This bill, known as the Clean Economy and Jobs Innovation Act, combines several bills seeking to funnel money toward research and development of a number of types of clean energy, boost green infrastructure, and promote energy efficiency in buildings and invest in renewable technologies, energy sources, and workforce training. It also includes provisions to improve the electricity grid, broaden investments in and access to electric vehicles, and establish a number of grant programs to achieve environmental justice for underserved communities.
Key provisions of this legislation are summarized below:
Building Energy Codes: To make buildings more energy-efficient, this bill would:
Direct the Dept. of Energy (DOE) to set national energy-saving targets for building energy codes, propose amendments to the model codes that meet the energy-saving targets, and determine whether updated model codes meet the energy-saving targets;
Require states to certify compliance with their codes and measure compliance rates;
Create a grant program, authorized at $25 million annually for FY 2021-2030 and such sums as are necessary beginning in FY2031, at DOE to support the adaptation and implementation of updated building energy codes;
Direct the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop an information-sharing agreement giving the EIA access to building-specific data to improve the analysis of activity and energy usage information gathered by the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.
Worker Training and Capacity Building: To develop a domestic workforce with the necessary skills for green energy jobs, this bill would:
Establish a DOE program for university-based Building Training and Assessment Centers to train engineers, architects, and workers in energy-efficient commercial building designs; and
Create a DOE career skills program awarding nonprofit partnerships grants to train workers in the construction and installation of energy-efficient building technologies.
School Buildings: Recognizing that school buildings are often outdated and energy-inefficient, this bill would streamline existing federal energy efficiency programs and financing to support school’s efforts to improve efficiency and lower their energy costs.
Industrial Efficiency and Competitiveness: To bolster American industry’s efficiency and competitiveness, this bill would:
Establish a Future of Industry program and industrial research and assessment centers to streamline energy and water auditing efforts;
Require the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to provide onsite technical assessments to manufacturers seeking energy efficiency opportunities;
Establish a DOE rebate program to incentivize purchases of new high-efficiency motor systems; and
Direct DOE to establish an incentive rebate for industrial/manufacturing facilities’ and commercial/multifamily residential buildings’ purchases of energy efficient transformers.
Federal Agency Energy Efficiency: To improve federal agencies’ energy efficiency, this bill would:
Direct the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to collaborate with each federal agency to implement energy-efficient and energy-saving information technologies; and
Require the development of a metric for data center energy efficiency and require the Secretary of Energy, EPA Administrator, and Director of OMB to maintain a data center energy practitioner program and open data initiative for federally owned and operated data center energy usage.
On a similar note, this bill would also reauthorize a grant program for improving the energy efficiency of public buildings, increasing its authorization from $30 million annually to $100 million annually from FY2021 to FY2025.
Regulatory Provisions: This bill would make amendments to existing federal code on high-performance green federal buildings, codify the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), and expand the scope of existing energy standards for new federal buildings to include major renovations. Together, these changes would give existing efforts to make buildings, particularly those owned by the federal government, more force.
Home Energy Efficiency: In support of efforts to make homes more energy-efficient, this bill would require the DOE to establish a Home Energy Savings Retrofit Rebate Program to give homeowners rebates for retrofits, such as the installation of insulation and air sealing, that achieve home energy savings
Weatherization: This bill would reauthorize the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for five years beginning in FY2021. It would also amend the definition of “weatherization materials” to include renewable energy technologies and other advanced technologies and create a new competitive grant program to:
Expand the number of dwelling units receiving weatherization assistance;
Deploy renewable energy;
Ensure health indoor environments;
Disseminate new methods and practices in weatherization; and
Encourage the hiring and retention of underrepresented groups and community members in the weatherization and home energy performance industry.
Smart Energy and Water Efficiency and Buildings: To develop better policies on smart resource management and buildings, this bill would establish a smart energy and water efficiency management program and authorize a Better Buildings Program to research innovation policies and approaches to advance the transition to smart buildings. It would also authorize a research, development, and demonstration program on new technologies to reduce emissions from, increase the energy efficiency of, and increase beneficial electrification of, new and existing commercial and residential buildings.
Energy Storage: This section would:
Add energy storage systems to the list of strategies that states and utilities should consider when developing supply-side resource planning; and
Establish an energy storage and microgrid grant and technical assistance program at DOE to help a rural electrical cooperative or non-profit entity design and demonstrate energy storage and microgrid projects using renewable energy.
Dam Safety: To keep dams safe, this bill would:
Reauthorize an existing program providing incentives for hydroelectric project owners and operators to make improvements to these facilities from FY2021 through FY2036 and expand program eligibility;
Amend dam safety and financial viability verification requirements; and
Establish requirements for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to coordinate and share information with states to ensure dam safety.
Distributed Renewable Energy: To support distributed renewable energy, this bill would require the Secretary of Energy to establish a non-profit corporation, to be known as the Distributed Energy Opportunity Board, to carry out a program to streamline the process for local permitting and inspection of qualifying distributed energy systems.
Solar Energy for Low-Income Communities and Solar R&D: This section would direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a program providing loans and grants to eligible entities to construct or install community solar facilities or solar generating facilities serving multi-family affordable housing. To support solar energy research and development, this bill would direct the Secretary of Energy to:
Carry out a program for solar energy technology research, development, demonstration, and commercial application (RDD&CA), with this program prioritizing solar energy technologies improving capacity and efficiency, manufacturing, construction, operation, decommissioning, reliability, resilience, security, grid integration, and affordability;
Conduct technical assistance and workforce development activities promoting information-based advances to solar energy systems’ development and operation;
Support technologies and strategies to reduce solar technologies’ negative impacts on wildfire risks and the environment;
Award grants to demonstrate solar energy technologies;
Produce a Strategic Vision Report on the market opportunities, challenge, and recommendations for domestic solar energy technology manufacturing and support projects improving solar manufacturing competitiveness based on the report’s findings; and
Support projects to improve solar energy technologies’ recycling and reduce solar energy technologies’ life-cycle environmental impact.
Wind Energy Research and Development: To bolster wind energy research and development, this bill would direct the Secretary of Energy to:
Carry out a program to support wind energy technology research, development, demonstration, and commercial application (RDD&CA), prioritizing wind energy technologies that improve capacity and efficiency, manufacturing, construction, operation, decommissioning, reliability, resilience, security, grid integration, and affordability;
Produce a report on airborne wind energy’s potential and technical viability as a potential energy source for the U.S. and include a summary of the RDD&CA needed to further evaluate wind energy’s viability;
Award grants to demonstrate and validate wind energy technologies;
Provide support for incubators that support innovative wind energy technologies that aren’t already well-represented in DOE’s (RDD&CA) portfolio and roadmaps;
Research, develop, test and evaluate ways to reduce regulatory and market barriers to wind energy technologies, prioritizing grid integration, siting and permitting challenges as well as wildlife impact mitigation; and
Support education and workforce development activities to promote public understanding of wind energy technologies and the wind energy workforce.
Advanced Geothermal Research and Development: To support geothermal energy research and development, this bill would:
Reauthorize a RDD&CA program for geothermal energy production from hydrothermal systems and advanced technologies and techniques for exploratory drilling for undiscovered resources;
Reauthorize a RDD&CA program for enhanced geothermal systems research and development;
Authorize the construction of up to three Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) sites;
Authorize a RDD&CA program for geothermal heat pumps and the direct use of geothermal energy;
Authorize a research and development program of advanced computing and data science tools for geothermal energy;
Establish a geothermal energy workforce development program facilitating collaboration between universities and the national labs;
Establish an education and outreach program to disseminate information on geothermal energy technologies and the geothermal energy workforce; and
Establish a technical assistance program for eligible entities to support commercial application of geothermal energy systems.
Water Power Research and Development: To support water power technologies, including hydropower, pumped storage, and marine energy technologies, this bill would:
Direct the Secretary of Energy to carry out 1) a RDD&CA program for hydropower technologies and 2) a RDD&CA program for marine energy technologies in coordination with the Dept. of Defense (DOD), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other relevant federal agencies;
Authorize the Secretary of Energy to award grants of up to $10 million annually to new and existing National Marine Energy Centers (NMECs) to carry out marine energy RDD&CA programs, support in-water testing and demonstrate, and collect and disseminate system best practices;
Instruct the Secretary of Energy to create a strategic plan addressing near- and long-term planning for water power research and development programs.
Public Lands Renewable Energy Development: To encourage renewable energy development on public lands, this bill would 1) create priority areas for development on public lands and 2) give the Dept. of the Interior tools to speed up permitting of wind, solar, and geothermal energy projects on public lands.
CARBON POLLUTION REDUCTION TECHNOLOGIES
Fossil Energy Research and Development: This section would add five new objectives to the current list of objectives in statute for the Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) fossil energy research activities. These would expand the scope of the Office of Fossil Energy, directing DOE to focus on:
Improving conversion, use, and storage of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels;
Lowering greenhouse gas emissions across the fossil fuel lifecycle;
Preventing methane leaks;
Reducing water use;
Improving the separation and purification of helium from fossil fuel resources; and
Developing carbon removal and utilization technologies.
Additionally, this bill would amend two existing objectives to focus DOE’s efforts on decreasing the cost and increasing the export of emissions control technologies. As a goal, this bill prioritizes technologies and strategies with the potential to meet emissions reduction goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. In support of carbon capture technologies, this bill would:
Direct the Secretary of Energy to conduct RDD&CA for these technologies and authorize and encourage support for large-scale carbon capture technology pilot projects;
Authorize the establishment of at least three Carbon Capture Pilot Test Centers via public-private partnerships; these would develop and test carbon capture technologies; and
Establish a program to conduct RDD&CA of technologies to capture carbon dioxide produced in the generation of electricity from natural gas power systems.
This bill would support carbon storage validation and testing through the reauthorization of existing RDD&CA activities in this area and the removal of a current limitation of seven large-scale carbon sequstration demonstrations in favor of allowing the Secretary of Energy to allow additional demonstrations as they see fit. It would also authorize a program for integrated storage projects focusing on the qualification of storage sites and the technical and commercial viability of locations and geologic structures.
This bill would also establish RDD&CA programs for: 1) carbon utilization to identify and evaluate novel uses for carbon; 2) rare earth elements and strategic mineral separation and recovery from coal and coal byproduct streams; 3) large-scale carbon removal from the atmosphere; and 4) methane leak detection and mitigation.
To support the development of the requisite workforce and ideas to develop carbon reduction technologies, this bill would give the Director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) special hiring authority, flexibility, and budget to recruit highly talented individuals for certain positions. It would also establish a prize competition for solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-based energy production.
Controlling Methane Leaks: To help states control methane leaks, this bill would direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a program awarding grants to states to improve the national gas distribution program’s performance.
Eminent Domain Reform: This section would amend the Natural Gas Act to prevent pipeline companies from using eminent domain until they have obtained all federal and state permits needed to construct and operate a pipeline project and complied with all environmental conditions included in the certificate order. It would also prohibit eminent domain’s use for pipelines attached to liquefied natural gas facilities.
To support the development of nuclear energy in the U.S., this bill would:
Require the Secretary of Energy to establish a carry out a program supporting the availability of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU) for civilian domestic demonstration and commercial use;
Authorize a light water sustainability program, advanced reactor technologies program, and hybrid energy systems research and development program;
Authorize a used nuclear fuel program including both open and closed fuel cycle technologies and an advanced fuels program for both light water and advanced reactors, focusing on proliferation resistance and accident tolerance;
Authorize a report on light water and advanced reactors’ economics, safety, and the environment;
Reauthorize nuclear educational research and development programs and authorize a nuclear energy apprenticeship program;
Authorize a program to identify nuclear energy technologies that the federal government should conducts its own research and development on due to private sector unwillingness or inability to conduct such research;
Authorize an international RDD&CA effort, including coordination of goals, on nuclear energy; and
Instruct the Secretary of Energy to coordinate programs across federal agencies and national laboratories to collaborate on programs, disseminate research results, create an education and outreach program to promote public understanding of and support for nuclear energy, and establish a nuclear energy technical assistance program.
ELECTRIC GRID AND CYBERSECURITY
Better Energy Storage Technology: To modernize the U.S. power grid and improve its storage capacity, this bill would:
Direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a program providing funding for projects improving the electricity grid’s resilience, performance, and efficiency;
Authorize states’ use of federal financial assistance received through the State Energy Program (SEP) to implement, revise, and review State Energy Security Plans, establish requirements for the contents of such plans, and require state governors to submit these plans to the Secretary of Energy on an annual basis; and
Authorize RDD&CA programs on energy storage and critical mineral cycling and reuse.
Grid Modernization Research and Development: This bill would support numerous grid modernization research and development efforts by:
Reauthorizing the smart grid demonstration program in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and adding the commercial application of distribution automation technologies to the program;
Authorizing a RDD&CA program on modeling emerging technology and systems for secure and reliable energy grid design and planning;
Authorizing a RDD&CA program to develop cost-effective hybrid energy systems;
Authorizing RDD&CA relating to integrating renewable energy, electric vehicles, and buildings onto the electric grid; and
Directing the Secretary of Energy to establish an industry alliance to support grid modernization and coordinate efforts on electric grid modernization across electric utilities, transmission organizations, distributions owners and operators, national labs, and others.
Grid Security Research and Development: This bill would authorize DOE to support RDD&CA to advance cybersecurity technologies to keep electric grids secure and authorize the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support fundamental research to advance the cybersecurity of information systems and technologies.
Additionally, it would authorize a research, development, and demonstration program at DOE to to assess methods, tools, and technologies to improve energy grid resilience, reliability, and emergency response. This would include technologies to detect sparks causing wildfires and assessments to determine necessary grid infrastructure upgrades.
To help better plan cybersecurity efforts, this bill would:
Authorize DOE to work with stakeholders to update cybersecurity roadmaps and reports, develop voluntary guidance on digital forensic analysis, and develop a mechanism for anonymizing and sharing testing results from cybersecurity test beds;
Authorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to work with stakeholders to develop best practices for improving cybersecurity and recommendations on cybersecurity recommendations for the private sector to design and build cybersecurity into grid technologies;
Authorize DOE to help entities in developing cybersecurity testing capabilities and to collaborate with stakeholders to evaluate cybersecurity issues in the energy sector;
Authorize DOE to support the development of a cybersecurity workforce and to maintain a public database of cybersecurity education, training, and certification programs; and
Direct DOE to develop an Interagency Strategic Plan to indentify the ways in which federal agencies’ current work complements and advances the energy sector’s cybersecurity research roadmap and make recommendations for future research.
Tribal Energy: This section would amend existing federal law to expand the definition of “Indian Land” to include any land where the majority of occupants are members of Alaskan Native Tribes. It would also allow the Secretary of Energy to reduce any required cost share for energy projects funded by the Office of Indian Energy and reauthorize the cost-sharing program for FY2021 through FY2025.
To ensure that tribal communities have energy access, this bill would require the Secretary of Energy to assess electricity access and reliability by Tribal communities and produce a report on the findings. This assessment would be conducted in consultation with Tribal governments, the North American Electricity Reliability Council (NERC) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Diesel Emissions Reduction: This bill would reauthorize the diesel emissions reduction program from FY2021 through FY2025.
Clean School Bus Program: This bill would reauthorize the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) clean school bus program. It would also update the program’s definitions to include electricity as an alternative fuel and add a definition of “zero-emission school bus.” To encourage more schools to adopt clean school buses, this bill would:
Authorize the EPA Administrator to award grants, rebates, or low-cost loans for up to 100% of the replacement costs of zero-emissions school buses and up to 60% of the replacement costs of other eligible clean school buses; and
Direct the EPA Administrator to develop an outreach program promoting the clean school bus grant program.
Clean Cities Coalition Program: This bill would direct the Secretary of Energy to carry out a Clean Cities Coalition Program to build partnerships to advance affordable domestic transportation fuels and technologies. It would provide increasing annual funding for the program in each of FY2021 through FY2025, beginning with $50 million in FY2021 and increasing funding by $10 million per year.
Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity: This bill would set an annual June 1 deadline for small refineries to petition the EPA for exemptions from the upcoming year’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending requirements. It would also require public disclosure of information included in these petitions; specifically, refineries’ names and the number of gallons of renewable fuel waived would be made publicly available beginning in calendar year 2021 or a subsequent calendar year.
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: This bill would direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a rebate program for eligible entities installing publicly accessible electric vehicle supply equipment. To ensure that underserved communities can benefit from electric vehicles, it would direct the Secretary of Energy to:
Conduct an assessment of and produce a report on the availability, opportunities for additional deployment, and best practices to encourage electric vehicle charging infrastructure deployment in underserved communities; and
Ensure that electric vehicle charging infrastructure installers benefiting from government incentives consider the needs of underserved or disadvantaged communities and provide those communities access to electric vehicle infrastructure, clean transportation and improved air quality.
Additionally, this bill would require the Secretary of Energy to update model building codes for integrating electric vehicle supply equipment into multi-family buildings and require the Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Reliability to convene a group to assess the development of standards to support expanded deployment of a nationwide electric vehicle charging network.
This bill also contains provisions to encourage state consideration of electric vehicle charging, electric vehicle infrastructure’s inclusion in state energy plans, transportation electrification, and the federal fleet’s shift towards alternative fueled vehicles.
To help domestic manufacturers shift to manufacturing alternative fueled vehicles, this bill would:
Direct the Secretary of Energy to accelerate domestic manufacturing of batteries, power electronics, and other technologies for use in plug-in vehicles and establish a grant program to this end; and
Make manufacturers of ultra-efficient vehicles, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and zero-emissions vehicles, eligible for a federal cost-share facility funding award of up to 80%.
Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy: This bill would authorize the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to support projects addressing nuclear waste clean-up and management or energy infrastructure resilience, reliability, and security.
National Clean Energy Technology Transfer Program: This bill would authorize a number of programs and initiatives to support clean energy innovation, including:
A Regional Clean Energy Innovation Program to establish regional partnerships promoting economic development through clean energy innovation;
A National Clean Energy Incubator Program to support incubators accelerating the commercial application of clean energy technologies;
A Clean Energy Technology University Prize Competition for university students to support and encourage students in the development of businesses in the commercial applications of innovative clean energy technologies; and
An Energy I-Corps program to support commercial application education, training, and professional development for people interested in the commercial application of clean energy and other technologies related to the DOE’s mission.
Additionally, this bill would authorize the Secretary of Energy to support the coordination of relevant technology transfer programs. This would include facilitating information sharing, connecting entrepreneurs and startups to DOE’s clean energy programs and developing metrics to measure clean energy technology transfer programs’ impact.
Supporting Technology Development at the National Laboratories: This bill would authorize a Lab Partnering Service Pilot Program to provide services encouraging and supporting partnerships between the national laboratories and public and private sector entities. Other measures to encourage clean energy development at the national laboratories would include:
A program to provide entrepreneurial fellows with access to national laboratory research facilities, expertise, and mentorship to assist with the commercial application of research ideas;
A program giving small businesses vouchers to perform research, development, demonstration, technology transfer, or commercial application activities at the national laboratories;
The establishment of an entrepreneurial leave program allowing national laboratory employees to take leaves of absence of up to three years in order to advance the commercial application of energy and related technologies relevant to DOE’s mission;
Giving Directors of national laboratories the authority to allow their employees to engage in outside employment and consulting activities; and
Reauthorization of the Technology Commercialization Fund.
Department of Energy Modernization: This bill would modernize the administration of the DOE in numerous ways. Most notably, it would establish an Office of Technology Transitions with the mission of expanding the commercial impact of the DOE’s research investments and advancing the commercial application of technologies reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, mitigating negative environmental consequences, and supporting other DOE missions.
INDUSTRIAL INNOVATION AND COMPETITIVENESS
Smart Manufacturing: This bill would require DOE to develop and complete a national plan for smart manufacturing technology development and deployment. This plan would seek to improve the U.S. manufacturing sector’s productivity and energy efficiency.
American Innovation and Manufacturing Leadership: This bill would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publish a list of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are subject to regulation and give the EPA authority to add HFCs to the list of regulated substances. It would also establish formulas and regulations for the phasedown of regulated substances.
Clean Industrial Technology: To encourage the development and evaluation of technologies that increase U.S. industry’s and manufacturing’s technological and economic competitiveness, this bill would establish a cross-cutting RDD&CA program to develop and commercialize economic and competitive technologies that reduce industrial sector emissions. This program would focus on several areas, including:
Reducing emissions from production processes for iron, steel, aluminum, cement, and chemical production processes;
Reducing emissions from high temperature heat generation; smart manufacturing; sustainable manufacturing;
Net-zero emissions fuels;
Shipping, aviation, and long-distance transportation;
Carbon capture; and
This bill would also establish a Federal Advisory Committee to develop industry-specific roadmaps to reduce industrial emissions and authorize a program giving eligible entities technical assistance to adopt emissions-reducing industrial technologies.
Combined Heat and Power Support: This bill would redesignate DOE’s Clean Energy Application Centers as the CHP Technical Assistance Partnership Program and direct it to encourage deployment of combined heat and power (CHP), heat to power, and efficient district energy technologies. It would also provide project-specific support to building and industrial professionals in the form of economic and engineering assessments and advisory activities.
Energy Critical Materials: This bill would authorize a program at DOE to assure the long-term, secure, and sustainable supply of energy critical materials that are needed for national security, economic well-being, and industrial production needs.
Under this program, the Secretary of Energy would be directed to:
Identify and test alternative materials that may serve as substitutes for energy critical materials;
Engineer and test diverse applications to accelerate recycling and reuse of energy critical materials;
Support new or significantly improved processes and technologies to reduce the energy intensive and environmental impact of energy critical material extraction and processing;
Encourage multidisciplinary collaborations/opportunities for college and university students; and
Establish a Critical Materials Consortium to expand the existing Critical Materials Hub’s capabilities and activities to address issues pertaining to energy critical materials and streamline critieral materials research activities supported by various DOE programs.
Additionally, this bill would establish a Critical Materials Information Center and database to catalogue, disseminate and archive information on energy critical elements. It would also direct the Critical Minerals Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to coordinate federal sciences and technology efforts to ensure critical materials supplies in the United States.
National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research, and Development: This bill would instruct the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to coordinate federal materials research and development through the National Science and Technology Council (at present, this coordination is through the defunct Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology) and update relevant agencies’ reporting and assessment duties pertaining to federal materials research and development.
This bill would establish a grant program empowering communities impacted by hazardous air pollutants to participate in regulatory decisions impacting their communities’ health and safety.
Additionally, this bill would codify the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council and two executive orders that:
Establish an interagency working group on environmental justice to coordinate federal efforts to alleviate disproportionate impacts of pollution; and
Require relevant federal agencies to integrate environmental justice into this missions.
Under this bill, all DOE and EPA employees would be required to complete environmental justice training.
This bill would establish a basic training program to increase environmental justice communities’ abilities to identify and address disproportionately adverse human health or environmental effects through appropriate training and education.
This bill would establish an online public Environmental Justice Clearinghouse with information on EPA activities, training materials for individuals and employees, links to webpages describing federal agencies’ environmental justice activities, and directories of nonprofits and technical experts in the environmental justice space.
This legislation would authorize the environmental justice grant programs currently administered by the EPA and additionally establish a grant program giving non-governmental entities, states, and tribal governments funding to build capacity to address environmental justice-related issues.
Additionally, this bill would establish new protections under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) relating to federal actions affecting environmental justice communities.
Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Development: To support blue collar workers’ transition to green collar jobs, this bill would redesignate the DOE’s Office of Minority Economic Impact as the Office of Economic Impact, Diversity, and Employment and direct it, along with the Secretary of Energy and Director of the Office of Economic Impact, to carry out workforce development and grant programs under this legislation.
Additionally, this legislation would direct the Secretary of Energy to:
Encourage underrepresented groups’ entry into STEM fields;
Increase national education and training for energy-related industries;
Carry out DOE’s Minorities in Energy Initiative;
Provide direct assistance and resources for energy-related job training programs;
Publish a report on job creation in energy-related industries;
Conduct outreach to minority-serving institutions and displaced energy workers regarding emerging energy-related jobs; and
Establish and carry out a grant program for eligible businesses to pay the wages of new and existing employees while they receive training to work in the renewable energy sector, prioritizing eligible businesses that recruit employees from underrepresented groups, veterans, or individuals transitioning from fossil energy sector jobs.
Buy American and Wage Rate Requirements: This bill would require all public building or public work construction, alteration, maintenance or repair work funded by this legislation to only use iron, steel and manufactured goods produced in the U.S. It would also require that all laborers and mechanics employed on projects using funds under this legislation be paid no less than the local prevailing wage for similar projects.
Natural Resources: This bill would authorize a new grant program at the Dept. of the Interior to help higher education institutions and labor unions provide training for jobs in the offshore wind industry. It would also reauthorize the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program through FY2025.
Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator: This bill would establish a nonprofit Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to provide financing to help rapidly commercialize and deploy technologies and processes to reduce emissions in the U.S.
The Accelerator would be responsible for mobilizing public and private investment to finance low- and zero-emissions energy technologies, renewable energy generation, building efficiency and electricity, industrial decarbonization, grid modernization, agriculture projects, clean transportation, and climate-resilient infrastructure. It would provide financing through debt, credit enhancements, aggregation and warehousing, equity capital, and other financial products as approved by its Board of Directors. A Startup Division would provide technical assistance and startup operating funds to launch new state and local green banks. Additionally, a loan program would be established to support schools, metropolitan planning organizations, and nonprofit organizations seeking financing for zero-emissions vehicle fleets and related infrastructure.
The Accelerater would be required to prioritize investments in “climate-impacted communities” that are disproportionately affected by climate change’s impacts. These include frontline, rural, low-income, and environmental justice communities. At least 20% of the Accelerator’s investments would be required to be directed to these communities.
Scientific Integrity: This bill would require every federal agency that funds, conducts or oversees scientific research to develop, adopt and enforce a scientific integrity policy. Each agency would also be required to appoint a Scientific Integrity Officer (SIO) and to establish administration processes and training programs to ensure compliance with scientific integrity and ethics.
Background Ozone Research: This bill would direct the EPA Administrator to work with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to conduct a study on background ozone. This study would: 1) aim to propose a framework of standard terms and definitions to standardize ground-level ozone research, 2) examine current challenges in quantifying sources of background and ground-level ozone and 3) outline a plan for a research and development program to support analysis and demonstration of background ozone trends.
Smoke Planning and Research: Under this bill, the EPA Administrator would be required to establish four university-based research centers to carry out research related to wildland fires’ effects on public health and how communities can respond to the impacts of wildland fire emissions.
Several notable amendments were made to this bill prior to its passage in the House. They include:
Requiring the EPA to identify 100 environmental justice communities overburdened by pollution violations and to implement strategies for ending the violations;
Directing the Secretary of Energy to establish a research, development, and demonstration program for more efficient and sustainable materials, technologies, and processes for manufacturing, developing, and using passenger and commercial vehicles; and
A provision ensuring that the high-assay low-enriched uranium (HA-LEU) program created in this bill will not negatively impact tribal or native communities’ natural or cultural resources or degrade water quality due to uranium mining.