A grant program under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act provides $3 billion for electric vehicle battery development. Also, a bipartisan group of senators wants a Commerce Department investigation into solar companies to be completed, and a vulnerable Democratic senator says she is squeezing the Biden administration on gas prices.
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Officials announce $3 billion for EV battery manufacturing
The Department of Energy on Monday announced a $3.16 billion grant program to support domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles.
The funding, provided by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, comes amid research projects that predict rising demand for electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries. Research by the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries shows that the lithium battery market will grow by a factor of 5 to 10 over the next 10 years.
What you say: “By positioning the United States at the front line and at the center to meet growing demand for advanced batteries, we increase our competitiveness and electrify our transportation system,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
“President Biden’s historic investment in battery production and recycling will give our domestic supply chain the boost it needs to become safer and less dependent on other nations – bolster our clean energy economy, create high-paying jobs and decarbonize the transportation sector.” , she called.
The announcement comes a month after President Biden called the Defense Production Act to ramp up mining of rare earth metals used in the manufacture of batteries, and Brian Deese, director of the White House Economic Council, described the move as ” supplementary support” for the scholarship program at a press call on Monday.
The background: The Biden administration has made a broader push for wider adoption of electric vehicles and EV infrastructure as gas prices rise and the government seeks to halve carbon emissions by the end of the decade.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the government has also presented its domestic policies to promote renewable energy as an engine for creating jobs and reducing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence on international energy supplies.
“With today’s announcement of over $3 billion, we will ensure that the United States is not only a world leader in manufacturing batteries, but also in innovating the advanced battery technologies we will need in the future and securing the… supply chain, so we are less vulnerable to global supply disruptions and to make this industry sustainable by recycling materials and using cleaner manufacturing processes,” White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy said on the conference call.
Read more about the announcement here.
Senators urge Biden to complete solar energy probe
A bipartisan group of senators is urging President Biden to complete an investigation into solar panel imports as soon as possible.
The Commerce Ministry in March announced an investigation into solar panel components made in Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand to see if they are part of an attempt by Chinese companies to evade tariffs. The investigation was launched in response to a petition by California solar manufacturer Auxin Solar.
In a letter released Monday, led by Sen. Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.) Senators note solar industry forecasts that the probe could both cost jobs and reduce US solar capacity. The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), the main solar trade group, has already reduced its installation projections by half in response to the investigation.
What’s at stake? SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement last week that 100,000 American solar jobs could be lost immediately if tariffs were imposed, and it would derail Biden’s clean energy efforts.
“The launch of this investigation is already causing massive disruption in the solar industry, and it will severely hurt American solar companies and workers and increase costs to American families while it continues,” the letter read Monday.
“We urge your administration to quickly review the case and make an expedited preliminary decision. Such a decision should carefully consider the significant policy implications and reject the petitioner’s request for retroactivity.”
Rosen and other senators have repeatedly raised concerns about the probe’s economic impact, as well as its possible impact on the Biden administration’s own renewable energy goals.
Read more about the letter here.
Hassan ‘squeezes’ Biden in new ad about gas prices
Democratic Sen. Maggie Hasan (NH), which faces a tough re-election campaign in November, runs an ad about efforts to combat high gas prices.
In the 30-second spot, the lawmaker touts her own efforts on the issue and makes it clear that she is urging her own party, including President Biden, to act.
“I’m taking on members of my own party to push for a gas tax holiday and I’m urging Joe Biden to release more of our oil reserves. This is how we reduce costs and get through these times,” says the senator.
The ad, Hassan’s first in 2022, shows Democrats see the issue of gas prices as one of increasing concern ahead of the midterms.
It follows efforts by Hassan and other troubled Democrats like Sen. Mark Kelly (Ariz.) to push for a federal gasoline tax stay — something unlikely to succeed given skepticism from members of both parties.
Other vulnerable Democrats are also leaning into the issue, with Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) also targeting a Republican challenger for opposing the gas tax break.
Meanwhile, the Democratic leadership is taking a slightly different approach to the issue. Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) and Spokesperson Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week they will drive legislation to expand the powers of the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general to investigate high prices .
Read more about the ad here.
SUPER-PARTISAN LEGISLATIVES MEET FOR MORE CLIMATE TALKS
Bipartisan senators will meet for the second time Monday on climate change amid a push by Sens. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for bipartisan action on the issue.
Democrats spotted at the meeting include Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Chris Coons (Del.), Tom Carper (Del.) and Mark Kelly (Ariz.), and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Bill Cassidy (La.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) were sighted on the Republican side.
Another Republican, Sen. Kevin Cramer (ND), who attended the previous meeting, was not in Washington Monday, according to spokeswoman Molly Block.
When asked what policies Sullivan would like to see, Sullivan spokesman Mike Reynard The Hill referred to a plan by Sen. Cramer and Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) that would promote natural gas, oil and nuclear power.
Nuclear energy is a carbon-free energy source, while oil and gas still contribute to planet-warming emissions.
The plan in question also calls for expanded use of carbon capture and storage technologies aimed at preventing greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere — as well as additional mining and accelerated environmental assessments for energy infrastructure.
Meanwhile, a source close to Manchin told The Washington Post that wind energy tax credits could also be an option that could garner significant bipartisan support.
The meeting comes after a bipartisan group of lawmakers also met last week in what was described as an “effort to measure bipartisan interest” in addressing the country’s climate and energy security needs.
However, this meeting was met with some skepticism on both the left and right.
WHAT WE READ
- EU close to agreement on Russian oil exit; Object Hungary, Slovakia (Washington Post)
- Body found in barrel in Lake Mead could date to 1980s and be more likely to appear as water recedes, Las Vegas police say (8 News Now)
- “A global public health threat”: Rob Bilott on his 20-year fight against chemicals forever (The Guardian)
- A black woman fought for her community and her life amid polluting landfills and huge “lending pits” being mined for sand and clay (Inside Climate News)
- Is Gina McCarthy really a climate ruler? (E&E News)
And finally, something fancy and quirky: The White House Correspondents Dinner is back.
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Visit The Hill’s energy and environment page for the latest news and reports. we will see you tomorrow
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