Below is a transcript of podcast host Matt Dozier's conversation with Schultz:
DOZIER: For that to happen, though, they’re going to need investment beyond what the small-but-mighty Office of Indian Energy can provide. One potential avenue for that sort of financial backing is the Department of Energy's Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program. Doug Schultz, Director of Loan Origination for the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, explained how his office could step in and help get a tribal energy project off the ground.
DOUG SCHULTZ: So the tribal energy loan guarantee program is relatively new. It's the newest one in our portfolio. And what it does is it focuses on tribes specifically, so the tribes themselves or tribally owned companies that are looking to do energy development. And it's across the spectrum, almost anything you can think of that's related to energy. It might be energy efficiency, it could be generation, it could be transmission. So it's trying to help bridge a gap where tribes may not have a lot of experience with private lenders or private lenders may not have a lot of experience with them.
DOZIER: The program’s substantial loan guarantee authority means it has the ability to support projects far larger than a community-scale solar farm. We’re talking grid-scale potential here — but with bigger projects comes a lot more up-front work — and lengthy timelines to match.
SCHULTZ: Right, they can definitely be much bigger, we have $2 billion dollars of authority for the entire program. So that means that we can do up to $2 billion worth of loans.
DOZIER: The program’s whole ethos is about supporting energy innovation and development projects in places — like Indian Country — where private sector investors might otherwise shy away from the risk.
SCHULTZ: I mean, that's what we do here right? So, you know, we are used to kind of tackling these challenges, understanding what the issues are, mitigating risks, understanding what those risks are, so that that we can articulate that to our, our stakeholders in the building, but also, you know, outside and so, by doing that we help you know, clear the path for other lenders to come in as well. It's as easy as just picking up the phone and giving us a call. Just start the conversation is the most important thing, and it’s easy.