On Thursday, May 12, the American Security Project hosted an event entitled “Electrified: Strategic Opportunities for Decarbonization.” Jigar Shah, director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Program Office (LPO), joined ASP CEO Patrick C. Costello to discuss the LPO’s mission, projects, and future.
The conversation opened with the hurdles that the United States must overcome in achieving a clean energy economy that reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050. Shah confirmed that while the United States has the technology necessary to meet the President’s ambitious goals, ingrained inertia and implementation remain significant challenges. Shah notes that local engagement at the city council and mayoral level is a critical component of the implementation solution.
Conversation then shifted to the critical role that states and local engagement have in building physical infrastructure. Shah explained that by investing in long-term physical infrastructure, society creates a significant opportunity for wealth because of an investment in people with trades. This investment will pay dividends in the future to ensure that no one is left behind in the transition to a greener economy.
The dialogue emphasized the unique role that the LPO plays in bridging the divide between innovators and the market economy by providing critical skepticism that challenges innovators to improve their products, processes, and facilities. Thus, the LPO serves as a credential function used to gain full acceptance into capital markets and bankability.
Lastly, Costello and Shah discussed the promising future of innovation in nuclear waste management, fusion, and monolithic materials. Shah believes that with the power of emerging technologies, the United States will lead the world into a more sustainable and peaceful future.