October 28, 2020

Volume X, Number 302

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October 26, 2020

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US House of Representatives to Consider Clean Energy Package

This week, the House of Representatives is set to consider H.R. 447, the House Clean Energy Package. Over 150 amendments were offered on the package and today, the House Rules Committee will meet today decide which of those amendments to consider on the House floor. Depending on the outcome of the House Rules Committee meeting, the legislation could be considered on the floor as early as tomorrow.

Of interest to states and local governments, the legislation would include:

  • $3.5 billion to reauthorize the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant;

  • $225 million for the Energy Department to assist states in implementing building energy codes;

  • $100 million to grant states funding to improve energy efficiency in public buildings;

  • $4.5 billion to create grant programs for plug-in electric vehicles and large-scale transportation sector electrification;

  • $50 million for a Clean Cities Coalition Program to provide awards to local and regional coalitions that work to improve air quality and reduce petroleum consumption;

  • $1.2 billion in funding for a Home Energy Savings Retrofit Rebate Program at the federal and state level; and

  • $125 million to assist states in developing energy transportation plans prioritizing electric vehicles and to offset the cost of creating publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations.

On environmental justice issues, the bill requires federal agencies to address the impact of their energy programs and guidance on vulnerable communities as well as allocates $75 million in funding for tribal governments, states, and community groups to carry out programs to address these issues.

The bill also includes funding for renewable energy, including:

  • $294 million in grants, workforce development programs, and demonstration project funding to promote solar energy research and development (R&D);

  • $109.2 million for wind energy R&D;

  • $200 million for grants and low-interest loans to support installation of solar panels on residential buildings;

  • $65 million for energy storage research;

  • $620 million for large-scale demonstration projects to test the commercial feasibility of carbon storage projects;

  • $814.9 million for FY21- FY25 for marine energy and hydropower R&D; and

  • $1.2 billion for nuclear energy projects, specifically for nuclear reactor demonstration projects, advanced fuel cycle and recycling research, and hybrid energy systems including nuclear power and water desalination.

Broadly, the package also includes funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program, directs the Interior Department to prioritize areas for renewable energy projects and establish a Renewable Energy Coordination Office, establishes regulations for hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phase out, as well as reauthorizes the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) through 2025, appropriating $497 million for the agency in 2021 to increase to $875 million by 2025. In addition, the bill allocates $1 billion for grid modernization, $25 million for national lab initiatives, and $275 million for carbon removal activities.

Amendments offered by Members address that address tax related issues include:

  • the 45Q tax credit;

  • the Investment Tax Credit (ITC);

    • an amendment by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) to provide a 15% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) and resume the 15% ITC for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)

  • tax credits for electric vehicles; and

    • an amendment by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) to expand tax credits for electric vehicles

  • renewable energy.

    • an amendment by Rep. Julie Brownley (D-CA) to require the federal government to use entirely renewable energy by 2050

    • an amendment by Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) to retain the Renewable Energy Resource Conservation Fund and makes it subject to annual appropriations. This fund supports state and local governments, and uses renewable energy revenues to protect wildlife and improve recreational access on federal lands

Amendments were also offered to fund and support programs for research and development for solar, wind, hydropower, and nuclear technology. Some amendments also seek to streamline regulatory processes at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 266
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About this Author

Sarah Vilms, Public Policy Adviser, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm
Public Policy Advisor

Sarah Vilms provides legislative strategy and congressional advocacy on behalf of clients, including corporations, municipal governments and nonprofits. Her experience includes more than 20 years in environment and natural resources, education, health care, transportation, voting and sporting issues, among other areas. Ms. Vilms presents matters on behalf of clients before Congress, the White House and federal agencies. 

202-457-5248
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