Federal Support of Alternative Energy Companies Crucial for Renewable Sector

Published on April 19, 2022

With the House of Representatives passing the America COMPETES Act, which seeks to make the U.S. more competitive with other countries including China, it also includes provisions from the CHIPS for America Act which would give $52 billion to semiconductor chip manufacturers with the goal of bringing the production of chips back to the U.S. as demand for the technology rises.

While the U.S. Congress funds billions in grants to chipmakers including Goliaths such as Micron and Samsung, many emerging alternative energy companies – who don’t have billions in the bank like the chipmakers – beg for their supper.

It’s time for Congress to back a ‘Renewables for America Act’ to provide upstart alternative energy companies the support they need to survive.  Biden’s White House has set a goal to reach 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035. This can only be achieved by investing in the companies that are actively producing the technology to produce meaningful emissions reductions in this decade.

Renewable energy companies are looking to Biden’s leadership to open up new doors for government research grants. Around the world, countries look to America as a model to emulate to produce and deploy clean technologies to build a sustainable future.  By bolstering domestic supply chains and manufacturing American-made, clean energy products to sell nationally and internationally, we will reach our goals of carbon neutrality.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that “clean energy spending earmarked by governments in response to the Covid-19 crisis has risen by 50% over the past five months and now stands at over USD 710 billion worldwide, though there are troubling imbalances between regions, according to the latest update of the IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Tracker. ”The IEA believes that  global investment in energy projects needs to more than double from its current level to $5 trillion a year by 2030 to meet net-zero emission goals by mid-century.  

Until significant environmental legislation is able to move forward on the federal level, the United States’ adoption of green policies will be a state-by-state affair, and NEPA could be a model to follow. The National Environmental Act (NEPA) is a federal law that requires all federal agencies to submit environmental impact statements for all activity that could affect the environment. 

New York State is seen as a global leader in energy storage technology, including applications in grid storage, transportation and power electronics. New York State is securing commercially ready technologies that will help grow a clean energy economy and improve the reliability, efficiency and overall performance of the state’s electric power delivery system.

On April 9th, Governor Hochul announced investments in clean energy infrastructure, climate resiliency and preservation. Hochul’s budget authorizes an additional $1.2 billion, for a total of $4.2 billion, for the landmark “Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act.” Earlier this year, Hochul called for New York to double its energy storage target to at least 6 GW by 2030 to help integrate significant new volumes of variable renewable energy resources.

If approved by the voters, New York’s Clean Water act would be the first such act since 1996. Investments from previous bond acts have yielded benefits for every corner of New York.  Governor Hochul is an advocate of the energy storage sector, realizing its important role in reducing costs, protecting the environment and improving the resilience and strength of the state’s infrastructure in the face of natural disasters and other emergencies. 

“Fueling” Alternative Energy Companies Sustains America

Alternative energy companies look to the states and country they serve to continue to invest in new battery technologies and energy storage systems. Alternative energy companies are developing working prototypes that demonstrate the ability of these advanced energy systems to harden the state’s electric grid and diversify transportation fuels. Without the support of State and/or Federal grants, many of these companies will not survive.

Our collective future requires clean air and our pathway to that environmentally-sound planet demands a global support of economically sound alternative energy plans. A ‘bet’ on clean energy through investments in renewable energy and energy storage is a wager that will deliver a cleaner planet that will thrive for current and future generations.

Ron MacDonald is a Grit Daily contributor and President and CEO of Zinc8 Energy Solutions (CSE: ZAIR), the leader in Zinc-Air battery technology. The Zinc-Air Flow Battery from Zinc8 Energy Solutions is an energy storage solution designed to serve a wide range of long duration applications for microgrids and utilities. He can be reached at: [email protected] and on LinkedIn.

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