Retooling old, polluting infrastructure for the clean economy

A little-known provision within the Inflation Reduction Act gives the DOE $250 billion in lending authority to modernize old energy infrastructure and reinvest in energy communities.

On the Political Climate podcast this week:

The Inflation Reduction Act is the largest investment in clean energy ever made by the federal government. Among the bill’s more than 700 pages is a lesser-known provision that could play a pivotal role in transforming existing dirty energy infrastructure to serve the clean energy economy of the future. 

The new Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment Program — also known as the Section 1706 program — gives the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office $5 billion, with the authority to provide up to $250 billion in low-interest loans. These loans could radically change the energy landscape. The program could fund efforts to repurpose old coal and gas plant sites to deploy clean energy projects, leveraging existing infrastructure to save on costs while delivering economic benefits to communities. 

Political Climate hosts Julia Pyper, Shane Skelton and Brandon Hurlbut are joined by two guests to discuss this new program: Alexander Bond, deputy general counsel for climate and clean energy at the Edison Electric Institute, and Uday Varadarajan, a principal at the clean-energy nonprofit RMI. They discuss the innovative structure of the Section 1706 program, challenges the Loan Programs Office will face as it rolls out the funding, and the opportunities for the program to help clean up the U.S. electric grid. 

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