WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday and Friday, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm traveled to West Virginia to tout the American Jobs Plan, the Biden Administration’s efforts to empower and uplift coal and power plant communities, and the Department of Energy (DOE)’s clean energy investments in West Virginia.
Joined by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Secretary Granholm announced DOE funding awards to West Virginia University to research and develop low-carbon power plant technology ($5 million) and a West Virginia-based clean energy accelerator ($1 million), as well as a collaboration to build an offshore wind installation vessel with steel from West Virginia.
In the News
Secretary Granholm: “The Biden Administration has put together a whole-of-government effort to help coal and power plant communities. … One of the reasons I’m here with Joe Manchin is to demonstrate this Administration’s seriousness about not leaving people behind and taking advantage of the huge global market for clean energy products…which West Virginia could take advantage of.”
During her two-day visit to West Virginia, Granholm, a former Michigan governor, also is scheduled to tour an underground coal mine and a rare earth elements lab. The stop comes two days after she was in Houston to tout Biden’s American Jobs Plan.
“The reason why I’m here, the reason why I went to Houston, which are fossil fuel communities, is to say it’s great that you have gotten us here, and thank you for that,” Granholm said. “But now, take us to the next wave, the next leg, which is this clean energy future, and be a part of that.”
Manchin, the former two-term governor of West Virginia, and Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, have been friends for a long time.
Friday, Manchin and Granholm announced Department of Energy grant funding for research and innovation projects. The WVU Research Corp. will receive $5 million for NETL. Morgantown-based United States Research Impact Alliance, a business incubator for businesses developing solutions for energy and manufacturing companies, will receive $1 million in funding.
Granholm called these projects the “tip of the iceberg,” with more funding coming. The Department of Energy’s Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization identified $38 billion in existing funding to help areas with coal and natural gas production transition to clean energy technologies. The new agency is headed by Brian Anderson, the director of NETL and former director of WVU’s Energy Institute.
Granholm also said additional funding would be available through Biden’s American Jobs Plan, a $1.7 trillion package aimed at infrastructure investment, including funding for clean energy research and development. Projects would include funding for carbon capture and sequestration demonstration projects.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm traveled to West Virginia Thursday and helped announced the new collaboration between Steel of West Virginia, Dominion Energy and Orsted Offshore North America.
Leaders say Orsted Offshore North America plans to build large wind turbines and install them along the Atlantic Coast but needs a ship to transport supplies. Secretary Granholm said Thursday during a news conference that Dominion Energy plans to build that ship and use steel from West Virginia.
“This is sort of a window into the opportunity for West Virginia to be a leader in the energy of the future in addition to having led the energy that got us here and still powers us,” Granholm said. “The important message is that President Biden wants to make sure that no one is left behind and that these communities see an opportunity for themselves in this clean energy future. That this clean energy sector creates all kinds of jobs for all kinds of people.”
Granholm, the former Michigan governor, has stressed creating economic opportunities in communities affected by shifting energy markets.
“In America, we stand up for manufacturing in this country, but particularly in communities that have been struggling,” she said. “The possibility in this state and so many workers who could help to lead the next generation — energy 2.0 — for West Virginia and the nation.”
Granholm said at the press conference that this energy announcement is a window into an opportunity for West Virginia to be a leader in the energy of the future. The energy secretary said it was exciting to be in West Virginia and to partner on the future of “what can be.”
“We’re all about jobs,” Granholm said. “As the president said, when he hears the world ‘climate,’ he translates that to mean ‘jobs.’”
On Social Media
@SecGranholm: I’ve spent the last two days touring West Virginia with my friend, @Sen_JoeManchin , and I’ve been bowled over by the potential this state is teeming with. There’s no question, West Virginians understand the epic challenge ahead. But they can see the opportunity, too.
@Sen_JoeManchin: .@ENERGY @SecGranholm & I are at @NETL_DOE in Morgantown to hear from DOE Interagency Working Group members on revitalizing communities impacted by coal mine & power plant closures. As we reinvest in our nation's energy infrastructure, we can't leave rural economies behind.
@SecGranholm: Had a good discussion with @Sen_JoeManchin and #WestVirginia state legislators about challenges facing the communities of this state, and the opportunities the Biden-Harris administration can help them seize. We're here for a simple reason: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! #AmericanJobsPlan
@ENERGY: We’re thrilled that Dominion Energy will be sourcing steel from right here in West Virginia to build America’s first offshore wind turbine installation vessel, helping us reach our goal of 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.