It has been one year since the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law. Now commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), this legislation marked the beginning of a historic run of climate, energy, and infrastructure wins, changing the US industrial landscape as we know it.
To date, the Biden-Harris Administration has delivered over $185 billion in funding to states, tribes, territories, and local governments. The scope of this investment is traceable, with thousands of projects already announced – representing just a fraction of what’s to come.
The rollout of such a monumental package requires coordination across agencies and input from stakeholders and subject matter experts alike. The Hydrogen, Carbon Management, Electrification, and Energy Efficiency provisions within BIL are unprecedented and will be critical to decarbonizing the range of US industries.
Last spring, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a series of requests for information to begin unpacking exactly what implementation of the BIL will entail. The Industrial Innovation Initiative responded to those requests which related to carbon management, clean hydrogen, and industrial decarbonization more generally.
Requests for information mark the very beginning of the implementation process. Public and private stakeholders alike have been hard at work over the last year developing and submitting applications for funding support within the BIL.
Hydrogen Hub Highlights
Clean hydrogen has been brought into the limelight after the BIL allocated $8 billion in funding for regional clean hydrogen hubs. This funding elevated the hydrogen conversation among states from an eventual possibility to a near-term reality. This provision requires a diversity of feedstocks, geographic siting, and end uses, including for industrial applications. In requiring such diversity among hubs, the DOE is demonstrating the viability of a domestic hydrogen market at scale, while kick-starting the clean hydrogen economy, lending support across the value chain from production through to off-takers.
More than 20 projects have announced their intention of applying for federal clean hydrogen hub funding, with the vast majority of announcements made by public-private partnerships seeking to work collaboratively across a state or region. Some states have established task forces or working groups to assess the opportunity for hydrogen within their state – if not to develop their own hub, then to plug into the burgeoning clean hydrogen economy expected to develop over the coming years.
In September, the DOE released the Funding Announcement for this program, informing interested parties that between 6 and 10 projects will be supported, with an initial tranche of funding to the order of $6-7 billion. Concept papers were due on November 7th, and while these applications are unlikely to be made public, the momentum spurred by this application process alone is positioning the United States to become an international leader in this space. Paired with financing mechanisms like the clean hydrogen production tax credit (45V) in August’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the landscape for clean hydrogen has fundamentally transformed over the last year.
Managing Carbon Molecules
The BIL included eagerly awaited and foundational investments for the SCALE Act, including $310 million for Carbon Utilization; $100 million for the Carbon Capture Technology Program, Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) studies; $2.1 billion for Carbon Dioxide Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation (CIFIA); and $2.5 billion for the development of geologic storage sites. Increasing federal investment in research, development, commercial-scale demonstration, and deployment is a priority, as advancing decarbonization technologies can be a slow and capital-intensive process. To help alleviate the risk associated with investing in early commercial-scale demonstration projects, the BIL dedicated $937 million for large-scale carbon capture pilot projects; $2.54 billion for carbon capture demonstration programs; and $3.5 billion for the establishment of regional Direct Air Capture hubs.
In August, DOE released the Funding Announcements for the $310 million Carbon Utilization Program, with seven projects selected to date. September then saw the FEED Studies Funding Announcement, providing additional information on the 20 plus projects to be funded, their connection to the larger hubs projects, and how they plan to scale carbon storage. These investments will help support regional and national transport and storage projects, developing the interconnection necessary to bring carbon management solutions to scale.
Enhancing the Electric Grid
Many clean hydrogen projects are looking to produce hydrogen through electrolysis – a process which uses electricity to separate hydrogen from water. This new source of electric demand, paired with the industrial processes seeking to decarbonize their low- and medium- temperature heat, have states taking a critical look at their grid and the energy on it.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes significant investments in strengthening and modernizing U.S. electricity grids with $5 billion in grants for grid hardening and weatherization, $6 billion for grid reliability and resilience RDD&D, $3 billion for the Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program to enhance grid flexibility, and $2.5 billion for the Transmission Facilitation Fund and the Transmission Facilitation Program. This $16.5 billion package will make significant strides toward ensuring our grids are reliable, flexible, and interconnected as energy demand reaches unprecedented levels. The DOE released a number of requests for information related to the US grid and our energy systems throughout the last year with more information about funding to come.
Only the Beginning
This is just a small sampling of the energy, industry, and infrastructure programs underway as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – with more opportunities for engaging announced every day. Keep up to date as these programs are implemented with these resources:
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Programs | Department of Energy
ClearPath Infrastructure Tracker | ClearPath.org
Announced BIL Project Locations | Data to Decisions, GSA
Or sign up for the Industrial Innovation Initiative Monthly Newsletter, where we highlight the latest on BIL implementation and industrial decarbonization efforts across the US.