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E&E News: What the Infrastructure Deal Means for Energy

Posted by E&E News Staff on Jul 30, 2021

E&E News summarized six ways the bipartisan infrastructure deal affects energy, quoting AEE’s Jeff Dennis. Read snippets below and the full article here.

The $550 billion infrastructure package that moved through Congress this week stops short of President Biden’s climate ambitions but could still have broad ramifications for the country’s energy sector.

In a statement this week, Biden called the bipartisan package the “most significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century,” although the administration and its allies made clear that the Senate legislation is only a first step...

Democrats plan to follow the bipartisan infrastructure deal with a $3.5 trillion package that would include a host of other measures, including a clean electricity standard to require utilities across the country to slash emissions...

Here are six ways the package affects energy, according to a 58-page summary of the legislation first reported by POLITICO.

One disappointment for some clean energy advocates is funding for expansion of the nation’s high-voltage power networks, which could link vast amounts of electricity from new wind and solar projects to utilities and their customers.

Two provisions of the bill would authorize $5 billion each over the next five years for a wide range of energy projects that could include certain transmission projects.

Yet that figure lags behind what some researchers say is needed to achieve Biden’s low-carbon goals… 

A second part of the 2005 law directed the Energy Department to designate “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors” as pathways where FERC’s siting authority would apply, but that was successfully challenged in court, and the entire process was shelved.

“FERC has never used its backstop siting authority because that court case diminished the commission’s authority on the backstop siting provision,” said Jeff Dennis, general counsel at Advanced Energy Economy, a clean energy trade group. “[This] would breathe new life into this statute, but it’s not an extensive grant of authority to FERC to site transmission lines..."

Other young industries that could see their futures influenced by the package are hydrogen, carbon capture and direct air capture.

The package also includes a $16 billion appropriation for cleaning up abandoned mines and orphaned wells, oil and gas wells that are no longer producing but that have become wards of state or federal agencies after companies go bust.

Read the full article here.

Topics: AEE In The News