A landmark infrastructure bill known as the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) was introduced to the House this week, pledging more than $1.5 trillion to rebuild the U.S. system, from roads to broadband access and a major commitment to reducing carbon emissions through clean energy.
Energy investments would account for more than $70 billion of that total. This would be put toward various ends, including transforming the electric grid to better accommodate renewable energy, actively expanding renewable energy, strengthening infrastructure, aiding the development of an electric vehicle charging network, and supporting the shift to Smart Communities infrastructure, including weatherization and energy efficiency measures.
“We know that with the right policies in place, including many of those proposed in the Moving Forward Act, clean energy can add hundreds of billions of dollars in investment and perhaps a million or more jobs back into the economy,” Abigail Ross Harper, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said. “Close to ninety percent of Americans support policies to promote a clean energy future. We will continue to work with Congress to push for policies that help restore lost solar jobs and resume our industry’s progress in the Solar+ Decade.”
Existing tax incentives would be extended to green energy technologies and activities that reduce carbon pollution. Tax credits would also be used to encourage the adoption of zero-emission cars, vans, and buses, in purchasing and manufacturing. This would be further supported through tax credits for public electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the promotion of green energy and efficiency projects with high-road labor practices.
The Energy Storage Association (ESA) took a special interest in provisions that would make stand-alone energy storage eligible for tax credits — including direct payments — and include energy storage technologies as investment options for electric vehicle infrastructure, along with the general promotion of storage technology innovation.
“The progress the energy storage industry is making to foster resilient, efficient, sustainable, and affordable electric service is being threatened by the devastating impacts of COVID-19,” ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman said. “Energy storage companies are facing widespread project delays, reduced revenues, and the potential of lost jobs. Storage eligibility for the ITC, as proposed in the Moving Forward Act, will offset reductions and delays in market deployments in both the near- and medium-term due to COVID-19, protecting the expanding numbers of Americans employed in energy storage.”
Speakes-Backman also pointed to ESA surveys showing slowdowns caused by cancellations, supply issues, and delays in approvals or permits caused by COVID-19. A bill like this, she said, would help an industry facing significant uncertainty and provide some measure of economic recovery through continued energy storage deployment, investments, and the establishment of a more resilient grid.