Meeting Electric Power Needs Today and Tomorrow – Sustainably!

G&A's Sustainability Highlights (04.15.2024)
May 9, 2024 11:20 AM ET

Three years into a four-year term as the nation’s elected chief executive, President Joe Biden continues to deliver on his campaign promises to address the climate crisis and environmental justice agendas. The actions taken since January 2021 include marshaling the Federal government’s resources to fund the nation’s largest investment ever to reduce carbon emissions. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in August 2022, directed nearly $400 billion in federal funding toward clean energy.

The rollout of sustainability-focused policies, actions, and strategies continues in this critical national election year. Over the past few weeks, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced:

  • Actions to address the challenges of reducing the ever-increasing GHG emissions, such as those generated by electric power suppliers. This begins with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcing new standards to reduce GHG emissions, toxic air pollution, water pollution, and land contamination from traditional fossil fuel powered plants. (We can expect court challenges to the new policies, of course.)
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced US$330 million investment for a new transmission line running from Idaho to Nevada, to be built with union labor, to help improve the electric grid infrastructure. This is funded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by Biden in November 2021.
  • DOE announced a Final Rule to make Federal government permitting of new electric transmission lines more efficient, and to encourage more “meaningful engagement” with Tribes, local communities, and other stakeholders. The Coordinated Interagency Transmission Authorization and Permits program was established by DOE to provide transmission developers with options for a more efficient process and encourage more investment in new transmission lines.
  • DOE also issued a Final Rule to create a faster track for environmental reviews for existing transmission lines, to help encourage upgrades by speeding projects on existing rights-of-way, as well as solar and energy storage projects on “disturbed lands.” With these and other actions, the Biden Administration hopes to encourage public and private sector leaders to expand the capacity of the U.S. electric grid, including with funding through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnership.
  • In terms of environmental justice, through the Justice 40 Initiative there are 518 programs across 19 different Federal agencies that are being “re-imagined and transformed” to ensure that benefits will reach targeted constituencies. The Climate and Economic Justice Screening tool will be used to identify communities most in need.
  • The EPA announced $20 billion in awards to stand up a national financing network to fund tens of thousands of climate and clean energy projects across the country. The investment is part of the EPA’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program, funded through the Information Reduction Act.

There’s much more to digest in recent White House announcements about meeting the nation’s current and future clean energy electric power needs, which are included in our Top Stories. We can expect more such climate-focused and job creating actions in the months ahead as the administration and Congress gears up in the 2024 campaign season. The G&A team looks forward to keeping you updated on these developments and what impact they will have on businesses in the U.S. and globally.

This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.