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Federal infrastructure bill includes billions for transmission and clean energy

Jordan Smith
By Jordan Smith September 7th, 2021
For business

Electric vehicles

The Senate wants to set aside $7.5 billion to support EV infrastructure. This support comes as welcome news to states that have set EV targets for the coming decades.

The money will go towards building EV charging stations across the United States. John Bozzella, chief executive of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, welcomed the investment. However, he pointed out that more policies would be needed to increase the number of EVs sold. EV sales today make up just 2 percent of the auto market. Bozzella hopes to see that soon increase to 40 or 50 percent. One primary policy EV advocates believe could support this growth is an EV tax credit for consumers.

Carbon capture and nuclear power

Carbon capture technology could allow us to continue to use fossil fuels for years to come. It can help make natural gas a cleaner source of energy by capturing and storing emissions underground.

The Senate bill includes close to $1 billion for large-scale pilot projects and $2.5 billion for demonstration projects involving carbon capture. The goal of these projects is to test new technologies to reduce the cost of carbon capture. It’s currently not an economically viable option in most settings. Brad Crabtree, director of the Carbon Capture Coalition, described the investments as “the most ambitious portfolio of carbon management policies in the world to date.”

Support for the nuclear industry includes $6 billion to prevent the closure of aging nuclear power plants. A further $6 billion will go to developing small modular nuclear plants. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework rightly recognizes the important role of advanced nuclear energy in achieving national decarbonization,” commented Judi Greenwald, executive director of the Nuclear Innovation Alliance.

What will this mean for me?

The infrastructure bill has already passed the Senate. But it still needs approval from the House of Representatives. Some changes to its provisions could take place before that happens.

The investment in transmission infrastructure could help stabilize the grid as energy demand grows. Industry experts argue that a substantial expansion of power lines is needed. Increased power generation levels from renewables in the coming years will require more power lines. More grid stability would mean a more predictable electricity supply for you. 

For example, California relies on a lot of solar power for its energy needs. Building out the grid would allow California to supply excess solar power to the rest of the country. The Golden State could use extra energy generated by wind turbines after the sun sets in the evening.

A more connected grid could also encourage quicker development of solar and wind power. This could keep electricity prices low since renewables are increasingly the cheapest source of energy. The backing for EV infrastructure could make it more attractive for you to buy an electric car in the years to come.

Jordan Smith is a writer and researcher with expertise in renewable energy and deregulated energy markets. Jordan has written extensively on the deregulated energy market in Texas and the challenges confronted in the clean energy transition, and conducted research projects within the energy industry. Further articles by Jordan can be found at ChooseEnergy.com or SaveOnEnergy.com.

 

 

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