Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm
American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) Policy Forum
March 10, 2021
Thank you, Greg, and hello everyone! It’s an honor to be here.
We’ve got a lot of important work to do together—and I’m impatient person, so let me cut to the chase.
This is our moment. We finally have all the players and pieces in place to wage a full-out war on the climate crisis, and kickstart the clean energy revolution. And we have less than a thousand guaranteed days to do so much.
And if we do it right, those benefits will flow to the American people, especially in communities that so far have been left behind by environmental injustices.
President Biden understands this urgency better than anyone. You’ve heard his goals: 100% clean electricity by 2035, and a net-zero economy by 2050.
It’s the bold plan we need. It’s also a heckuva economic opportunity. Because reports estimate that the products that reduce carbon emissions will create a $23 trillion global market over the next decade.
But where are those investments going to be? In China? In our economic competitors? You better believe they’re strategizing now to corner this market.
So are we going to get in the battle? Or are we going to bring a knife to a gun fight?
This group here has enlisted in this war. So now it’s time to deploy, deploy, deploy.
DOE is ready to invest billions in renewable energy, both in R&D and deployment, whether it’s for wind, solar, hydropower, batteries, and so much more.
And that will need to come with huge increases and upgrades to our transmission infrastructure. We need to be able to move all this new clean power around, and to the places that need it the most. I’m so excited for these projects—like ACORE’s Macro Grid Initiative, which will help us connect centers of high renewables with centers of high demand.
What is DOE’s role? We have so many powerful tools in our toolkit to help us deploy.
First, we have the resources to bring your clean energy solutions to life.
In the last month alone, we’ve put up more than $300 million in funding opportunities:
Some of it will go to startups that just need a little seed money: like our Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer programs, which fund small businesses, including diverse entrepreneurs, working on clean energy R&D projects.
Some of it’s building a pipeline for the next generation of the clean energy workforce: like the Collegiate Wind Competition, which inspires college students to pursue careers in the wind industry.
Some of it’s going to one-of-a-kind ventures: like our FORGE initiative, which funds cutting-edge geothermal projects with the potential to power millions of American homes.
And this is just the beginning.
Second, we have more than $40 billion in loan authority.
Much of that went unused over the last four years. But as you’ve no doubt heard, our Loan Programs Office is back in business, with an amazing field general leading the way: Jigar Shah.
Jigar’s going to help us put together an indomitable portfolio of investments for American taxpayers—in renewables, electric vehicles, transmission infrastructure, offshore wind, and so much more.
And third, we have the power of our 17 National Labs.
These institutions are run by some of the world’s most brilliant scientists, who are expanding their R&D in the discoveries that will make our deployment mission possible.
Here’s a great example: today, I’m thrilled to announce that our Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is kicking off the design and construction phase of the Grid Storage Launchpad.
This is a $75 million dollar facility where we’ll figure out how to speed up the innovation and deployment of grid-scale energy storage technologies—so that we can get all this new renewable power on the system, and make our national power grid more reliable, resilient, and secure.
Construction is on track to begin late this year, and we expect to open its doors by 2025. Get excited!
These are all the tools we are already working with.
And between you and me, we’re just getting started. I’m looking for every opportunity for our Department to do even more to deploy, deploy, deploy.
That’s what we have on the brain as we look towards next year’s budget, and especially as we work closely with the White House on its upcoming jobs and infrastructure package—which we hope is going to have a huge emphasis on opportunities in the renewable energy sector.
This bill could mean tens of billions that will put deployment on the fast track, while creating millions of good-paying jobs…union jobs, with good pay and good benefits for all.
DOE’s brand-new Office of Energy Jobs is going to help us seize these opportunities in all corners of the country—corners that have long felt unseen.
This is our opportunity to help Build the energy economy Back Better.
President Biden has made a promise that 40% of benefits of certain federal investments, particularly in clean energy, will flow to disadvantaged and forgotten communities.
I’m going to work with my new Advisor for Equity so that we can lead the way. We’re going to target these communities for new renewable energy investments, jobs, and businesses…
And we’re going to develop policies that ensure the benefits of this emerging economy reach those on the frontlines of climate change.
So again, this is our moment.
A single moment in the grand arc of history, but our moment nonetheless.
This is our time to beat the drums, rally the troops—pick your metaphor—and get ‘er done.
A thousand days is so little time. No more waiting for our moment. It has arrived.
So in the spirit of this moment of not waiting, I want to invoke the spirit of Dr. Seuss, who's been in the news lately...
This is no time to be in the waiting place—some of you will recognize these stanzas, to underscore the urgency of the moment:
The waiting place is…
A place for people who are ...
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
Or a plane to go or the mail to come,
Or waiting around for a Yes or No,
Or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite,
Or waiting around for a Friday night,
Waiting for a call on the phone,
Or waiting perhaps for Greg Whetstone,
Everyone is just waiting.
No! That’s not for you!
You’ll escape the waiting place and run,
Right here to the place you can get something done.
Add energy from the wind and the sun,
And transmission where electrons can run,
This is the time for action galore!
Our waiting is over, my friends in ACORE!