On 31 March 2021, President Biden unveiled his American Jobs Plan, proposing historic levels of investment to improve competitiveness, create jobs, rebuild infrastructure and position the US to face future challenges, both economic and as a result of climate change
The ambitious new plan includes further investments in the offshore wind industry, upgrading the transmission system in the US, revitalising ports critical to offshore wind operations, supporting domestic supply chain manufacturing, and investing in research and development on floating offshore wind.
The US$2Trn infrastructure plan follows the White House Offshore Wind Roundtable and highlights the central role the industry plays in the administration’s goals.
President Biden is proposing a 10-year extension and phase down of an expanded direct-pay investment tax credit and production tax credit for clean energy generation and storage. These credits will be paired with strong labour standards to ensure that jobs that are created are good-quality jobs with a free and fair choice to join a union and bargain collectively. President Biden’s plan will also mobilise private investment to modernise the power sector.
The President wants to use investments in the grid to bring cheaper, cleaner electricity to where it is needed most. This starts with the creation of the investment tax credit that incentivises the buildout of at least 20 GW of high-voltage capacity power lines and mobilises tens of billions in private capital.
In addition, President Biden’s plan will establish a new Grid Deployment Authority at the Department of Energy that allows for better leverage of existing rights-of-way and supports creative financing tools to spur additional high priority, high-voltage transmission lines.
To establish the US as a leader in climate science, innovation and R&D the President is calling on Congress to invest US$35Bn in a range of solutions needed to achieve technology breakthroughs that address the climate crisis and position America as the global leader in clean energy technology and clean energy jobs. This includes launching an Advanced Research Projects Agency – Climate (ARPA-C) to develop new methods for reducing emissions as well as expanding across-the-board funding for climate research.
In addition to a US$5Bn increase in funding for other climate-focused research, his plan will invest US$15Bn in demonstration projects for climate R&D priorities, including utility-scale energy storage, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear, rare earth element separations, floating offshore wind, biofuel/bioproducts, quantum computing, and electric vehicles, as well as strengthening US technological leadership in these areas.
Responding to the Act, Business Network for Offshore Wind vice president of policy and regulatory engagement Brandon Burke said, “This announcement is a critical stake in the ground for clean energy. The American Jobs Plan is a long-needed and important investment in America’s future that further emphasises offshore wind energy as a cornerstone industry.
“The President has called on Congress to invest billions of dollars to tackle climate change, rebuild our infrastructure, create jobs, and position the US as a global leader in clean energy. The White House’s plan… is necessary for US companies and workers to diversify into the growing offshore wind market and compete on the global stage.”
American Council on Renewable energy president and chief executive Gregory Wetstone said, “We commend President Biden for his historic efforts to at long last get serious about tackling the climate crisis.
“The American Jobs Plan will move the clean energy sector beyond the endless cycles of temporary stopgap incentives toward a stable, long-term tax platform that will put millions of Americans back to work, upgrading our outdated grid and building a 21st century renewable energy economy.
“The direct pay option for renewable generation credits will go a long way toward accelerating the deployment needed to decarbonise the power sector by 2035, and new incentives for transmission and energy storage will be key to securing a more reliable, efficient and cleaner electric power grid.
“The inclusion of a federal Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard is vital to ensure we stay on track with the critical emissions reductions needed to make progress addressing climate change. And the Grid Deployment Authority will make it easier to modernise today’s antiquated grid infrastructure.
“We applaud the Biden administration for this forward-leaning, results-oriented initiative and look forward to working with the White House and Congress on the final contours of the package. Accelerating the nation’s clean energy transition will help drive our nation’s economic recovery, provide Americans with the clean power they want and deserve, and secure the emissions reductions that scientists say we need to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”