House Moves Ahead on Clean Energy Package After Passing a Stopgap Measure to Fund the Government Through Dec. 11

Sep 28, 2020

by ASME.org

Last week, the House of Representatives prepared for votes on a broad energy package (H.R. 4447) after passing a stopgap Concurrent Resolution (CR) to fund the government through December 11, at which point Congress will be faced with another funding deadline. While it is still unclear whether the Senate will advance its own version of a bipartisan energy package, the House bill includes funding for a wide variety of renewable energy, grid modernization, and other popular energy programs.
 
H.R. 4447 includes a number of lapsed energy program authorizations, including for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), as well as expanded energy research for a wide variety of clean energy applications, as well as support for several projects related to carbon use and storage.
 
Specific highlights of interest to the ASME community include:
 
  • Reauthorization of ARPA-E through 2025: the bill would authorize $497 million in fiscal 2021, which would increase to $875 million by fiscal 2025.
  • Energy Storage and Microgrid Assistance Program: establishes a new Department of Energy (DOE) grant program for identifying, evaluating, designing, and demonstrating energy storage and microgrid projects that utilize energy from renewable energy sources ($5 million per year 2021-2025).
  • Reauthorization of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant: the grant will be reauthorized at $3.5 billion a year from fiscal 2021 through 2025, including an expansion to allow state, local, and tribal governments to use grants for technology expanding access to alternative fuels.
  • Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Program: the measure would authorize $15 million for the Energy Department to establish a smart energy and water efficiency program. It would award a total of three to five grants to municipalities, water districts, and other entities to use advanced technologies to improve the energy or water efficiency of water, wastewater, or water reuse systems.
  • Solar and Wind R&D: the bill would authorize $294 million in fiscal 2021, increasing annually to $357.4 million in fiscal 2025, for a DOE program to promote solar energy research, demonstration, and commercialization.
  • Hydropower and Marine Energy: the bill would authorize a combined $814.9 million for fiscal 2021 through 2025 for DOE research and development related to waterpower technologies. Of that total, $601.7 million would be dedicated to marine energy, and $213.3 million would be for hydropower.
  • Nuclear Energy: the bill includes a number of nuclear research program authorizations, including for the Advanced Nuclear Reactor Demonstration program, the versatile neutron source program, next-gen light water reactor and advanced fuels research, and more.
  • Grid Modernization: the bill would authorize Energy Department programs related to modernizing and securing the electrical grid, including $700 million per year through fiscal 2025 to support deploying monitoring and control technologies in the electricity transmission system and related planning and operation projects that improve grid resiliency, performance, or efficiency.
  • Smart Manufacturing: the bill would authorize $10 million annually from fiscal 2021 through 2025 for the Energy Department to award competitive grants to states to establish model programs that support smart manufacturing technologies. States could receive a maximum of $3 million and would have to contribute at least 30% in matching funds.
  • Carbon Capture: the bill would authorize $1.5 billion annually from fiscal 2021 through 2025 for the Energy Department to establish a program to test carbon capture technologies for commercial use. The measure also would authorize $300 million in fiscal 2021, increasing to $364.7 million by fiscal 2025, for the Energy Department to create a program to advance technologies that reduce carbon emissions from coal and natural gas-fired power and industrial plants.
  • Workforce Development: the measure would authorize $100 million annually from fiscal 2021 through 2025 for the Energy Department’s Office of Economic Impact, Diversity, and Employment. The office would have to establish a program to improve training for underrepresented groups in energy-related industries. 
ASME will continue to report on any developments on this legislation as it moves through Congress.
 

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