Updated Dec 7, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on infrastructure and sustainability

On Tuesday, December 7th, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and energy reporter Ben Geman looked at the latest infrastructure bill’s sweeping sustainability provisions and the plans to implement them, featuring Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.

Sec. Jennifer Granholm highlighted the path forward for clean energy offshore wind and weatherization, how the Biden administration is prioritizing emerging green technologies, and how the bill can make America’s supply chains more competitive.

  • On the vast potential of geothermal energy as a clean energy resource: “We should be using a lot more of it. It is renewable, it’s underneath our feet. We frac right now for natural gas, for oil. We could be using that same technology to pull up clean resources from under our feet. We have enough geothermal to power this nation several times over if we actually got at it, so that to me is exciting and I’m really enthusiastic about that.”
  • On how the infrastructure bill makes America more competitive: “It invests in supply chains. Right now, we are not competitive...we haven’t really gotten to the level of building out the full supply chain: the cell that goes into the battery pack, the anode, the cathode, the separator material. We want to do the whole thing, including the critical minerals that are built into those battery packs. Making us competitive would mean that we partner with industry to make those costs competitive here.”

Sen. John Hickenlooper described how the infrastructure bill’s funding invests in states’ climate resiliency efforts, how to make sure the bill’s investments and projects are implemented over time, and the long-term impact of the bill’s passage on the transition to clean energy.

  • On the scope of the infrastructure bill’s clean energy provisions: “People already forget that this is the most consequential climate bill ever. And when you look at $73 billion for power and the grind and including and that is, you know, all kinds of recharging stations, incentives for electric vehicles, that’s very impactful.”
  • On the long-term impact of infrastructure bill investments: “I think it’s worth re-emphasizing that this entire infrastructure investment...almost all of it is allocated over five years, some is going to be 10 years...the thing to remember is it’s all paid for...and yet it is stretched out over a period of time, so it will create jobs.”

Axios co-founder & CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, who described the climate provisions in the infrastructure bill and the pending Build Back Better bill that are most impactful for the aviation industry.

  • “We’re not going to be able to fly big airplanes long distances on batteries or even hydrogen anytime in the foreseeable future, and because of that, we need to create sustainable aviation fuel. Today, that industry is tiny. The blender’s fuel tax credit would allow that industry to have certainty of investment.”

Thank you United Airlines for sponsoring this event.

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