Biden’s Bold $6 Billion Plan for Industrial Green Shift

by | Mar 25, 2024

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Under its Investing in America agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced up to $6 billion to transform the United States industrial sector. Announced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), this funding will support 33 projects across 20 states to decarbonize energy-intensive industries, foster good-paying union jobs, revitalize industrial communities, and reinforce national manufacturing competitiveness. These efforts are financed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to rejuvenate manufacturing communities and secure sustainable employment opportunities.

Strategic Focus on Heavy Emitters

Targeting industries with the highest emission rates, such as aluminum, cement, chemicals, iron, and steel, the initiative is anticipated to cut more than 14 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually. This effort equates to the emissions from 3 million gasoline-powered vehicles. The projects will introduce emissions reduction technologies with the potential for broad sectoral application, while enhancing and fortifying the future of U.S. manufacturing.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm highlighted the strategic importance of advancing decarbonization technologies across critical sectors, emphasizing that these investments would reduce emissions from hard-to-decarbonize industries and ensure that American businesses and workers remain leaders in the global economy.

Enriching Local Economies and Job Markets

This federal investment is designed to strengthen local economies and create tens of thousands of high-quality, well-paying jobs, especially those that support worker organization and collective bargaining. Each project will develop and implement a comprehensive Community Benefits Plan to guarantee significant community and labor involvement. Nearly 80% of these projects are situated in communities identified as disadvantaged by President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, presenting a unique opportunity to promote employment and clean air in areas historically overlooked for investment.

Comprehensive Approach to Industrial Decarbonization

The industrial sector, responsible for nearly one-third of the U.S.’s total greenhouse gas emissions, faces unique challenges in decarbonization, necessitating innovative solutions. The funded projects will demonstrate commercial-scale decarbonization techniques for net-zero emissions, incorporating energy efficiency, electrification, alternative fuels, feedstocks, and clean hydrogen. With $489 million allocated from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $5.47 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act, this initiative represents a historic investment in industrial decarbonization.

Project Highlights Across Key Industries

Selected projects span across several critical industries, showcasing a variety of approaches to reduce emissions:

Chemicals and Refining: Demonstrating circular economy principles and decarbonizing supply chains for clean fuels and electric vehicle components.
Cement and Concrete: Pioneering zero-emission technologies and materials to transform one of the largest CO2-emitting sectors.
Iron and Steel: Introducing clean hydrogen-fueled processes to reduce emissions in steelmaking significantly.
Aluminum and Metals: Revitalizing the U.S. aluminum industry and leading recycling efforts for essential materials.
Food and Beverage: Implementing energy efficiency and electrification across multiple locations to reduce the carbon footprint of everyday products.
Glass: Advancing low-emission furnace technologies for producing glass items, setting a precedent for high-temperature industrial processes.
Process Heat: Validating electric solutions to tackle emissions from industrial heating.
Pulp and Paper: Enhancing energy efficiency with innovative membrane technology for separation processes.

Next Steps and Engagement Opportunities in Clean Energy Projects

Today’s announcement falls under the purview of the Industrial Demonstrations Program, orchestrated by the Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED). OCED is set to launch a sequence of national and regional virtual briefings to provide details of these projects, outline OCED’s strategy for clean energy demonstrations, and offer avenues for industry stakeholders and communities to delve deeper into projects that pique their interest.

It is important to note that being selected to enter award negotiations does not guarantee the issuance of an award or the allocation of funds by the DOE. A negotiation phase will precede any funding, during which DOE retains the right to halt negotiations and withdraw the selection at any point. The lead applicants may be subject to change throughout the negotiation period. Should the projects receive awards, OCED will adopt a rigorous phased project management methodology, incorporating critical “go/no-go” decision junctures at each stage to assess the projects’ advancement and the derived community benefits.

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