On the Grid: Carbon-Free Future 1/21/22

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This week marked the one-year anniversary of President Biden’s inauguration. We’ll leave the assessment of his record to historians and hot takes. What we know is that after on year in office, we have a lot of work ahead of us to help ensure that the investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law help get the clean energy technologies we need developed and to scale, there’s growing demand around the world for clean energy products and services like nuclear power plants, energy storage, electrolyzers for hydrogen, and electric vehicles among many items that US companies could build and export (with the assistance of the government), and there’s a lot more left to do – including getting a clean energy-heavy Build Back Better Act passed. 

We’ll leave the doom scrolling to Twitter, and focus on making actual progress. Amidst all the political noise, we should all take a moment to reflect on the historic accomplishments we’ve seen in the span of a single year. Through the American Rescue Plan, an aggressive vaccination strategy, and key investments, our economy grew at an unprecedented rate, dropping unemployment below 4%. Our economic progress is buttressed by the investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is repairing our crumbling infrastructure and laying the foundation for a clean energy transition that will benefit all Americans. We have a long way to go over the next three years, but let's not forget to look back and see how far we’ve come. 

1. Carbon-Free Europe Initiative Announces New Executive Director

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Third Way is very excited to launch Carbon-Free Europe, a new transatlantic initiative focused on building inclusive support for climate and clean energy policies across Europe and the United Kingdom. This week, CFE announced Suzana Carp as its new Executive Director. Suzana will be focusing on bridging the gap between technology and climate solutions particularly in the EU and its member states, as well as helping to identify opportunities for the US and EU to work together on clean energy innovation..

Suzana brings a wealth of experience across energy and environmental policy and advocacy in the EU. She’s joining Carbon-Free Europe from Bellona Europe, where she directed the advocacy strategy, developed external messaging. As part of this, she established policy priorities for the organization in its efforts to advocate for technical climate solutions, including hydrogen, a carbon border adjustment, negative emissions technologies, CCS, and more. Suzana previously served as the EU Engagement Lead for Sandbag Climate Campaign, a nonprofit climate policy think tank based in the UK. In addition, she’s served as both a fellow and civil servant in the EU Parliament and the Parliament of Romania. We are thrilled to work side-by-side with Suzana and the Carbon-Free Europe team to meet decarbonization goals on both sides of the Atlantic! 

2. Who’s moving the EV market?

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BloombergNEF expects global sales of electric passenger vehicles to surpass 10.5 million this year, about 4 million above 2021 levels. This tremendous shift is partly influenced by major policy decisions, but as the report notes, it’s increasingly driven by organic consumer demand.

But China still has  the biggest market for EVs, about 30% of the market share, with Europe following right behind at around 20%. 

With consumer demand steadily picking up and pushing the market forward, the US needs to act quickly to help capture market potential for EVs and expand innovative automotive manufacturing in the US. Not only do we have an opportunity to rapidly and effectively reduce emissions by deploying EVs, but we’ll also be reinvigorating our auto sector, expanding good-paying jobs for American workers, and securing a competitive edge in an industry for decades to come. 

3. New Event: Plugging In To Federal Clean Energy Innovation Programs

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On Monday, February 14, we’re hosting a conversation alongside the Clean Energy Business Network to explore the clean energy innovation life cycle within the United States. Our Plugging In To Federal Clean Energy Innovation Programs event will showcase a diverse set of experts from the Department of Energy (DOE), who will discuss the nature of their unique innovation programs and how clean energy businesses and entrepreneurs can plugin for new funding. 

We’ll also discuss how the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which invests $30 billion into clean energy innovation, and supports new and existing DOE programs focused on researching, developing, demonstrating, and deploying new clean energy technologies across the country.

This will be a fantastic and dynamic conversation for policymakers, researchers, advocates, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between. We hope to see you there!

Register HERE.

4. What We’re Reading

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  • Associated Press surveyed energy policies in all 50 states and found that over a majority plan on using nuclear power to help reduce their emissions. The Biden Administration has also touted nuclear power as a critical resource for helping reach our country’s net-zero goals, and the growing momentum in support of nuclear power is making way for the deployment of next-generation reactors.
  • In Grist, Zoya Teirstein chronicles Nebraska’s journey to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050. Nebraska is now the only Republican-controlled state in the US with plans to fully decarbonize its electricity sector by mid-century.
  • In POLITICO’s Weekly Transportation, we learned that transit agencies, bus manufacturers, and suppliers have come together to form a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Council to ensure federal investments in transportation include funding to deploy hydrogen vehicles. Hydrogen buses are zero-emission vehicles and can go as far as traditional gasoline buses before refueling, unlike battery-powered electric buses. 


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