An Inflection Point for Renewable Energy: Biden’s Administration Ushers In an Unforeseen Renewable Tidal Wave
At New York Energy Week, expert panelists, executives, and thought leaders from across the energy environment. Industries will come together to discuss President Joe Biden‘s linchpin acts and their ramifications across renewables, utilities, legislatures, finance and more. EnerKnol’s Product Manager Shahid Mahdi breaks down some of the key initiatives here.
This particular zeitgeist is one that will come to define the future of renewable energy and the prospect of a net-zero reality. President Joseph R. Biden has already cemented himself as one of the most forthright leaders in recent history commensurate with his two watershed Acts — the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act of 2021 and its spiritual successor, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The synthesis of these legislative actions and their provisions makes for the largest, most influential energy programs thus far. This legislation, which encompasses everything from carbon-emissions and battery storage infrastructure to transmission planning and grid cyber-resilience, is a labyrinthine to decipher. Professionals across utilities, law firms, finance, academia, and the wider regulatory universe have been consulting the EnerKnol Platform and EnerKnol Research at unprecedented rates to track how the disbursement of federal funds is taking place. To preface some of the exciting exchanges around this topic at New York Energy Week, here is a high-level breakdown of the IRA and IIJA’s carveouts as they pertain to specific sectors, brought to you by EnerKnol and EnerKnol’s Product Manager, Shahid Mahdi.
– Electric vehicles surging ahead: Automakers and energy companies alike are scrambling to leverage the multi-pronged incentives and advantages being brought about by the Acts, which alongside the CHIPS & Science Act make for a collective investment of $135 bn in Electric Vehicle (EV) output. For the first time, the U.S. will proceed with constructing a national charging infrastructure network of over 500,000 public units for Electric Vehicle consumption. This is an initiative of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Act (NEVI), which is distributing over $5 billion to accomplish this ambitious transportation effort by 2030. Fleet electrification efforts are manifesting within the public and private sectors alike, with school districts electrifying their bus fleets and delivery service providers like UPS, Domino’s, and municipal taxi companies signing lucrative, opportune deals with EV automakers in light of conducive financial incentives. With transportation writ large contributing to a third of U.S. emissions, it is no surprise that states, local governments, and federal bodies alike, are looking to mass electrification as a key method in their arsenals to adhere to state emission & renewable portfolio standard targets.
– Winds of Change: Biden has made the advent and continued development of offshore wind a pivotal part of his agenda. This is evinced by the announcement of a commitment to deploy at minimum 15 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035; another key harbinger is the “Floating Offshore Wind Shot” to reduce floating technology costs to $45/kilowatt hour. Concomitant with Renewable Portfolio Standards, many states across the East coast have engaged with capacity commitments by 2030-2040 — projects that will forever alter the offshore wind output and wind exoskeleton of the U.S. Auctions for wind projects, led by the New York Bight Auction, which drew cumulative bids of over $3.5 billion, will also become more commonplace as more lucrative opportunities emerge.
– Transmission Providers Adjust Strategies and Integrated Resource Plans: Biden’s Build a Better Grid Initiative provides a $20 billion strong bulwark for transmission improvements and enhancements to what thus has been a wicked, hazardous problem: revamping significant portions of the nation’s grid. Across the nation, a surge of power lines is being built amidst the pro-investment conducive zeitgeist the IIJA has set — and nearly all are accounting for demand and advancement of renewable energy. ALLETTE and Grid United’s $2.5 billion North Plains connector will be open to all sources of electric generation. The Department of the Interior announced that the Ten West Link Transmission Project, spanning Arizona and California, will enable at least 25 GW of renewable energy on public lands by 2025. Maine’s Public Utilities Commission just approved Longroad Energy’s 1,000-MW wind farm to transmit power across the state. The examples are numerous, and docket proceedings for transmission projects are becoming more abundant by the day.
– Cybersecurity Entrenches Itself As a Key Concern For Grid Reliability – Grid enhancements on the operational and software level have been part and parcel of the necessary overhauls, especially in light of ransomware attacks and the Colonial Pipeline breach in May 2021. “Across the nation, at a federal and state level, cybersecurity has emerged from being a niche, Hollywood-caricatured topic to the main focus of an abundance of energy-security legislation and policy. President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) contains over $500 million worth of provisions and funding opportunities towards cybersecurity-pertinent causes with respect to energy and grid infrastructure — this includes a massive initiative spearheaded by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to distribute grants for energy-oriented technologies. The effects from such landmark legislation cascade to other organizational entities: the North American Electric Reliability Corporation has repeatedly highlighted cyber threats as being a major hindrance to reliable operation; it has leveraged this knowledge to initiate more comprehensive Critical Infrastructure Protection standards.
These are just but a minute sampling of the smorgasbord of regulatory themes EnerKnol’s customers are keeping their fingers on the pulses of. The EnerKnol Platform is a cutting edge, market-leading software solution which consolidates the otherwise disparate, nebulous energy and environment universes into a simple, time-saving software product. A free trial of the Platform can be started here.
About the author: Shahid Mahdi is a Product Manager at EnerKnol and a M.Sc at New York University in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity at NYU. He has a B.A. in English Literature and an M.S. in Global Affairs from the same institution.