On March 8th, the Biden-Harris administration through the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a substantial investment to accelerate the emissions reductions of heavy-emitting industries. It will direct more than $6 billion in funding through competitive grants towards the decarbonization of hard-to-abate industries like steel, aluminum and cement making that contribute nearly 25% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The investment is combined with more than $6 billion in projected private sector cost share which altogether unlocks a total of more than a $12 billion opportunity for the hard-to-abate sector to reduce dramatically its carbon footprint.
Concept papers expressing interest in the grants are due April 21, and full applications must be submitted before August 4th. The goal of the initiative is to create healthier communities and help strengthen and secure America’s global leadership in clean manufacturing for decades to come.
The grants are for up to 50% of the cost of the projects and will go to support technology developers, industry, universities and other market participants. Included are also cross-cutting technologies that have the greatest potential, directly or indirectly, to achieve significant decarbonization domestically and globally and additional industries like the production of chemicals, ceramics and paper.
Environmental groups praised the program and urged DOE to allocate at least 40% of the resources to facilities near communities that face environmental and social impacts from heavy industry.
The departments that manage the program are the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), in collaboration with the Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) and the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO).
Along with their applications, interested parties will also be required to submit a Community Benefits Plan to ensure they are meaningfully engaging with the surrounding communities, creating quality jobs and investing in the American workforce. The measure aims to ensure the projects are not causing harm but instead providing tangible benefits to communities.