In a February 15, 2022, release, the US President Biden administration announced that it is acting through several agencies to “support American leadership on clean manufacturing—including low-carbon production of the steel and aluminum we need for electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels, and the clean concrete we need to upgrade our transportation infrastructure” and using spending authorization in last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act1.
Attempting to “clean up industrial processes that have long been challenging sources of pollution,” the announced initiatives include:
- $8 billion for the Hydrogen program of the Department of Energy (DOE), which also issued a Request for Information (Hydrogen Hub RFI) “to obtain public input regarding the solicitation process and structure of a DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to fund regional clean hydrogen hubs, as required by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).” The Hydrogen Hub RFI seeks input on:
- Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub Provisions and Requirements;
- Solicitation Process, FOA Structure and Implementation Strategy;
- Equity, Environmental and Energy Justice Priorities; and
- Market Adoption and Sustainability of the Hubs.
Responses to the Hydrogen Hub RFI are due by March 8, 2022.
- $1.5 billion for the DOE’s Hydrogen Earthshot2 program, which also issued a separate Request for Information (Hydrogen Manufacturing RFI) to obtain “ input on priority areas that will advance domestic manufacturing and recycling of clean hydrogen technologies, including fuel cells, storage equipment, and other hydrogen related components as specified below; and on priority areas that will advance electrolyzer technologies for affordable clean hydrogen production, in alignment with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the mission of DOE’s Hydrogen Energy Earthshot to reach the goal of $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade (‘1 1 1’).”
Responses to the Hydrogen Manufacturing RFI are due by March 29, 2022.
In addition to these funding initiatives, the Biden administration also announced:
- The creation of the Buy Clean Task Force to harness the $650 billion of annual purchasing power of the federal government to buy low-carbon, made-in-America materials. The Buy Clean Task Force “will promote use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions and pollutants across their lifecycle—including each stage of the manufacturing process: and is developing recommendations on:
- Identifying materials, such as steel and concrete, as well as pollutants to prioritize for consideration in Federal procurement and federally funded projects;
- Increasing the transparency of embodied emissions through supplier reporting, including incentives and technical assistance to help domestic manufacturers better report and reduce embodied emissions; and
- Launching pilot programs to boost federal procurement of clean construction materials.”
- The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has also issued new guidance on responsibly developing carbon capture, use and sequestration (CCUS). Comments on the new CCUS guidance are due by March 18, 2022.
Noting that federal governmental agencies are prepared to implement more than $12 billion in CCUS investments under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this new CCUS guidance is intended to promote projects informed by community perspectives and aligned with climate, public health and economic goals.
To further support responsible CCUS deployment, the Biden administration notes that:
- The Environmental Protection Agency is developing proposed rule revisions to strengthen the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program to improve transparency on CCUS activities. This program collects and publishes annual greenhouse gas data from large industrial sources, and the proposed updates would add reporting requirements for direct air capture and carbon storage.
- To train a racially diverse, highly skilled generation of engineers and scientists for carbon management roles, DOE is announcing $5 million for university training and research projects, including $2 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
- The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council and its member agencies are working together to facilitate collaborative CCUS project reviews.
- The Department of the Interior is working to establish safeguards for geologic sequestration on federally managed lands and is developing new regulations for geologic sequestration in the outer continental shelf as required under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The Biden administration also noted that the DOE had issued a Request for Information (Industrial Decarbonization RFI) on January 27, 2022. The Industrial Decarbonization RFI seeks “to better understand industrial priorities for decarbonization, including emerging technologies that could be demonstrated or adopted by the industrial sector” and “is specifically focused on aspects of industrial decarbonization associated with key industrial sectors, including chemicals, iron and steel, food and beverages, and cement, in addition to other manufacturing industries or crosscutting technology areas that would have a substantial level of emissions reduction in the industrial sector.”
A deadline for responses to the Industrial Decarbonization RFI has yet to be determined.
1 See our related November 15, 2021, Legal Update, “Progress for America's Infrastructure under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”
2 See our related Legal Updates, “US Department of Energy Announces Funding to Support Hydrogen Energy Earthshot Projects to Lower Cost, Advance Breakthroughs for Clean Hydrogen Technology” and “In Its First "Energy Earthshot," the US Department of Energy Launches Its "Hydrogen Shot" Initiative.”