But the clean energy loans now appear to be gaining momentum, with 125 current applications seeking $119bn worth of loans to act as the “bridge to bankability”, as Shah puts it. About $2.5bn has been given to Ultium Cells to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for electric cars in three states, $700m has gone to a project that will mine lithium in Nevada – despite concerns this will negatively affect a rare flower in the region – and more than $500m for the world’s largest facility creating “green” hydrogen, to be used to fuel trucks and industry, in Utah.
“We’ve left no stone unturned,” said Shah, who says he understands the mindset of entrepreneurs, having previously founded the renewable energy companies SunEdison and Generate Capital, as well as being the co-host of The Energy Gang podcast.
“We’ve called every one of those companies that have been labeled climate tech, whether it’s green chemicals, green cement, green steel,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who it is, we’ve called them and said, ‘Hey, let me introduce you to the loan programs office, so now we can help.’”