Energy Secretary Granholm shares energy infrastructure funding priorities

The administration is working to drum up support for the spending bills. We spoke to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm about how the infrastructure and reconciliation bills will benefit her sector.

It has been a busy week on the Hill with lawmakers working to nail down funding for the President’s “Build Back Better” agenda. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says one of her top priorities is investing in the transmission grid.

“We have seen, obviously this summer with the severe weather impacts how that impacts the grid, whether it’s hurricanes in, you know, the south or wildfires out west, you know, we need a grid that is a 21st-century grid that has the capacity necessary to add all of the renewable energy that we want to, as well as is resilient from these extreme weather events and is safe from cyber-attacks,” the Secretary states.

Congress is also still working to reach an agreement on the $3.5 trillion dollar budget reconciliation package, which Sec. Granholm says is a huge economic opportunity for energy.

“That includes the tax credits that will incentivize the build-out of clean energy, as well as that clean electricity performance plan which would incentivize utilities to do the build-out, as well,” she states. “So, those incentives are critical to the overall goal that the President has, getting to 100 percent clean electricity by 2035.”

Despite rumors of potentially lower biofuel blending volumes, she says that the administration favors the Renewable Fuel Standard and values farmer input.

“It is still in the rulemaking process and final details are being made, but this administration favors Renewable Fuel Standard and has been strong about that. So, hopefully, we’ll see some movement and positive results soon,” she adds.

They have also launched new initiatives to support biofuels like the “Grand Aviation Challenge.”

According to the Secretary, “it’s got this goal of achieving decarbonized aviation sector by 2050 and supplying at least 3 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel by 2030 and then 35 billion per year by 2050, so we’re going to need at least 200 more new biofuel refineries, which obviously creates good-paying jobs.”

The Department of Energy has seventeen national labs currently working on clean energy solutions and Secretary Granholm says that two of their latest projects are expanding hydrogen as a sustainable fuel and increasing storage capacity for wind-generated energy.

She also touted additional funding in both bills for electric vehicles as a way to reduce emissions, but a university study finds that keeping old cars longer can help the environment more than buying a new EV.

Researchers in Japan say that the so-called “gas guzzlers” actually lead to fewer emissions, based on the energy use to build newer electric cars. They say that keeping older fuel-efficient vehicles on the road longer reduces CO2 emissions more than speeding up the transition to green technology.


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