My name is Jigar Shah, and I'm the director of the Loan Programs Office (LPO) here at the Department of Energy. What is the value of working with LPO?
For a lot of entrepreneurs and innovators, they have worked for so long to get their technology to where they needed to get to, and now they have this big mountain in front of them. They've got to build a billion-dollar project; and without that billion-dollar project, they can't really validate their costs, how important their technology is to society, and really get down the cost curve and through the bridge to bankability.
LPO offers a few big things:
- We're patient capital. The first is that when LPO gives someone a loan, the goal is to help that company succeed. We're here to help you demonstrate your technology so that you can actually build the next project and the project after.
- We're flexible. The next big thing is that LPO knows that standard products often don't work in this particular environment. We have to create something custom for every single borrower. Something like your project has never been done before. And so you need someone who really wants to think outside the box to help support your goals.
- We're a long-term partner. For many of the loans on our books—and we have roughly $32 billion of loans on our books today—those loans have been on the books with us for over ten years. We're partnering with those companies each and every year, helping them figure out what are the best practices. Insurance rates have changed based on different factors around climate change or wildfire risk or other things. How do we problem solve to help solve those issues with you? Your reserve accounts are too high. How do we shrink those down to make them more manageable? We're here to really help you work through the entire life cycle of your project and give you that long-term partnership.