U.S. Infrastructure Bill includes $ 62 billion for DOE
US President Joe Biden has signed the bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act. The $ 1,200 billion bill, which is an important part of the President’s Build Back Better program, covers all aspects of the economy, including provisions for some investment in advanced nuclear reactor demonstration projects and investment in technology research centers of the next Generation like CO2 capture and clean hydrogen.
Most of the funding, including $ 550 billion in new funds, will be used to modernize transportation, water and electricity infrastructures and expand broadband Internet access. The bill also provides some funding for research and development, mainly to promote clean energy technologies, including electric vehicles and carbon capture. This includes more than $ 62 billion for the US Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure a “fairer future of clean energy,” including preventing early phasing out of existing nuclear power plants and investing in building new advanced nuclear reactors.
The bill was passed by the Senate in August and the House of Representatives in early November. It is providing 6 billion US dollars to prevent the premature shutdown of existing nuclear power plants. The agreement also includes $ 21.5 billion in funding to showcase clean energy projects and research centers focused on the next generation technologies needed to meet the US goal of zero emissions by 2050 . Most of that is for clean hydrogen technologies ($ 8 billion), carbon capture and industrial emissions reductions (more than $ 10 billion), and $ 2.5 billion is for new nuclear power projects under the DOE Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ADRP).
ARDP was launched by the DOE in 2020 to accelerate the demonstration of advanced reactors through a cost-sharing partnership with U.S. industry. In October 2020, two companies – Terrapower and X-energy – were selected by the DOE to showcase their advanced reactors by the end of this decade. X-energy signed a collaboration agreement with ARDP and DOE earlier this year on a project that will enable the company to build an industrial-scale nuclear power plant using its advanced high-temperature gas reactor Xe-100 in Washington state through a partnership with Energy Northwest . X-energy said the signing of the Infrastructure Bill is a “strong sign” of the government’s commitment to the policy direction and financial investment required to get small reactors up and running as quickly as possible.
“The bill represents a historic investment to help build infrastructure for electric vehicles and power grids, ensure greater reliability and resilience, and stimulate critical research and development for hydrogen, nuclear and other clean energy sources,” said Arshad Mansur, CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute. “The electrical sector will play a critical role in meeting the US government’s climate goals as many sectors of the economy – including transportation, buildings, and – through electrification and other low-carbon energy strategies will achieve significant carbon savings.”
DOE said the bipartisan infrastructure deal “will help the DOE play an even more effective role in the boldest climate agenda in our nation’s history, setting the course for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.” . DOE stands ready to execute the deal to:
- Invest in America’s workforce, revitalize domestic supply chains and maintain America’s leading position in manufacturing;
- Expand access to energy efficiency and clean energy for families, communities and businesses;
- Bring the power grid into the 21st century;
- Build tomorrow’s technologies through clean energy demonstrations.
The DOE factsheet on the infrastructure deal states: “For too long we have been giving up our global competitors in manufacturing. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement’s investments in clean energy technology supply chains will enable America to develop the energy technologies of the future right here at home and increase our competitiveness in a global clean energy market that is projected to reach $ 23 trillion by the end of the decade will. These investments will create jobs along the supply chain – especially jobs in manufacturing and skill-based opportunities for fossil fuel workers. “
The infrastructure agreement will:
- Invest more than $ 7 billion in battery supply chain;
- To provide an additional $ 1.5 billion to produce clean hydrogen and promote RD&D in recycling;
- Creation of a new $ 750 million grant program to support advanced energy technology manufacturing projects in coal communities.
- Expand the powers of the DOE’s Loan Program Office (LPO) to invest in projects that increase the domestic supply of critical minerals and expand LPO programs that target the manufacture of carbon-free technologies for medium and heavy-duty vehicles, trains, Aircraft and Navy invest in transportation;
- Require all construction workers on projects funded by the agreement to pay applicable wages;
- Invest hundreds of millions in human resource development to provide grid, clean building, and industrial workers with access to cutting-edge technology training;
- Establish an inter-agency Energy Employment Council to work with stakeholders and oversee the development and publication of data on energy jobs and workforce;
- Invest $ 3.5 billion in the Weatherization Assistance Program to improve energy efficiency, improve health and safety, and reduce energy bills for low-income households;
- Invest $ 500 million to provide cleaner schools by improving energy efficiency and renewable energy in public school facilities, along with EPA’s $ 5 billion effort to replace thousands of polluting diesel school buses with electric buses; Indoor air quality;
- Invest $ 550 million in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG) and $ 500 million in the state energy program to provide grants to develop and implement clean energy programs and projects that create jobs;
- Provided $ 11 billion in grants to improve electrical infrastructure resilience to disruptive events such as extreme weather and cyberattacks;
- Establish a $ 2.5 billion transfer facilitation program to help expand nationally important transmission lines, increase resilience, and improve access to cheaper clean energy sources;
- Supported a $ 3 billion expansion of the Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program, which will focus on investments that improve grid flexibility;
- Allocate $ 6 billion to the Civilian Nuclear Credit Program to help prevent the premature shutdown of existing carbon-free nuclear power plants, helping save thousands of high-paying union jobs across the country. The program is available for facilities that would otherwise be shut down and that are certified as safe to continue operating, prioritizing facilities that use domestically produced fuel;
- Invest more than $ 700 million in existing hydropower plants to improve efficiency, maintain dam safety and reduce environmental impact;
- To provide $ 21.5 billion in funding for clean energy demonstrations and research centers focused on the next generation technologies needed to meet our net zero goal by 2050, including: $ 8 billion for clean hydrogen; more than $ 10 billion in carbon capture, direct air capture and industrial emissions reductions, providing tailored opportunities for fossil fuel workers; $ 2.5 billion for advanced nuclear power that would provide 24/7 clean electricity and create well-paying jobs; $ 1 billion for demonstration projects in rural areas; and US $ 500 million for demonstration projects in economically hard hit communities.