The Biden-Harris Administration yesterday released a complicated, multi-aspect plan to advance offshore wind electricity generation, use public lands for clean energy, and build the bipartisan infrastructure law’s transmission lines needed to fix the neglected power grid. It’s an intelligent, hopeful, long-term plan for repairing our country in a way that points toward a cleaner electrified future.
In a release the White House said: “The Administration continues to use every tool available to deploy clean energy at a record pace. But to fully seize the opportunities of a clean energy economy, President Biden is pressing forward on passing the Build Back Better Act. The historic legislation will amount to the nation’s largest investment in combatting climate change, lowering energy costs for working families, and building a clean energy future.
“It will support domestic manufacturing of wind turbines, solar panels, and other clean technologies; invest in workforce development programs to launch careers in these growing industries; and provide a historic set of clean energy tax credits that are more powerful and accessible. With these investments, the U.S. will lead the world on innovative climate solutions and save the average American family hundreds of dollars each year in energy costs.” Build Back Better will, no doubt, continue to be opposed by the Republican party comprised of nope-dopes heavily financed by fossil-fuel and related businesses.
BBB passage notwithstanding, seven federal agencies yesterday announced clean energy projects and plans that “demonstrate the Administration’s unwavering commitment to creating cleaner and cheaper energy, and the actions showcase President Biden’s unprecedented coordination activating the entire government to fight climate change, produce good-paying, union jobs, and accelerate America’s clean energy economy,” the White House said – not without self-interest – in a release.
Clean Energy Projects
- The Department of the Interior is holding a record-breaking offshore wind lease sale, with the most lease areas ever offered, in the New York Bight (sic) established off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. The upcoming lease sale is projected to generate up to 7 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy, power two million homes, and “create thousands of jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations, maintenance, and service industries in nearby communities. The sale includes innovative lease provisions that will lead to offshore wind projects being built with union labor and Made in America materials. Working together, New York, New Jersey and the federal government will build on these new lease stipulations through a new federal-state partnership that will ensure local residents—including under-served communities—benefit from new developments.”
- Several agencies are working together to build-up of offshore wind, a brand-new U.S. clean energy industry “that can create nearly 80,000 good-paying jobs by 2030.” The Administration also said, “the Department of Transportation recently announced port investments to help develop areas that will be used to build and stage offshore wind turbine components, and efforts are underway across the Departments of Commerce, the Interior, and Energy to promote biodiversity and cooperative ocean use and support innovation across the supply chain.”
- The Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency are forming a new alliance to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reviews of clean energy projects on public lands, in order to expand solar, onshore wind, and geothermal energy, building on the Department of the Interior’s approvals over the past year of 18 onshore projects that will deliver 4.175 GW of clean energy.”
- The Department of Energy is launching a new Building a Better Grid initiative to accelerate the deployment of new transmission lines. This is possible because of the semi–partisan Infrastructure Law and it will connect more Americans to cleaner, cheaper energy. This transmission build-out will make our grid more dependable and resilient in the face of intensifying extreme weather and is of course critical to achieving the President’s goal of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.
- To “ensure that these benefits reach all Americans,” the Department of Agriculture is creating a new program to support clean energy in underserved rural communities. The Department of Commerce is awarding American Rescue Plan funds to support regional coalitions to “grow new industry clusters focused on clean energy deployment and job training.” A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that the Administration’s SolarAPP+ tool* is reducing permitting times for residential installations to less than one day, helping local governments speed up use of rooftop solar panels.
*The new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that in a pilot conducted in Arizona and California, the SolarAPP+ tool reduced the average permit review time to less than one day. More than 125 localities have already signed up to consider using SolarAPP+. The Department of Energy is continuing to recruit additional communities across the country.