Biden’s new Energy Secretary to revive $40 billion energy loan program for electric grid

March 7, 2021

Jennifer Granholm, President Biden’s new Energy Secretary, said on February 26th she plans to revive a $40 billion loan program for energy projects and to push for improvements to the country’s electric grid in the aftermath of this month’s deadly, widespread blackout, according to a February 26, 2021 Wall Street Journal report.

  Jennifer Granholm
Secretary of Energy

On Friday, her first full day on the job, Mr. Biden visited Texas to talk with local leaders about an Arctic chill that brought the state’s grid near a catastrophic collapse.

Ms. Granholm pointed to Texas and blackouts last year in California that she said illustrate how the U.S. electricity system struggles with increasing demand and extreme weather. In one of her first interviews since winning Senate confirmation Thursday, she also said that the demands of the modern economy—envisioned by the Biden team as running on low-emissions technologies—will require federal support for the energy sector.

Ms. Granholm said one of her top priorities is to use the department’s loan program to jumpstart her work. The program offering federal loans and loan guarantees to start-ups and energy projects has $40 billion authorized by Congress but untouched by the Trump administration. That can be funneled into companies bringing new energy technologies to market.

The loan program has fallen out of favor at times, criticized especially by Republicans for supporting private-sector projects that they say don’t need the money or waste it with little return. Ms. Granholm said she wants to ensure the program’s accountability and that its money is used efficiently.

The Biden administration and Congress also must find ways later this year to streamline permitting and put up even more money specifically for grid improvements, she said.

Her department oversees U.S. scientific research and the country’s nuclear arsenal, along with many energy programs. It is the lead federal agency for securing the grid and ensuring reliable electricity.

What this means to you
Jennifer Granholm, President Biden’s new Energy Secretary, said on February 26th she plans to revive a $40 billion loan program for energy projects and to push for improvements to the country’s electric grid in the aftermath of this month’s deadly, widespread blackout.

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