Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence
The soon-to-be-enacted infrastructure bill from Congress will create a new office within the U.S. Department of Energy that could speed the commercialization of emerging clean energy technologies.
The proposed Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations will distribute funds for a range of projects, including hydrogen production hubs, grid resilience upgrades, carbon capture and sequestration, advanced nuclear reactors, and long-duration energy storage. The office will oversee $21.5 billion in funding, roughly a third of the $62 billion the DOE received in the infrastructure bill.
Such an office could be instrumental in deploying the technologies that could help achieve Biden's goal for net-zero carbon emissions economywide by 2050.
Ahead of its inclusion in the infrastructure bill, the creation of an Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations was proposed by Biden in his fiscal year 2022 budget request to Congress. In its budget request, the DOE said the office would be the department's "hub" for speeding the maturation of near- and mid-term clean energy technologies, "with the goal of quicker commercial adoption and increased availability."
Rather than displace existing DOE demonstration efforts, the office, which will award funds through a competitive process, "will solicit demonstration projects that address energy challenges that cut across technology silos," the DOE said.
That approach is smart, according to Pillsbury Energy associate Meghan Claire Hammond, who represents energy industry clients on regulatory and transactional matters.
The office will consolidate project management expertise in one place "as opposed to being siloed in each of the applied energy offices," Hammond said. "It's a good way to get these projects through kind of the 'valley of death' between funding and demonstration."