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A triple win for renewables and electrification

Nov 21, 2023
Biden meets with factory workers

President Biden in August with workers at a Milwaukee plant making generators for the wind energy sector. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration late last week unveiled a triple win for industries on the cutting edge of renewable energy and electrification.

Why it matters: President Biden is offering his clear vote of confidence in the energy transition amid a series of bad news cycles for producers of low-carbon energy and tech products.

Driving the news: The Energy Department put out new proposed rule changes that would let the government approve solar and wind projects at a faster clip, and the Treasury issued new IRA guidance that stands to benefit renewable energy developers.

  • The DOE rule change would create a NEPA categorical exclusion — aka faster environmental review process — for battery and flywheel-based energy storage projects.
  • The change would also expand existing categorical exclusions to apply to transmission line work to qualify if it's for lines longer than 20 miles, and certain solar PV projects larger than 10 acres.
  • Treasury's guidance, meanwhile, clarifies what "energy property" is eligible for the 48C advanced energy credit, including battery storage projects.
  • There were clear benefits for the wind world in this update, as the Treasury said 48C can be used for undersea cables used in offshore wind and power conditioning stations typical of land-based turbines.

Yes, and: DOE also offered $169 million to heat pump manufacturers under the Defense Production Act — part of a Biden maneuver to use the 1950 wartime law to produce more of the energy-saving tech at home.

Between the lines: This is a bit of a Thanksgiving news dump given the rough stories that renewables producers (and EV manufacturers) have been dealing with in the press, rightfully or not.

  • Yet Biden pressing forward indicates that the federal policy tailwind supporting U.S. decarbonization industries remains incredibly strong.

What we're watching: We're still waiting on the thorniest aspects of IRA implementation — namely, the guidance documents for the 45V hydrogen credit and the definition of "foreign entity of concern" in the 30D consumer EV credit.

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