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The man in charge of how the US spends $400bn to drop fossil fuels



Deep in the confines of the hulking, brutalist headquarters of the US Department of Energy, down one of its long, starkly lit corridors, sits a small, unheralded office that is poised to play a pivotal role in America’s shift away from fossil fuels and help the world stave off disastrous global heating.

The department’s loan programs office (LPO) was “essentially dormant” under Donald Trump, according to its head, Jigar Shah, quoting energy secretary Jennifer Granholm’s description of the office, but has now come roaring back with a huge war chest to bankroll emerging clean energy projects and technology.


Last year’s vast Inflation Reduction Act grew the previously moribund office’s loan authority to $140bn, while adding a new program worth another $250bn in loan guarantees to retool projects that help cut planet-heating emissions. Which means that Shah, a debonair former clean energy entrepreneur and podcast host who matches his suits with pristine Stan Smiths, oversees resources comparable to the GDP of Norway: all to help turbocharge solar, wind, batteries and a host of other climate technologies in the US.



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