Congress has passed a wide-ranging, bipartisan infrastructure bill which includes billions of dollars for broadband deployment, electric vehicle infrastructure, cybersecurity, grid resiliency, clean energy development including Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage, and Research, Design, and Development programs at the Department of Energy.
Between July and September 2021, all three of the main national lobbying organizations for electric utilities increased their efforts. This included the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) who “pushed for policies like allowing nonprofit utilities to get clean energy incentives equivalent to tax credits. It also lobbied on various issues surrounding the transition to clean energy, including ‘reliability and affordability issues presented by the proposed CEPP.’”
Today, the final bipartisan bill is being praised by energy and utility companies. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson said, “this bipartisan bill provides a significant down payment toward meeting critical needs of electric cooperatives and the communities we serve, including funding for priorities such as broadband deployment and electric vehicle charging. This bill recognizes the need to expand these two technologies in rural communities. As policymakers plan for a future that depends on electricity to drive the economy, more work will be needed to build on the groundwork laid by this legislation.”
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) supported the bill, particularly the funding for EV infrastructure and broadband. Additionally, both the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association praised passage of the infrastructure bill.
As Congress continues to negotiate the separate “reconciliation” package, NRECA is advocating for inclusion of Rural Utilities Service repricing legislation, direct pay for energy tax incentives, and a voluntary USDA-based clean energy transition program.
- Sec. 11401. Grants for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure: “The purpose of this section is to establish a grant program to strategically deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, propane fueling infrastructure, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors or in certain other locations that will be accessible to all drivers of electric vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, propane vehicles, and natural gas vehicles.”
- Division D – Energy (page 495)
- Title 1 – Grid Infrastructure and Resiliency
- Subtitle A – Grid Infrastructure and Resiliency
- Sec. 40103. Electric Grid Reliability and Resilience Research, Development, and Demonstration: “Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a program, to be known as the ‘’Program Upgrading Our Electric Grid and Ensuring Reliability and Resiliency’, to provide, on a competitive basis, Federal financial assistance to eligible entities. The purpose of the program is to coordinate and collaborate with electric sector owners and operators to demonstrate innovative approaches to transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure to harden and enhance resilience and reliability; and to demonstrate new approaches to enhance regional grid resilience, implemented through States by public and rural electric cooperative entities on a cost-shared basis.” In addition, “the Secretary shall carry out activities to improve in rural or remote areas of the United States the resilience, safety, reliability, and availability of energy; and environmental protection from adverse impacts of energy generation. The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, may provide Federal financial assistance to rural or remote areas for the purpose of overall cost-effectiveness of energy generation, transmission, or distribution systems; siting or upgrading transmission and distribution lines; reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation by rural or remote areas; providing or modernizing electric generation facilities; developing microgrids; and increasing energy efficiency. There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this subsection, $1,000,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2022 through 2026.”
- Sec. 40104. Utility Demand Response: “Each electric utility shall promote the use of demand-response and demand flexibility practices by commercial, residential, and industrial consumers to reduce electricity consumption during periods of unusually high demand.” Utilities “may establish rate mechanisms for the timely recovery of the costs of promoting demand-response and demand flexibility practices.”
- Subtitle B – Cybersecurity
- Sec. 40124. Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance Program: “Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, and the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, shall establish a program, to be known as the ‘Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance Program’, to provide grants and technical assistance to, and enter into cooperative agreements with, eligible entities [including rural electric cooperatives] to protect against, detect, respond to, and recover from cybersecurity threats. The objectives of the Program shall be to deploy advanced cybersecurity technologies for electric utility systems; and to increase the participation of eligible entities in cybersecurity threat information sharing programs.”
- Title II – Supply Chains for Clean Energy Technologies
- Sec. 40211. 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board: “The Secretary shall establish a board, to be known as the ‘21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board’, to develop a strategy for the Department that, with respect to the role of the Department in the support and development of a skilled energy workforce meets the current and future industry and labor needs of the energy sector; provides opportunities for students to become qualified for placement in traditional energy sector and emerging energy sector jobs; identifies areas in which the Department can effectively utilize the technical expertise of the Department to support the workforce activities of other Federal agencies; strengthens and engages the workforce training programs of the Department and the National Laboratories in carrying out the Equity in Energy Initiative of the Department and other Department workforce priorities; develops plans to support and retrain displaced and unemployed energy sector workers; and prioritizes education and job training for underrepresented groups, including racial and ethnic minorities, Indian Tribes, women, veterans, and socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals.”
- Title IV – Enabling Energy Infrastructure Investment and Data Collection
- Subtitle A – Department of Energy Loan Program
- Sec. 40414. Data Collection on Electric Vehicle Integration with the Electricity Grids: “Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall develop and implement measures to expand data collection with respect to electric vehicle integration with the electricity grids. The sources of the data collected may include host-owned or charging-network-owned electric vehicle charging stations; aggregators of charging-network electricity demand; electric utilities offering managed-charging programs; individual, corporate, or public owners of electric vehicles; and balancing authority analyses of transformer loading congestion; and distribution-system congestion.”
- Subtitle C – Miscellaneous
- Sec. 40431. Consideration of Measures to Promote Greater Electrification of the Transportation Sector: Utilities may consider “promotion [of] affordable and equitable electric vehicle charging options for residential, commercial, and public electric vehicle charging infrastructure; improve the customer experience associated with electric vehicle charging, including by reducing charging times for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles; accelerate third-party investment in electric vehicle charging for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles; and appropriately recover the marginal costs of delivering electricity to electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.’’
- Sec. 40435. Study on Impact of Electric Vehicles: “Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall conduct, and submit to Congress a report describing the results of, a study on the cradle to grave environmental impact of electric vehicles.”
POWERful Dollars (Division J – Appropriations, starting on page 938)
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: $16,264,000,000
- Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergence Response: $550,000,000
- Electricity, including the Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program and Transmission Facilitation Program: $8,100,000,000
- Fossil Energy and Carbon Management: $7,497,140,781
- National Electric Vehicle Formula Program: $5,000,000,000
To read the full bill: https://www.congress.gov/117/bills/hr3684/BILLS-117hr3684enr.pdf
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