Three months after President Joe Biden signed it in a White House ceremony, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is getting to work on clean energy.
People and offices within the administration are getting organized to deploy $1 trillion of federal funds, including $150 billion for climate change mitigation and clean energy. Here’s what’s happened so far:
Electric vehicle charging network
The new National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program has been established to distribute $5 billion over five years to support the build out of a national electric vehicle charging network.
States can now submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan to the newly-formed Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to access program funds. States are expected to prioritize highway corridors for the charging network. Federal funds can contribute to 80% of project costs.
The Joint Office is also accepting applications from individuals for EV charging fellow positions.
The U.S. needs 1.03 million new charging stations to support President Biden’s goal of electric vehicles making up 50% of car sales by 2030, according to analysis from policy think tank Third Way.
Battery supply chain
It goes without saying (but I will anyway): an electric vehicle charging network needs batteries to charge. And, right now, sourcing materials to make batteries is incredibly challenging.
The Department of Energy (DOE) issued two notices of intent on Feb. 11 to provide $3 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to boost domestic battery production and help establish a domestic supply chain. The effort aims to support burgeoning markets for electric vehicle batteries and grid storage.
A DOE review of the U.S.’s large capacity battery supply chain recommended establishing domestic production and processing capabilities.
The funds are expected to be available “in the coming months,” according to DOE.
DOE also requested information on Feb. 14 regarding the design, construction, and operation of a new demonstration facility for full-scale rare earth element and critical minerals extraction and refining. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law dedicated $140 million to what the DOE calls a “first-of-a-kind” facility.
“Applying next-generation technology to convert legacy fossil fuel waste into a domestic source of critical minerals needed to strengthen our supply chains is a win-win — delivering a healthier environment and driving us forward to our clean energy goals,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
Responses to the RFI are due by March 31.
Go deeper: Battery recycling’s big chance
The Biden administration is requesting information on the formation of the Regional Hydrogen Hub and the Electrolysis and Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling Programs. Support for the programs will come from $9.5 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Hydrogen, when produced using electrolysis from clean energy sources, presents significant opportunities to bring the energy transition to so-called difficult to decarbonize sectors, like shipping and steel manufacturing.
In the U.S., 95% of hydrogen is produced using natural gas, according to the Dept. of Energy. So-called “blue hydrogen” incorporates carbon capture and storage, though recent studies suggest the practice could produce even more carbon emissions in heat generation than using natural gas alone. Green hydrogen capacity in the U.S. is limited.
The Biden administration hopes to cut the cost of clean hydrogen to $1 per 1 kilogram in one decade.