward to helping the Federal Government be an inviting place for innovation to be deployed at scale,” he wrote.

Previously president of Generate Capital and cohost of the popular podcast The Energy Gang, Shah put his views on the record in a wide-ranging conversation with Mona Dajani of Pillsbury Law posted on Feb. 1. 

Jigar Shah

“From the perspective of decarbonization, we’re at $200 billion a year of solutions being deployed every year in the U.S.. That number has to be closer to a trillion dollars a year to meet President Biden’s goals that he’s publicly announced,” Shah says in the conversation (at 26:20).

“Folks who are focused on venture capital are really only talking about millions,” Shah says. “So we’re saying, how do we deploy at least a billion dollars of a technology? Because to us, that’s table stakes.”

And, he says, “You’re not going to get to a billion or a trillion unless this stuff saves money.”

Shah believes that it will. He says (at 4:35) that at Generate Capital, “We fundamentally believe that sustainability wins. We actually genuinely believe that this is the best way to invest dollars. And that in fact, if you’re going to make a 25- or 40-year investment, it better be something that where it actually aligns with the decarbonization goals of the world today, and better align with where buyers of those services want those services to go over time. Otherwise, your investment’s going to be cut short, and then you’re going to end up with not getting the full life out of the asset.”

Related: Don’t despair about climate change, instead put your capital where it counts

His hour-long “virtual fireside chat” with Dajani may be streamed on demand here.