Request for Information Seeks Input on Best Uses for Defense Production Act to Bolster National Security, Boost American Manufacturing, and Lower Energy Costs
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a Request for Information (RFI) to determine how DOE could best leverage the Defense Production Act (DPA) authority invoked by President Biden to accelerate domestic production of key technologies, strengthen U.S. power grid reliability, and deploy clean energy.
Following the President’s actions in June, DOE and the White House have engaged with stakeholders on maximizing the impact of DPA tools, and this RFI will gather additional input from the public. The President’s commitment to growing clean energy that’s made in America has already spurred billions in investments from private companies in solar, offshore wind, EV plants, batteries, and more, with additional investments on the way thanks to the President’s Inflation Reduction Act.
The national defense imperative to strengthen the U.S. clean energy manufacturing base has become more urgent. Russia’s war on Ukraine and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global supply chains and underscored the dangers of our overreliance on foreign sources for grid components and fossil fuels from adversarial nations. In the electricity sector, supply chain challenges such as wait times for upwards of two years for grid transformers have coincided with an increase in climate-fueled disasters, such as hurricanes and wildfires, that threaten grid reliability. Building the domestic energy industrial base necessary to maintain and strengthen grid reliability and resilience is critical to the U.S. economy and our national defense.
“The Defense Production Act provides us with a vital tool to make targeted investments in key technology areas that are essential to ensuring power grid reliability and achieving our clean energy future,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE is eager to continue hearing ideas from industry, labor, environmental, energy justice, and state, local and Tribal stakeholders about how we can best use this powerful new authority to support the clean energy workforce and technologies needed to combat climate change.”
To understand further how to increase the manufacturing output and the rate of deployment of key clean energy technologies, DOE is interested in gathering public input on how to use the DPA to address in parallel:
- Technology supply chain challenges and opportunities
- Domestic manufacturing, including small and medium-sized scale
- American workforce investment
- Energy equity, community access, and economic benefit
Using DPA authority, DOE could pursue a number of approaches to strengthen U.S. supply chains including purchases, purchase commitments, and financial assistance. For instance, DOE could provide direct financial support to expand domestic manufacturing capacity for transformers or key material inputs, including establishing domestic supply chains to manufacture next-generation transformers, or could commit to purchase a quantity of transformers to provide manufacturers with demand certainty.
The President announced in June new authority for DOE in regards to the Defense Production Act pertaining to five energy technologies. The technologies covered by this DPA RFI include transformers and electric grid components; solar photovoltaics; insulation materials; and electrolyzers, platinum group metals, and fuel cells for clean hydrogen. Consistent with the intent of Congress, the DOE plans to use $250 million of funds appropriated by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to support DPA investment in the fifth technology part of the President’s announcement—heat pump manufacturing and deployment. Accordingly, DOE will seek public input on the use of DPA funds for heat pumps in a separate forthcoming comment opportunity.
Responses to the RFI must be submitted by 5 p.m. (EST) on November 30, 2022.