Fall 2021 Director’s Note

Record investments in public and clean transportation, the electric grid, and carbon-free technologies will be made as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law by President Biden on November 15th, 2021.The law sets in motion decisive programs and funding to transform the more than 100-year-old fossil fuel-based power infrastructure to a decarbonized one that delivers clean and reliable energy across the country. 

The $1.2 trillion bill includes $65 billion for clean energy and rebuilding the electric grid. Public transit will receive $89.9 billion in new and reauthorized funds over the next 5 years, of which $12 billion is allocated for intercity rail including high-speed rail. Electric vehicle charging infrastructure and zero and low-emission buses ($5 billion to clean school buses -at least half zero-emissions) and ferries each will receive $7.5 billion.

There is $21.5 billion in funding for clean energy demonstration projects through the new DOE Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations that will enable new technologies and products to advance to large scale demonstration needed for deployment to market. This includes allocations for the electric grid and storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear, and carbon capture.

Related to energy efficiency and buildings, provision include $500 million in grants for green school facilities upgrades, $225 million for implementing model building energy codes for efficiency and resilience, and $250 million in energy efficiency upgrades to federal buildings. Also included is $3.5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program and $550 million for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG).

Research and development and demonstrations on grid reliability are funded with a $6 billion cost-share program.  Utilities, states, and tribes will be able to access $5 billion in grants to support the grid in severe weather events.

Considerations in implementing the law are to include buying American, climate resilience, avoiding waste, union jobs, and addressing environmental justice as directed by an accompanying presidential Executive Order.

Significant additional funding to transition the US to a clean energy economy is expected with the Build Back Better Budget Bill passed by the House and now in the Senate.

In the mean time, many opportunities for funding clean energy projects are available now from state and federal programs. I hope you will check out the Funding section in this Fall Energy On Wisconsin Newsletter.

Sherrie Gruder