The Department of Energy (DOE) had a standout 2021. We pioneered game-changing scientific research, continued to advance our important nuclear security and cleanup missions, and made huge strides to tackle the climate crisis. As America’s “Solutions Department,” DOE is moving at lightning speed to achieve President Biden’s ambitious goals of cutting our carbon emissions in half by 2030, reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035 and getting to net zero by 2050.
Here are our top clean energy accomplishments of 2021:
- Funding Climate Solutions: Since President Biden took office, DOE has invested over $2.5 billion in research, development, demonstration, and deployment of clean technologies across the power, buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors. We announced a goal to cut solar energy costs in half by 2030, and announced a joint target with the Interior Department to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. We also reached a major milestone of providing one million home energy upgrades to save families money on their energy bills.
- Accelerating Clean Energy Breakthroughs: DOE launched the Energy Earthshots Initiative to dramatically cut costs for lynchpin clean energy technologies over the next decade to accelerate our progress to 100% clean power and net zero emissions. We announced our first three Energy Earthshots on clean hydrogen, long-duration storage and carbon removal.
- Implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: DOE is receiving $62 billion total from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the largest infusion of funding since the Department’s founding. We created the Office of Energy and Transportation, a joint office between DOE and the Department of Transportation that will oversee the implementation of the BIL’s national EV charging network. We also launched the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, which will oversee more than $21 billion in new funding for demonstration projects for emerging technologies like clean hydrogen, advanced nuclear, geothermal and more.
- Financing Clean Energy Deployment: Our Loan Programs Office (LPO) is back in business, with $40 billion in loan authority to finance large-scale clean energy deployment projects. This year, LPO has made it easier than ever for companies to apply for loan guarantees, increasing the application rate by at least 23-fold, and announced their first conditional commitment for a loan under the Biden-Harris administration.
- Building a Clean Energy Workforce: DOE launched a new Office of Energy Jobs to deepen our engagement with labor leaders and ensure that the clean energy industry creates good-paying, union jobs and employs a workforce that looks like America. We released the U.S. Energy and Employment Report and announced a new policy requiring innovations developed with DOE dollars be substantially manufactured in the U.S. We are also working to bolster the supply chain for clean energy under President Biden’s executive order through our research on batteries, critical minerals, EV manufacturing and interagency work.
- Creating an Inclusive Clean Energy Economy: DOE launched a new Office of Energy Justice to ensure that disadvantaged communities are first in line for the benefits of DOE’s clean energy investments. We announced several awards and programs to invest in underrepresented communities, including $12 million to tribal nations for clean energy and energy efficiency projects, the Communities LEAP initiative to support locally-driven clean energy plans, and the Inclusive Innovation Prize to invest in energy entrepreneurs of color. We also created an Energy Justice Dashboard (BETA) to allow the agency to see where every single DOE dollar is being spent in communities across the country. DOE is consulting with tribal nations for the first time through our Office of Indian Energy, and is engaging with a wide variety of environmental justice stakeholders to make sure our programs are serving the communities that need it most.
- Empowering Energy Communities: DOE helped launch the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities, which identified 25 priority communities for new investment and job creation, identified nearly $38 billion in existing federal resources for these communities to access, and released two reports. This year, DOE invested in energy projects that can provide skills-matched job opportunities for fossil fuel workers, including geothermal, advanced nuclear, and carbon capture.
- Supercharging Solar Power: We launched the “Summer of Solar” campaign to celebrate the Americans of different backgrounds who are taking advantage of the sun’s energy and the communities that are making it easier to go solar. As part of the campaign, we announced SolarAPP+, a tool to streamline solar permitting for local governments, and we surpassed our goal of signing up 125 communities for SolarAPP+ by the end of September. We also set a target to power 5 million homes with community solar by 2025.