Today, the United States faces a period of economic anxiety brought about by widening inequality, globalization, and technological transformation, made all the more acute by a global pandemic. This anxiety has heightened political appeals to prioritize domestic industry, combat economic adversaries, and protect American jobs. The advanced energy industry is uniquely positioned to help address this anxiety by creating middle-class jobs throughout the United States in a sector that’s poised for sustained and accelerating growth as the global economy transitions to clean, reliable, affordable resources. But it will take policy leadership to make the United States the arsenal of advanced energy prosperity. Here’s how.
Policies at the local, state, and federal level are helping to move America toward advanced energy. More are needed to ensure that transition is swift, affordable, and complete. But even as the U.S. moves to deploy more wind and solar, save energy through efficient appliances, modernize the electric grid, and drive electric, there’s no guarantee the solar panels, wind turbines, appliances, EVs, or other advanced energy technologies will be made in America. The U.S. has a number of areas of domestic strength in advanced energy manufacturing, such as wind components, transportation technologies, and an array of energy efficiency (EE) products. But other segments of the industry have migrated, in part or whole, overseas.
The advanced energy industry is built on a far-reaching supply chain, which has helped lower costs and accelerate the clean energy transition. That said, at AEE we are committed to growing advanced energy manufacturing in America to create new middle-class jobs, support responsible supply chains, and protect U.S. security interests. That is why AEE established its newest Working Group – Advanced Energy Manufacturing & Infrastructure – earlier this year, inaugurating the group with a Manufacturing Forum that brought together representatives from the White House, Congress, and a cross-section of our industry.
Growing domestic manufacturing while ensuring this energy transition continues in a swift and affordable way will require a balanced, multi-faceted approach by policymakers. To help guide that approach, AEE is pleased to release “Advanced Energy Manufacturing: An Economic Opportunity for the United States.” This paper highlights proposals in the American Jobs Plan, proposed by President Biden this spring, that will help to develop domestic manufacturing, and expands upon them. It is built around four Focus Areas:
- Supporting Domestic Advanced Energy Manufacturing. AEE is advocating for policies that directly support the development and manufacture of advanced energy technology in the U.S. Such policies include extending the 48C tax credit, creating a new office at the Department of Commerce to focus on domestic industrial capacity, expanding the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program at DOE, and providing more access to capital in order to finance everything from foundational R&D to commercialization of advanced energy technology.
- Stimulating Demand for Domestic Advanced Energy Products. AEE also backs policies that help spur demand for advanced energy technology, with additional incentives for U.S.-made products. As a foundation, we support policies such as a national clean energy and efficiency standard and the extension of existing tax credits for advanced energy products and projects (such as the PTC and ITC). On top of that foundation, policymakers should layer an additive tax credit for products and projects that meet reasonable domestic content standards.
- Bolstering Distributed Resources and the Distribution Grid. The distribution grid, and the technologies that connect to it, from rooftop solar and EV infrastructure to behind-the-meter storage and energy efficient appliances, are a critical but often overlooked part of our advanced energy system. AEE is committed to making sure these technologies get a fair shake in federal energy and infrastructure policy – particularly since many are made in America. To that end, we support proposals such as the creation of a Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator, $150 billion for upgrades and modernization of public schools, public housing, and federal buildings, and the established of a new Transportation Electrification office at DOE with a focus on grid integration.
- Building a Circular Economy With Responsible Minerals Supply. Advanced energy supply chains rest on a set of critical minerals. To build a domestic industry with a reliable supply of resources, AEE supports policies that will help expand our domestic supplies through efficient reuse, recycling, and responsible development. To that end, we support proposals that would appropriate additional dollars to the Critical Mineral Institute at the Ames National Laboratory, ensuring loans for recycling and reuse projects, and prioritize the development of a circular economy, which is particularly critical for EVs.
AEE looks forward to working with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in the Administration in order to advance this set of policies that will bolster advanced energy manufacturing in America. To learn more about our approach, click below. If your company is interested in joining the AEMI Working Group, click here to be connected with a member of our team.