Speeding the Energy Transition

Jigar Shah | Scaling the Gigaton Decarbonization Economy | Ep.83

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The first Tesla Model S came to be with an initial half-billion-dollar loan from the Department of Energy. SpaceX was saved by a loan from NASA. The might of the federal government paired with the indomitable will of an entrepreneur equals a bridge to bankability.

A successful model exists for scaling up decarbonization, and a tenacious entrepreneur’s first step is to the front door of the Loan Program Office.

Jigar Shah is the Director for the Loan Program Office at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Previously, he founded SunEdison and served as President and Co-Founder of Generate Capital. In his current role, Jigar works with technologies that are ready to scale the transition to a global clean energy economy. He oversees the planning and execution of the organization’s over $40B of authority within manufacturing, innovative project finance and tribal energy.

On this episode of Clean Power Hour, Jigar joins Tim to discuss historical patterns in green energy financing, the many viable technologies still awaiting commercialization and how to identify your best and highest use professionally.

Listen in for a deep dive into decarbonization technology funding complete with rich detail, directly from a legitimate pioneer in the field.

Key Takeaways

How a DOE loan to an industry sparks lending confidence from private banks down the line
The influence of state-level policies on lending, e.g.: California’s electric vehicle (EV) mandates
Jigar’s take on why strong will and heart is required to reach the “bridge to bankability”
Why the Loan Program Office is a safe place for founders unfamiliar with commercialization
The perceived tension between improving existing technologies and deploying them as-is
What equity stage a company should be when applying for a DOE loan
Examples of long-established technologies plagued by inertia: green cement and green hydrogen
The differences at play in decarbonizing steel vs. cement
The learning curve benefit: a doubling of adoption of technologies equals 20% lower price
Why the process of discovery is worth losing money
The plans for a national carbon dioxide sequestration pipeline
The major investment in direct air capture technologies to come from Stripe, Meta and Google
The future decarbonization goals we have to meet as a nation by 2035 and 2050
How each individual can find their “best and highest use,” be it local activism or a fearless pursuit of bringing new technologies to a commercial market