Climate 411

Success of Hydrogen Hubs requires a step increase in transparency

This blog was co-authored with Erik Kamrath, Hydrogen Advocate, Climate and Clean Energy at NRDC and Pete Budden, Advocate, Climate and Clean Energy at NRDC. 

Photo of hydrogen tanks at sunrise

After much anticipation, President Biden and the Department of Energy (DOE) announced on October 13th the winners of the DOE hydrogen hub (H2Hub) program — a program intended to leverage networks of “hydrogen producers, consumers and local connective infrastructure to accelerate the use of hydrogen as a clean energy carrier.” The program will provide a $7 billion funding stream created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to be split between seven H2Hubs spanning 16 states. The projects will include a mixture of hydrogen produced with renewable energy, hydrogen derived from natural gas with carbon capture, and other fuel sources including nuclear power and biomass. H2Hubs will also house a diversity of hydrogen end-uses, including in heavy industrial processes and long-haul transportation.

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Posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News / Comments are closed

Getting to net zero: New policy insights on the role of carbon management strategies

This blog was originally co-authored with Jake Higdon, former Manager for U.S. Climate Policy at EDF.

This summary for policymakers, based on new modeling from Evolved Energy Research, shares insights on the potential role of carbon removal and carbon capture strategies in reaching net-zero emissions in the U.S.

Emerging technologies to capture carbon are gaining traction at the federal level – evidenced by the new innovation investments in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Department of Energy (DOE)’s re-organized Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, and DOE’s Earthshot initiative to substantially cut the cost of carbon dioxide removal. However, it is hard to predict what role these technologies will play in reaching President Biden’s net-zero emissions goal when they are currently at different stages of development and vary widely in cost.

While harnessing widely available, cost-effective solutions we have at our fingertips right now is the unquestionable priority for tackling climate change, there are aspects of our carbon pollution problem that cannot be addressed with clean energy and efficiency solutions today. This is where technology-based carbon management,” which refers to strategies that use technologies to capture carbon pollution from both heavy industrial facilities and the atmosphere, can help us close this emissions gap. Importantly, carbon management also addresses what happens after carbon is captured, whether it’s stored in geologic formations underground or utilized to help produce low-carbon materials or synthetic fuels.

Carbon Capture vs. Carbon Removal

To better understand these technologies’ potential and inform federal innovation policy, EDF commissioned Evolved Energy Research, a leading energy systems modeler, to explore a series of carbon management scenarios.

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Posted in Policy, Science / Comments are closed

It’s been a big year for climate innovation. Where do we go next?

This blog was co-authored by Danielle Arostegui, Manager, U.S. Climate at EDF.

climate technologies

PC: iStock

2021 saw major momentum for U.S. climate innovation: the research, development and scaling up of new solutions needed to tackle climate pollution, create jobs across the U.S. and reduce energy costs. President Biden reiterated his pledge to deliver a $400 billion investment in climate innovation over 10 years. The Department of Energy, led by Secretary Jennifer Granholm, began creating and reorienting key innovation programs toward taking on the climate challenge. And Congress passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which makes significant investments in emerging solutions like energy storage, carbon dioxide removal, clean hydrogen and more, all of which may play a role in helping us achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

This momentum is buoyed by strong voter support for climate innovation across parties: A recent Morning Consult poll found that nearly three-quarters of adults support U.S. investment in climate innovation, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Meanwhile, we’re seeing a continued push in the Senate for the largest-ever climate bill, the Build Back Better Act, which would make historic investments in clean power, clean transportation and environmental justice, along with some targeted innovation funding.

The takeaway? This past year has created a significant and much-needed step forward in advancing climate innovation, which makes now a good time to take stock of the progress we’ve made and areas where we still have work to do to meet the climate test.

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Beyond R&D: Climate innovation policy can help the U.S. meet the moment

Together with Third Way, EDF co-hosted a Climate Week 2021 event on how U.S. climate innovation policy can accelerate a cleaner, stronger and more equitable economy. Here are four big takeaways.

(Caption: Speakers included Mandela Barnes, Lieutenant Governor, Wisconsin; Chris Deschene, Board Member, National InterTribal Energy Council; Jason Walsh, Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance; Jetta Wong, Senior Fellow, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and President, JLW Advising. The event was moderated by Natasha Vidangos, Senior Director, Climate Innovation and Technology at EDF, and Josh Freed, Senior Vice President, Climate and Energy Program at Third Way.)

Climate innovation is a powerful tool that can create high-quality jobs, improve the quality of life for all communities and catalyze the breakthroughs needed to reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050. To take advantage of the full opportunity, however, we need strong policies and approaches now that can deliver on all of these challenges, as a recent Climate Week event hosted by Environmental Defense Fund and Third Way made clear.

Innovation in climate technologies includes many stages of development, from research and development through to demonstration and deployment. The U.S. is poised to make major investments in this area to combat climate change: President Biden has pledged to deliver the largest-ever federal investment in clean energy innovation, and the infrastructure and reconciliation packages currently under negotiation in Congress contain large amounts of funding, including specific investments in demonstration and deployment of key technologies. But these investments can feel abstract. What would a strong push for climate innovation mean for U.S. workers and communities, and how can we design these policies to deliver the maximum benefits for all?

Here are four major takeaways from the event, which brought together perspectives from government, labor and advocacy.

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Posted in Energy, Jobs, News / Comments are closed