U.S. loan program ready to fund clean energy technologies: energy secretary

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HOUSTON, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The Loan Programs Office in the U.S. Department of Energy that went mostly unused in the last four years is back and open to fund clean energy technologies, Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said on Wednesday during a virtual energy conference.

"Our loan authority has helped some of America's bravest entrepreneurs get their best ideas off the ground, and flourish into what they are today," Granholm said in her speech at CERAWeek 2021.

"Much of this authority went unused over the last four years. But I'm ready to rev those engines back up, so we can spur the next generation of innovation and deployment," she said.

Jigar Shah, an expert of clean energy, will lead the authority which is 40 billion U.S. dollars of worth, said Granholm.

"We're ready to invest in advanced vehicles, carbon capture, advanced reactors, and so much more," she added.

Admitting that the country has been sidelined towards energy transition in the past four years, the secretary vowed to use tools such as science breakthroughs, resources to turn science into deployable technologies, research projects and investments to reach the climate goals set by President Joe Biden.

Sending a message to traditional oil and gas industry, Granholm reiterated that energy transition can provide opportunities to the important industry.

"This particular growth of clean energy and reduction of carbon provides a huge opportunity and I'm extending a hand of partnership to reduce carbon emissions and make sure we keep people employed," she said.

Regarding the massive blackout that the state of Texas had experienced last month during winter storms, the secretary noted that the resilience of the grid should be considered seriously and authorities should be prepared for such severe conditions.

The secretary also pointed out that Texas should consider in some way connecting its largely isolated power grid to the rest of the country.

Organized by IHS Markit, a global financial information and services company, this year's CERAWeek kicked off on Monday with the theme "The New Map: Energy, Environment, and Charting the Future."

Held all-virtually for the first time due to the pandemic, the 39th CERAWeek includes over 500 speakers, along with over 10,000 participants from more than 85 countries and regions.

During the five-day sessions, senior policymakers, energy executives, financial leaders and technologists will reflect on the changes that have occurred in the past year and discuss how they will reshape future energy industry strategy and structure, and the investment choices ahead.

Last year's CERAWeek was canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Enditem

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