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Podesta, Granholm and Levin talk energy

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm

Granholm speaks in February. Photo: Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Mike Levin sees his transmission and permitting legislation as groundwork for the next big climate and energy bill.

Why it matters: The Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration Act, which he floated last year with Rep. Sean Casten, is House Democrats' answer in the permitting reform debate on the Hill.

Driving the news: Levin spoke this morning at an Axios event that also featured Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and top Biden climate official John Podesta. Here are some highlights.

🔮 CETA futures: Levin gave a telling quote on how Democrats view the permitting debate: "It shouldn't be easier to have a multi-state pipeline project than a multi-state transmission project."

  • He likened CETA to the flurry of legislative proposals Democrats put on the table in the years before they passed the IRA.
  • "My experience — I've been at this five years now — is that you have to be opportunistic," he said.
  • "The things that we were able to do in the last Congress, whether the IRA or the infrastructure law, CHIPS, you name it, all was because we were prepared. In many cases … the foundation for those bills had already been written."
  • FERC, he said, won't be able to act on its own to accelerate transmission deployment: "They need new authority to be able particularly to cite multi-state, multi-gigawatt projects."

🦺 IRA safety: Podesta, who's about to succeed John Kerry as top climate diplomat, doesn't think Republicans will successfully repeal the IRA because the projects funded by its tax credits are "sticky."

  • "I think these tax credits are going to be very hard to rip out of the tax code. Once they're there, businesses are relying on them."
  • As for the IRA's grant programs, he said, a lot of money will soon "be obligated and out the door." He pointed specifically to EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

🗣️ Hydrogen balancing act: Podesta said he's "all about practicality" when it comes to the administration's guidance for the hydrogen tax credit.

  • "We want to get this right.… We're going to make sure that this industry works and it's producing hydrogen in an environmentally friendly way."

♨️ Feeling the heat: Granholm said she wants to press oil companies to invest in next-generation geothermal technologies.

  • "We have huge potential with advanced and enhanced geothermal in this nation, and they're in a perfect position to take advantage of that," she said.
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