What’s in the new infrastructure bill when it comes to energy? Lots of pieces to that puzzle.
Here’s a look at the big energy pieces through a 129-page summary. (Yes, a 129-page summary.) It is from an elected official versus a news outlet:
- Power and Grid: $65B – Includes … funds for grid reliability and resiliency and support for a Grid Deployment Authority; critical minerals and supply chains for clean energy technology; key technologies like carbon capture, hydrogen, direct air capture, and energy efficiency; and energy demonstration projects from the bipartisan Energy Act of 2020.
- Resiliency: $47.2B – Funding for cybersecurity to address critical infrastructure needs, waste management, flood and wildfire mitigation, drought, and coastal resiliency, ecosystem restoration, heat stress, and weatherization.
- Clean School Buses & Ferries: $7.5B – Includes $5 billion for the replacement of existing school buses with zero-emission and clean school buses, with a priority on low income, rural and Tribal schools. Provides $2.5 billion for the replacement of existing ferries with low carbon ferries and to assist states with operational costs for essential rural ferries.
- Electric Vehicle Charging: $7.5B – Funds for alternative fuel corridors and to build out a national network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to facilitate long-distance travel and to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop. The federal funding will have a particular focus on rural disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach communities.
Much of these items are about strengthening what exists. Importantly, energy storage is a key to unlock our energy future. The bill devotes funds to develop storage: “It would put $6 billion toward battery storage, including $3 billion in grants for battery mineral processing and another $3 billion for grants to bring various parts of the battery supply chain to the United States, like manufacturing and recycling.” (Source)
News coverage and commentaries from elected officials glisten with positive spin about this bill. On one hand it is deserved. On the other, vastly premature. I have said before that passing legislation is not reaching a goal except for elected officials. The legislation has not changed one kilowatt of power at this point.
What will drive results? The public needs to stay on their elected representatives to ensure real work is happening after the headlines fade. The hard work begins.