White House Briefing on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Guidebook: Clean Energy and Power (DOE)

March 10, 2022

Stephanie Sykes, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure Implementation

A few weeks ago, the White House released a guidebook for state and local governments as a resource for stakeholders and is intended as a roadmap, and it contains the most comprehensive information the White House has to date on the more than 375 programs in the bipartisan infrastructure law. President Biden and the entire team here have made it a priority to make sure that we’re giving all the resources that are needed to make sure that this money hits the ground and reaches all corners of this country. Over $100 billion has been announced, allocated, or headed to states Territories, and local governments. There’s been some key plans and offices that have also been announced. The White House has also announced some public notice periods and that covers a lot of different areas, including clean energy, electric vehicles that will be discussed today. high-speed internet grid modernization lead pipes and paint orphan wells, and most recently, a Great Lakes Restoration announcement.

Carla Frisch, Principal Deputy Director, Office of Policy at Department of Energy

DOE has more than $62 billion which will create 16 new programs, including demonstration and deployment, and it expands 12 existing DOE programs. The investment into the DOE will provide the agency with the means to invest in workers’ families, stay competitive, and spur economic growth. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will also allow the DOE to focus on energy justice and Justice-40 on reducing emission by handing off the research from the government to the private sector.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes in investment into demonstration projects. The DOE has made technologies that will decarbonize the economy affordable and available. DOE with help from the infrastructure law is going to provide the resources needed to demonstrate decarbonization projects at a larger scale. Many of the programs will leverage public-private partnerships to pave the way towards commercialization and widespread deployment of certain technology. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides the DOE with $21 billion for clean energy demonstrations. The funding will be allocated to projects that include clean hydrogen, carbon capture, energy storage and advanced nuclear, and more. There is $8 billion for clean hydrogen hubs, and the DOE has released an RFI to addresses the production, delivery, and storage of clean hydrogen. The RFI closes on March 21st and funding applications will be released this summer. An RFI has been released to address the possibility of reducing the cost of hydrogen and hydrogen recycling processes. That RFI will close on March 29th and funding applications will be looked at soon after. Another program that deals with industrial emissions reduction, fuel switching, and carbon capture will have $10 billion worth of funding. Those projects will be across the country and will include specific projects for rural regions that have been hard hit.

The DOE is introducing the Investing in American Manufacturing and Workers Program, and the DOE is working to become leaders in the clean energy market. Strengthening the American supply chains is incredibly important and current events around the world have underscored the need to become more energy-independent and secure. The DOE has released a strategy to secure the American energy and Industry base. DOE plans to invest $7 billion in the domestic battery industry and $3 billion for battery material processing grants and $3 billion for battery manufacturing and recycling grants. The DOE has also released an RFI for a domestic rare-earth element facility and has attached $140 million worth of funding. This investment will build the first American rare-earth facility that will demonstrate the commercial feasibility of a full-scale integrated rare-earth facility.

Jeremiah Baumann, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Energy

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is going to create programs within the DOE that will focus on delivering reliable and affordable clean power to American families and businesses. Programs will allow DOE to build new clean energy infrastructure and modernize existing infrastructure. The nation’s energy grid is going to be modernized with a program called Building a Better Grid Initiative which combines several new programs along with some existing funding at the DOE. The bill is going to establish a new transmission facilitation program and help to develop national significant urban or inter-regional transmission lines and will also expand the Smart Grid Investment matching grant program. The Building a Better Grid Initiative includes a total of $20 billion with 16 of that 20 billion coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. Applications for this program will be will open in the 4th quarter of 2022.

The Smart Grid Investment Act focuses on bringing flexibility to the grid. The improvements include upgrading existing transmission and distribution systems and accommodating new technology like smart meters. The Energy in Rural and Remote Communities Program focuses on providing energy security to rural communities. The DOE has also been tasked with conducting a national transmission planning study to identify the highest priority transmission projects in the country. Two programs aim to keep the existing zero-carbon electricity-generating assets operating reliably and affordably. The Nuclear Credit Program has a strategic investment of $6 billion to help preserve the existing US nuclear fleet. An RFI has been released for this program that closes on March 17th. The last program Hydropower/Hydroelectric Power Incentive Program will help to upgrade and modernize hydroelectric dams across the country.

Many of the programs discussed will make clean energy a reality for communities of all sizes across the country. The programs have several benefits like lower energy bills and increased access to clean energy. The Weatherization Assistance Program is a long-standing DOE program, and the law adds $3.5 billion to it. This program focuses on reducing energy bills for low-income households. The law also has $500 million in funding for the more efficient and renewable-powered school buildings. Schools will be able to use the funding to upgrade their HVAC systems.

Q&A:

Sykes asked Frisch how companies can get involved in implementation efforts. Frisch said that companies can partner with states and communities. A lot of the projects can be enhanced with collaborations across different entities.

Sykes asked Baumann what the DOE is going to help states be more prepared to receive and apply for funding. Baumann said that the DOE is committed to helping states access the funds because states and communities are going to be the ones that are going to be the engine of change.

Sykes asked Baumann how the DOE is thinking about implementation around prioritizing funding. Baumann said that DOE is focused on long-term investment in the nation’s economic competitiveness and a lot of programs will operate on different timelines.

Sykes asked Frisch to talk about the EV charging station funding in the bill. Frisch said that DOE and the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation are working together on this topic and will have $7.5 billion worth of funding. DOE is looking to bolster the EV charging network and fill the gaps that are in the rural areas of the country.

Sykes asked Baumann how environmental justice communities benefit from clean energy investments. Baumann said that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests in communities that have been disadvantaged for years. The bill invests $3.5 billion through the Weatherization Assistance Program that will help an estimated amount of 500,000 households in the country retrofit their houses to be more comfortable.