DOE promotes loans for clean energy projects at old industrial sites

By Brian Dabbs | 04/02/2024 06:48 AM EDT

The department also released a new guide touting the benefits of converting coal plants to nuclear power.

Jigar Shah.

Jigar Shah, director of the Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office, speaks last month in Houston. CERAWeek by S&P Global

The Department of Energy is urging more companies to seek federal lending for clean energy projects at closed coal plants and former industrial sites, after announcing the first such loan last week.

“These existing sites are very critical to building out the president’s vision for onshoring and reshoring a lot of these projects into our country,” Jigar Shah, director of DOE’s Loan Programs Office, said Monday. Shah spoke at a webinar held by the Interagency Working Group on coal and power plant communities and economic revitalization.

The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act gave DOE’s loan office authority to lend to projects on former industrial sites. Last week, the office announced its first conditional commitment under that program: a $1.5 billion loan to restart the shuttered Palisades nuclear plant on the shores of Lake Michigan.


The loans are part of the Biden administration’s broader strategy — bolstered by the Inflation Reduction Act and the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law — to boost struggling communities where investment has fled in recent decades.