The bill covers a number of areas within energy infrastructure. In terms of physical transmission, the most significant provision impacting states is not actually a funding provision. The bill would reduce state authority when it comes to electric transmission infrastructure siting, potentially allowing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to overrule a state’s decision if the Department of Energy determines the line is part of a National Interstate Electric Transmission Corridor. More specifically on the investment front, the bill would authorize $10 million per year through fiscal 2026, along with as much as $2.5 billion in loans from the Treasury Department, for an Energy Department program to support construction of nonfederal electric transmission lines and other facilities by entering into capacity contracts and offering loans.
One item of note impacting current energy infrastructure is a $6 billion fund to help maintain the country’s fleet of existing nuclear reactors, which provide about 19% of our electricity today, all at zero carbon emissions. The bill would also authorize $13 billion over five years for grants to stakeholders to improve resiliency to disruptive events including natural disasters.
On the research side, the bill provides $6 billion relating to batteries, both the provision of materials as well as manufacturing and the eventual recycling of those containing critical minerals. It also provides $6 billion for research into carbon capture and storage as well as $8 billion for hydrogen and its ability to serve as energy source, and just over $3 billion for research into advanced nuclear reactors.
Though not directly related to current energy infrastructure, the bill would authorize $11.3 billion for the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund for fiscal 2022, which would be available until expended. The funding would be used to provide grants to states and tribes for reclamation projects of mine lands abandoned or left inadequately restored before Aug. 3, 1977.
DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which provides funding to states and tribes via formula to aid in the reduction of energy costs for low-income households by increasing the efficiency of their homes, was provided $3.5 billion. Relatedly, the bill creates a revolving loan program within the State Energy Program, funded at $250 million for FY 2022, aimed at conducting energy audits, upgrades, and retrofits. The Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services would receive $500 million over the course of five years to states and tribal nations to fund home energy assistance programs for households in need.
The DOE offers a fact sheet on the bipartisan infrastructure deal.