By: Dr. Kathleen Hogan, Acting Under Secretary for Infrastructure
As leaders gather in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt for COP 27, I can’t help but reflect on the progress the U.S. has already made to deliver on the Paris Agreement because of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to the world’s climate goals.
Last year, this exact week, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law setting the stage for us to reinvest in American manufacturing, improve energy affordability, deepen commitments to technology innovation, and make massive improvements to our energy systems. Now with the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest investment in climate change ever made by the U.S., and the CHIPS and Science Act, the U.S. is investing about half a trillion dollars in clean energy and climate over the course of the next decade – our decade of action. Our decade to supercharge the private sector in our clean energy transition.
Taken together, these new laws have finally, put the U.S.’s climate goals in reach.
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) analyses now predict that we’re on track to slash carbon pollution by 40% by 2030—and that we can get to 50% with more action from the federal government, local and state governments, and the private sector. Even more importantly, these laws have the power to make the clean energy transition reach people in every community across the country.
Implementation Progress To-Date
We’re already starting to see our future take shape as we’ve begun implementing these game changing laws. We’ve approved plans from all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico to build out an electric vehicle charging network and deploy $7.5 billion in federal funding. We’ve also awarded nearly $3 billion in battery manufacturing projects, leveraging a total of more than $9 billion that will create more than 8,000 jobs. We’re accepting applications for regional clean hydrogen demonstration hubs, grid security and resiliency improvements, and major advances in long duration storage that mean many more projects, jobs, and benefits in communities across the country.
While DOE is working to implement these laws, we are hyper-focused on training up our clean energy workforce, including our very own Clean Energy Corps, to hire the next generation of leaders to take on the climate challenge. We are ensuring the opportunities that we create come with good-paying, high-quality jobs with access to a union. Of these jobs, more than 75% of them don’t require a college or professional degree, opening up opportunities to even more Americans. There will be jobs for electricians, engineers, car salespeople, home contractors, retailers, and more.
DOE is also requiring an equitable implementation of the investments we are making to build this clean energy economy. For the very first time, our grant recipients under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law must create Community Benefits Plans to detail how their projects will impact and benefit historically disadvantaged communities. These plans are part of the evaluation and contract process with our grantees, and they include specific strategies for: investment in America’s workforce; engagement with communities and labor; advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and implementation of the President’s Justice40 initiative to help ensure that 40% of the benefits of clean energy investments go to underserved and overburdened communities.
That’s a small sample of our progress and how we are working with the private sector and empowering Americans communities and workers with these investments —and we’re just getting started.
The United States has put its chips on the table. We’re going all in on clean energy investment. So are countries around the world. In September, we announced that 16 countries, including the United States, had committed $94 billion for clean energy demonstration.
According to the International Energy Agency, we need to do even more. We need trillions invested in clean energy every year by 2030 for an effective energy transition. The lion’s share of that investment needs to come from the private sector. The clean energy transition must be private sector-led, government-enabled.
The private sector is moving. In the U.S., we’ve seen at least $30 billion in clean energy manufacturing investments from the private sector in just the last few months. The Biden-Harris administration, has opened more opportunities for the private sector to get involved. We built a coalition, the First Movers Coalition, which the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and State launched at COP26 last year with the World Economic Forum. The more than 50 companies in the coalition provide a crucial demand signal for clean energy markets. DOE’s Loan Programs Office is open for business and just had $350 billion in added loan authority for clean energy projects. And, IRA expands existing tax credits for solar, wind, and energy storage and adds new ones for more clean energy technologies, like clean hydrogen, carbon capture, geothermal, and nuclear.
We need every company in America to get on board—leveraging this historic opportunity -- investing early in new technologies, launching projects to demonstrate viability, and then moving to scale. And our hope is that as countries see U.S. government and private industry taking this big step forward and reaping the many environmental and financial rewards—economic growth, job creation, lower energy bills—it’ll assure them and inspire them to step up and invest big in clean energy, too.
Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, our decade of climate action is well underway. The U.S. is poised to meet our goals of a decarbonized power grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. And, together, we are set to find the solutions to climate change that will transform how people live and help to change our world and society for the better.