U.S. Department of Energy Releases Critical Materials Assessment for Public Comment
On May 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued for public comment its draft Critical Materials Assessment. In the draft assessment, DOE characterized 22 different materials as critical, near critical, or noncritical to the nation’s energy needs based on the importance of those materials to energy applications and supply risk. DOE uses its Critical Materials Assessment — which it anticipates updating every three years — to “prioritize research and development efforts to meet the nation’s energy needs while reducing reliance on materials with high supply risk.” DOE explained that inclusion of a material on the critical materials for energy list may inform critical minerals Research Development, Demonstration, and Commercial Application (RDD&CA) Program priorities and eligibility for the Inflation Reduction Act Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Section 48C tax credits.
Biden Administration Unveils New Cybersecurity Strategy, Emphasizes Grid Security
On March 2, 2023, the Biden administration unveiled a new National Cybersecurity Strategy that includes various initiatives to protect U.S. energy infrastructure from attacks. The White House strategy comes on the heels of several high-profile attacks on U.S. substations and at a time when federal regulators have placed increased focus on the security of the U.S. energy grid.
DOE Announces Over $4B in Energy Transition Project Tax Credit and Grant Programs
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), alongside the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of the Treasury, has announced plans to implement programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: the Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit Program (48(e)), the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit (48C)), and the Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program. Together, these programs will make available more than $4 billion in federal tax credits and grants for energy transition projects in an effort to “accelerate domestic clean energy manufacturing and ensure traditionally underserved communities benefit from clean energy technologies.”
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Holds Hearing on Department of Energy IIJA Implementation
On February 2, 2023, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convened a full committee hearing to examine the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The sole witness during the hearing was David Turk, DOE Deputy Secretary. During his remarks, Deputy Secretary Turk noted that the IIJA provided more than $62 billion in funding to DOE and requires DOE to develop 60 new programs and expand funding for 12 existing programs. Deputy Secretary Turks stated that as of January 30, 2023, DOE had solicited 50 Requests for Information for public input on IIJA program design, released 38 Funding Opportunity Announcements worth more than $37 billion in initial investments for IIJA programs, conditionally awarded $1.1 billion in zero-emission energy generation credits, and made available $4.25 billion in formula funding for energy efficiency improvements to state and local governments and tribal nations. With respect to electric transmission, the DOE Grid Deployment Office announced its first Request for Proposals regarding the Transmission Facilitation Program, a $2.5 billion revolving fund program that will help develop new large-scale transmission lines and upgrade existing transmission.
Biden Administration Proposals: Sustainable Fuels, Greenhouse Gas Reductions in the Aviation Industry
U.S. President Joe Biden unveiled an initiative to promote the production and use of sustainable fuel in the aviation industry on Thursday, September 9. This initiative includes a goal to cut emissions in the aviation sector by 20% by 2030 and is part of the Administration’s goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. (more…)
WHEJAC Progresses on Environmental Justice Recommendations
On April 28, the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) reconvened to discuss the progress of three working groups established during its inaugural meeting on which we reported previously: the Justice40 Initiative, Executive Order 12898, and Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool working groups.
White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Holds First Meeting
During the past week, President Biden’s focus on environmental justice continued to take shape with the announcement by the White House of the Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) membership and the WHEJAC’s first meeting.
U.S. Department of Energy Implements Updated Regulations on National Environmental Policy Act Compliance for Natural Gas Act Authorizations
On December 4, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final rule updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations applicable to its review of applications to export domestically produced liquified natural gas (LNG) to non-free-trade-agreement countries under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act. DOE has determined that these actions are categorically excluded from NEPA review because 1) DOE is required by Section 3(c) of the Natural Gas Act to authorize these exports and 2) the reasonably foreseeable environmental effects DOE must review are limited — beginning at the point of export and extending to marine transport effects only. DOE is also removing reference to the import of LNG from its NEPA implementing regulations because the Energy Policy Act of 1992 leaves DOE with no discretion in its approval of such imports.
DOE Deputy Secretary Attends German LNG Conference
On February 12, 2019, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette and U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, participated in a German LNG Conference hosted in Berlin by German Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier. The group was joined by high-level government and industry leaders, including Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Dr. Fatih Birol. (more…)
U.S. Department of Energy issues policy statement eliminating the “end use” reporting provision in authorizations for the export of liquefied natural gas
On December 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a policy statement eliminating from any future export authorization orders the requirement that exporters report where LNG was “received for end use.’’ The relief is a nod to market participants who expressed concerns that exporters often have limited visibility into where their natural gas is ultimately consumed. The policy now will only require that exporters report where the natural gas was “actually delivered.” DOE issued an accompanying blanket order, DOE/FE Order No. 4322, to remove the end use provision from existing authorizations.