President Joe Biden rolled out his infrastructure package called the American Jobs Plan on March 31 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The plan includes a large investment in re-energizing the country’s power infrastructure and boosting renewable energy development.
The plan aims to create a more resilient grid, lower energy bills for middle class Americans, improve air quality and public health outcomes, and create good jobs, with a choice to join a union, on the path to achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035.
President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $100 billion to:
Build a more resilient electric transmission system.
Through investments in the grid, we can move cheaper, cleaner electricity to where it is needed most. This starts with the creation of a targeted investment tax credit that incentivizes the buildout of at least 20 GW of high-voltage capacity power lines and mobilizes tens of billions in private capital off the sidelines — right away. In addition, President Biden’s plan will establish a new Grid Deployment Authority at the Department of Energy that allows for better leverage of existing rights-of-way — along roads and railways — and supports creative financing tools to spur additional high priority, high-voltage transmission lines. These efforts will create good-paying jobs for union laborers, line workers and electricians, in addition to creating demand for American-made building materials and parts.
Spur jobs modernizing power generation and delivering clean electricity.
President Biden is proposing a 10-year extension and phase down of an expanded direct-pay investment tax credit and production tax credit for clean energy generation and storage. These credits will be paired with strong labor standards to ensure the jobs created are good-quality jobs with a free and fair choice to join a union and bargain collectively. President Biden’s plan will mobilize private investment to modernize our power sector. It also will support state, local and tribal governments choosing to accelerate this modernization through complementary policies — like clean energy block grants that can be used to support clean energy, worker empowerment and environmental justice. And, it will use the federal government’s incredible purchasing power to drive clean energy deployment across the market by purchasing 24/7 clean power for federal buildings. To ensure that we fully take advantage of the opportunity that modernizing our power sector presents, President Biden will establish an Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard (EECES) aimed at cutting electricity bills and electricity pollution, increasing competition in the market, incentivizing more efficient use of existing infrastructure, and continuing to leverage the carbon pollution-free energy provided by existing sources like nuclear and hydropower. All of this will be done while ensuring those facilities meet robust and rigorous standards for worker, public, and environmental safety as well as environmental justice — and all while moving toward 100% carbon-pollution free power by 2035.
Put the energy industry to work plugging orphan oil and gas wells and cleaning up abandoned mines.
Hundreds of thousands of former orphan oil and gas wells and abandoned mines pose serious safety hazards, while also causing ongoing air, water, and other environmental damage. Many of these old wells and mines are located in rural communities that have suffered from years of disinvestment. President Biden’s plan includes an immediate up-front investment of $16 billion that will put hundreds of thousands to work in union jobs plugging oil and gas wells and restoring and reclaiming abandoned coal, hardrock, and uranium mines. In addition to creating good jobs in hardhit communities, this investment will reduce the methane and brine that leaks from these wells, just as we invest in reducing leaks from other sources like aging pipes and distribution systems.
Remediate and redevelop idle real property, and spur the buildout of critical physical, social and civic infrastructure in distressed and disadvantaged communities.
In thousands of rural and urban communities around the country, hundreds of thousands of former industrial and energy sites are now idle — sources of blight and pollution. Through a $5 billion investment in the remediation and redevelopment of these Brownfield and Superfund sites, as well as related economic and workforce development, President Biden’s plan will turn this idle real property into new hubs of economic growth and job creation. But it’s not enough to redevelop old infrastructure. President Biden’s plan also will bring these communities new critical physical, social, and civic infrastructure. This means investing in the Economic Development Agency’s Public Works program (while lifting the cap of $3 million on projects) and in “Main Street” revitalization efforts through HUD and USDA. President Biden’s plan also will spur targeted sustainable, economic development efforts through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER grant program, Department of Energy retooling grants for idled factories (through the Section 132 program), and dedicated funding to support community-driven environmental justice efforts — such as capacity and project grants to address legacy pollution and the cumulative impacts experienced by frontline and fenceline communities.
Build next-generation industries in distressed communities.
President Biden believes that the market-based shift toward clean energy presents enormous opportunities for the development of new markets and new industries. For example, by pairing an investment in 15 decarbonized hydrogen demonstration projects in distressed communities with a new production tax credit, we can spur capital-project retrofits and installations that bolster and decarbonize our industry. The President’s plan also will establish ten pioneer facilities that demonstrate carbon capture retrofits for large steel, cement and chemical production facilities, all while ensuring that overburdened communities are protected from increases in cumulative pollution. In addition, in line with the bipartisan SCALE Act, his plan will support large-scale sequestration efforts that leverage the best science and prioritize community engagement. And to accelerate responsible carbon capture deployment and ensure permanent storage, President Biden’s plan reforms and expands the bipartisan Section 45Q tax credit, making it direct pay and easier to use for hard-to-decarbonize industrial applications, direct air capture and retrofits of existing power plants.
Mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers.
This $10 billion investment will put a new, diverse generation of Americans to work conserving our public lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, and advancing environmental justice through a new Civilian Climate Corps, all while placing good-paying union jobs within reach for more Americans.
SEIA expressed its approval of the new plan through a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO:
“President Biden’s infrastructure proposal is a significant step in meeting our collective clean energy goals. The plan creates jobs, spurs the economy, faces the climate crisis, and advances environmental justice.
“The release of these critical infrastructure priorities is just the beginning of a long policymaking process over the coming weeks and months that will require continued focus and determination on the part of elected officials.
“The plan has a clear focus on domestic manufacturing, good jobs for all Americans and clean energy woven throughout. SEIA has offered proposals consistent with this plan that will help the economy build back better. Our industry stands ready to add hundreds of billions of dollars in investment and hundreds of thousands of jobs in all American communities.
“In line with the President’s emphasis on high-quality jobs, an upcoming jobs study will show that solar has a unionization rate of 10.3%, which is substantially more than previously estimated and higher than the economy-wide average. These union jobs, along with numerous other career-sustaining jobs in solar, offer another moment to prioritize equity and create opportunities in every community, regardless of zip code, including for fossil fuel workers who are looking to continue their careers in the energy sector.
“We look forward to working with the administration and bipartisan members of Congress to enact policies that generate the kind of economic growth and climate solutions we are all striving to achieve.”
News item from the White House. Updated with SEIA’s statement at 1:14 p.m.
D Murphy says
Solar has improved greatly in the last 10 years, but the cost of installation does not make it a viable option for many.
Companies rely on rebates and cost of future electricity to sell homeowners.
Its not a bargain if in the end the consumer is not getting a good deal. Getting solar to just swap out who you are paying is not working.
The cost to remove panels when your roof needs repaired or replaced is often overlooked.
I want solar so I can save money. The cost of batteries is still too high.
Call me when the price of solar is makes sense , rebates need to be better. Federal and state rebates often make the difference. Federal rebates alone usually leaves the buyers at a break even point.
Why on earth would I put something on my rooftop (that will break down) just to break even.
As energy cost rises , my solar panels continue to diminish in effectiveness.
You want me to consider future cost of energy but fail to account for the effectiveness of solar panels over time.
Solar Panels San Jose says
I think Biden’s plan of attack on climate change is targetting multiple issues all in one! It seems his act of clearing our planet of carbon emissions means adding jobs as well. This is great seeing it improves our economy too.
I really do hope this works out because it can make a big difference to our future.
The hydrogen cycle is:
2H2O + input energy -> 2H2 + O2
Result is stored, then
2H2 +O2 -> 2H2O + output energy
Since you start with pure water and end up with pure water, I’m not understanding Solarman’s water resource concern.
MY concern is from my experience. Pretty much no where on Earth do you have ‘just’ H2O. The water resource concern is taking potable ground water, particularly in arid regions and using some water hydrolysis cycle to create storable hydrogen. To create H2O for hydrolysis and remediating the change of in mixture salts from ground water tables across the land, one can end up with NaOCl or bleach. What do you do with the bleach? To get any water to H2O one needs a water treatment process of ion exchange or osmosis which requires a lot of energy input and for the standard osmosis treatment it takes 5 gallons of water which gives 1 gallon of H2O and 4 gallons of increasing brackish water. What do you do with this?
It is cheaper and easier to construct HVDC transmission interconnects across the U.S. and shuttle electricity that would be used for hydrogen generation directly in homes and charging vehicles and storing in regional and local energy storage systems for day ahead energy use. There are several companies like ClorTec that make ‘purposeful’ NaOCl disinfection generators for domestic and sanitation applications. Severn Trent is another entity. Basically the ‘hardness’ of the water determines the need for ionic pretreatment, polishing filters (usually) carbon activated which needs to be replaced determined by the number and type of dissolved salts in the water stream. The actual formulae is AB + HOH—> AH + BOH where AB would be hard water salts. Bottom line in the real world one has to expend energy in water treatment before doing the hydrolysis process, depending on water supply one can make it worse if one finds heavy metals in the water table that are concentrated into a ‘stew’ toxic heavy metals.
Thank you, that was interesting and informative. Is it possible to take the byproducts from water purification and make them into a commodity? Theoretically, we could get to a place where we have an excess amount of solar energy. If we mandated net metering at a national level, people would be incentivized to make passive income by generating excess solar energy. I did a rough calculation for covering all the roofs and parking areas of LA county and that alone would provide 25% of America’s total energy consumption, including the transportation sector. Until you pointed out the fact that water contains all these other elements, I was a proponent of hydrolysis because batteries means mining and that means toxic waste and habitat loss, plus, the elements are a finite resource. Hydrogen can be recycled naturally, indefinitely, but now I’m not so sure. Also, do you have any information on using heavy weights to store electricity? I can see any place that has a sloping terrain being used to lift a heavy weight during peak solar and then releasing the weights as needed. Buildings could also use weights.
Right you are, there are entities that have found that using “tail water” from geothermal generation plants can be “actively” mined for usable salts that can be used in the manufacture of lithium ion batteries and many materials used in electronics devices. I would say there’s two general rules to go by. Burning anything in “air” will create some kind of emission that will need “correction” sooner or later. For instance the pundit that excess solar PV and wind generation could make hydrogen and be stored for later use, sounds good on the surface. IF one uses fuel cells then “captures the H2O” you might be able to send it back into the domestic water system. IF one uses hydrogen to burn in a gas turbine, then when mixing H2 and air, there will be NOx and photo chemical smog. Which brings up the second problem. When you convert one form of energy, solar PV and or wind generation to another form of energy H2, there is a direct loss of efficiency in (every) step of the process.
Now, look at ‘just’ solar PV and wind generation, they are intermittent, but, with better ‘digitization’ of the grid infrastructure, one can predict with day ahead certainty using the national weather service computational power and continuous changing status of the weather over the U.S. at any given time. Predictability of the solar PV harvest day per region, wind generation per day per region, will allow one to capture the energy, with energy storage will enable over generation in one region to be dispersed to energy storage in another region. bottom line, if you already have the non-fueled energy available, it is best to distribute and store then it is to convert store, then use for generation and dispatch.
Frank Sterle Jr. says
Biden’s plan should also include mass solar energy harvestation. For one thing, it may no longer be prudent to have every structure’s entire electricity supply relying on external power lines that are susceptible to being crippled by unforeseen events, including storms of unprecedented magnitude (many Texans may now be realizing this). There also are coronal mass ejections to consider, however rare, in which power grids are vulnerable to potentially extensive damage and long-lasting power outages.
I, personally, could really appreciate the liberating effect of having my own independently accessed solar-cell power supply (clear skies permitting, of course), especially considering my/our dangerous reliance on electricity. And it will not require huge land-flooding and potentially collapsing water dams, nor constructing towering wind turbine farms.
Each building having its own solar-cell-panel power storage system — at least as an emergency/backup source of power — makes sense (albeit not to the various big energy corporation CEOs whose concern is dollars-and-cents profit margin). But if solar-panel universality would come at the profit-margin expense of the traditional energy production companies, one can expect obstacles, including the political and regulatory sort. If it notably conflicts with corporate big-profit interests, even very progressive motions are greatly resisted, often enough successfully.
We’re thinking along the same lines. Net metering on a national level. Why should the wealthy make all the money, when we could make passive income selling the excess energy we make back to the grid? Of course, that means maintaining the grid, which we all would pitch in to do. Even though we would still be reliant on a grid and vulnerable to the externalities you mentioned, the multi-source inputs would greatly add to the safety of the grid. Then when it’s raining for weeks, other areas where it’s not raining can fill in your demand. We need a new smart grid for this, but worth the investment in my opinion.
“In addition, President Biden’s plan will establish a new Grid Deployment Authority at the Department of Energy that allows for better leverage of existing rights-of-way — along roads and railways — and supports creative financing tools to spur additional high priority, high-voltage transmission lines.”
Why another bureaucracy within a bureaucracy? FERC should be the ombudsman of wholesale infrastructure in the electricity market to create the interconnected national wholesale electricity market, coast to coast, north to south.
“…Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard (EECES)…”, sounds good at first blush, yet without a firm plan, it is as vacuous as many plans submitted in the past. This package has to get past the House and Senate and may be editorialized to meet Legislative ‘programs’ go to specific States of the Union. Spot bills and riders could kill this whole package for the wants of a few.
“In addition, in line with the bipartisan SCALE Act, his plan will support large-scale sequestration efforts that leverage the best science and prioritize community engagement.”
During the ‘W’ Bush administration, money was thrown at the Kemper (clean coal) plant in Mississippi. Among ‘other’ things CO2 sequestration was one of the many technologies engineered into this plant. There were many false starts, pipeline breaks, (nitrogen) leaks and the plant never worked properly. Finally all of that “clean coal” technology was scrapped and a natural gas fired boiler replaced the old plumbing to get the plant generating needed energy for the area. Apparently the “best science” isn’t that great and doesn’t deserve throwing billions of dollars, where it could be used to develop a proper grid interconnection plan and execute transmission connections necessary to develop more wind and solar PV where it is practical and applicable. GWh of agnostic energy storage needs to be developed into a “package” and distributed as energy nodes across the U.S..
There are those that believe nano science with catalyists could make hydrogen generation profitable. The problem here this narrative collides with the Global warming narrative. Using potable water in arid regions to make hydrogen will remove potable water from the consumers in the “hunt” for more hydrogen. Creating more arid hydrogen deserts is not a competent use of taxpayer money.
Semper Solaris says
We are seeing this administration do some interesting moves. I agree with most of what you stated as it still needs to get past the House and Senate, but this is showing that Biden’s team are making some good strides in this area of need.
Larry Wilson says
Solution to hydrogen “dilemna”: make hydrogen where sufficient water is available. The “problem” you created is easily solved.
Solution to problems at CO2 sequestration plant: admit that that coal is fundamentally dirty and abandon coal as a power source. See? It really isn’t hard to solve the fake problems you create.
Larry, really, REALLY? “It really isn’t hard to solve the fake problems you create.”
(I) created these problems? So, you ‘just’ admit coal is dirty and abandon ‘it’. Natural gas still has plenty of CO2 that needs entrainment, abandon that too, right?
Larry do you know what it takes to liberate hydrogen from water? Do you know the proper sequence? I’m seriously doubtful, brackish water creates bleach, is that what you want to dump back into the hydrologic cycle, bleach? Your condescending over simplification would be laughable if it wasn’t so dire. Try again, with some thought behind your preponderances, thanks.