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Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Torsten Blackwood/AFP via Getty Images

Clean technology companies have certainly taken notice of the Energy Department's moves to revive its loan programs office.

Driving the news: "Today we’re already averaging about $7 billion of applications a month and more are coming every day," Jigar Shah, who heads the office, tells IHS Markit in a newly posted interview.

  • "We've got about 40 applications that we know about that are being actively being put together," he said.
  • They include advanced nuclear, renewables, efficiency, carbon storage, EV and battery manufacturing, critical minerals and more, Shah said in the "CERAWeek Conversations" series.

Why it matters: The office is a tool for DOE, using existing powers, to bolster deployment of climate-friendly technologies, but it was largely fallow in the Trump years.

The program, which financed Tesla in 2010, other successful projects but also some duds (famously Solyndra), currently has nearly $44 billion worth of financing authority.

What they're saying: Here's more from the wide-ranging interview...

  • Shah discussed the office's role in a wider effort to address the "wholly unacceptable" pace at which climate solutions are being deployed in the U.S.
  • He said deployment is around $200 billion annually and should get to $1 trillion to achieve U.S. climate goals.
  • One of the barriers, he notes, is a knowledge deficit in project finance and development. "Today we perennially have too much money and not enough projects," Shah said.
  • Shah also touched on specific technologies, at one point noting, "We’re going to be doing several billion dollars’ worth of geothermal loan guarantees."

Go deeper

Oct 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is privately telling lawmakers the climate portion of President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending plan is "mostly settled" and will likely cost more than $500 billion, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: A price tag of $500 billion to $555 billion is a huge number and, if it holds, would likely be the single biggest component of the sweeping package. It also isn't far off from the roughly $600 billion proposed when the bill was expected to cost $3.5 trillion.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.