U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Holds Hearing on Department of Energy IIJA Implementation

On February 2, 2023, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convened a full committee hearing to examine the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The sole witness during the hearing was David Turk, DOE Deputy Secretary. During his remarks, Deputy Secretary Turk noted that the IIJA provided more than $62 billion in funding to DOE and requires DOE to develop 60 new programs and expand funding for 12 existing programs. Deputy Secretary Turks stated that as of January 30, 2023, DOE had solicited 50 Requests for Information for public input on IIJA program design, released 38 Funding Opportunity Announcements worth more than $37 billion in initial investments for IIJA programs, conditionally awarded $1.1 billion in zero-emission energy generation credits, and made available $4.25 billion in formula funding for energy efficiency improvements to state and local governments and tribal nations. With respect to electric transmission, the DOE Grid Deployment Office announced its first Request for Proposals regarding the Transmission Facilitation Program, a $2.5 billion revolving fund program that will help develop new large-scale transmission lines and upgrade existing transmission.

Committee members expressed concern over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s pace in approving carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) well permits, indicating that only two active CCUS wells have been have permitted to date, while 30 CCUS well permit applications are pending before the EPA. Committee members also questioned DOE’s award of a $200 million grant to Microvast Holdings Inc., a battery producer with connections to China. Deputy Secretary Turks reiterated that no funding has been distributed to any awardee yet as DOE is still conducting due diligence. Committee members additionally expressed disdain for the possibility of a ban against gas stoves, partly in response to the DOE’s newly proposed energy efficiency standards for consumer cooking equipment. Deputy Secretary Turk commented that neither DOE nor President Joe Biden supports a ban on gas stoves, and the DOE’s proposed gas stove efficiency regulations would require a new energy conversation standard for 2027 that is currently met or exceeded by the major appliance manufacturers.

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