ICYMI: Secretary Granholm, Clean Energy Industry Leaders Underscore How Clean Energy Technology is Here and Ready to Deliver for Working People and Businesses Alike

Clean Energy Business Leaders Discuss How President Biden’s Clean Energy Plan Will Put this Already Booming Industry into Hyperdrive

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm held a roundtable discussion with clean energy leaders from across the nation to discuss how they are ready to put President Biden’s climate plan to work, which will boost the American economy as a whole, cut costs for families, and create millions of good paying clean energy jobs. Quickly deploying this technology to communities across the nation is the best way to protect our national security, advance real energy independence, and stop the worst of the climate crisis. These business leaders have seen firsthand what clean energy investments can do for their companies, communities, and employees, and know that additional investments will drive prosperity and opportunity.

Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm opened the event, highlighting the urgency with which Congress must act to save people money at the pump, revitalize the power grid, and secure true energy independence through clean energy. She addressed the group, saying “this is an example of what the clean energy future looks like. It is all kinds of businesses, all kinds of jobs, for all kinds of people, in all pockets of America […] This is an amazing moment for the U.S., for the economy, for people’s pocketbooks.” Granholm noted that we are on “war-time footing,” emphasizing that rapidly accelerating clean energy is an essential and immediate priority for national security.

Below are some highlights from the event. You can view a recording of the event here.

John Podesta, Climate Power Advisory Board member and founder of the Center for American Progress, emphasized that transitioning off of fossil fuels is critical to national security. He also called out the oil and gas industry’s relentless profiteering, urging the industry to use its power to reduce the cost burden on working Americans.

  • “Security is ultimately going to come from this transition to clean energy.”

  • “The oil and gas industry is […] sitting on very very very record, eye-popping profits. They need to put that capital to work to try to relieve the pressure on the American people.”

APEX Clean Energy CEO Mark Goodwin discussed how his time in the Navy opened his eyes to the importance of energy security and how that experience drives his work in the clean energy sector.

  • “We are bringing passion and professionalism to our mission which is to accelerate the shift to clean energy. For me that started way back in the ‘80s as a midshipman at the Naval Academy fighting the Cold War. Where I went in the fleet after graduating was three cruises to the Persian Gulf and what I took from that was how important energy was – how important energy security was and how, if we can develop our own resources we can be […] a far away from sending our young men and women to the Persian Gulf.  That’s what APEX Clean Energy is about.”

  • “We just completed last year the largest wind farm in the state of Michigan, Isabella Wind in Isabella County. Almost four hundred megawatts […] and that’s powering factories in the state of Michigan – Ford, GM, and the electric cars that those companies are manufacturing.”

  • “The exciting part is where the industry is going. We are going from electrifying everything that is traditional and powered by fossil fuels like in your home to trying to electrify industrial processes.”

  • “Right now the Biden administration is working on very important climate provisions and, as the other panelists have said, those are so important to getting a long-term availability of capital to continue to improve the supply chain in the United States, to bring jobs, and to lower costs and enable wind [and] solar storage and green fuels to bring a better low-carbon future for the U.S.”

BlocPower Founder Donnel Baird knows that clean energy is not just a necessity in the fight against the climate crisis, it’s also an opportunity to lift up communities by providing good paying jobs for at-risk communities. Both job creation and the climate crisis are driving his work.

  • “No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, we can all agree that a good job is a great way to lift people up and bring this country back.”

  • “One of the things that has been really interesting about us as a partnership with the Biden Administration, we trained and hired 800 low income individuals as part of a civilian climate corps program in New York City. The Biden Admin said, ‘We think that there’s a relationship between creating jobs are reducing the gun violence that plagues many cities across America over the last two years due to the pandemic.’”

  • “We think that there are sacred institutions in every community, whether it’s urban, or rural, or suburban, and we think that the opportunity to create jobs in every community, converting our most sacred American institutions–our churches, our mosques, or synagogues, or homes–from fossil fuels to clean energy is the future, and we think it’s here now.”

CEO of FERVO Energy Tim Latimer, leader in geothermal technology, knows that the geothermal industry, and clean energy industry as a whole, has the potential to be a massive employer of former oil and gas workers, putting the skills they used working with fossil fuels to work to electrify America. Latimer said:

  • “This story about and discussion about workforce transition is one that is quite personal to me. I grew up in Texas, my first job was in the oil and gas industry. And I found myself over a decade ago, when I became passionate about climate change, a little bit lost on how I could make that transition to that workforce. When I discovered geothermal and realized that the skills I developed as a drilling engineer could find a place in the clean energy transition I was very excited about it, and that’s led me on a long journey to founding this company and building out what FERVO does today in the geothermal sector. And it’s a very great overlap for the skills of our talented oil and gas workers.”

  • “It’s a 24/7 resource. It’s a great complement to wind, solar, and batteries to get us to have a fully decarbonized electric grid. And these rely on some of the tech advancements we already know we’ve done […] If we seize this moment, we’re gonna be the world leader in developing geothermal just like we have been in oil and gas for over a century.”

Arrival Head of Federal Affairs and Policy Clarence Tong knows that electrifying America must include our nation’s industrial sector. Arrival’s mission is to reduce emissions and pollution by electrifying commercial and passenger vehicles, while creating thousands of good paying, local jobs.

  • “Today, trucks and buses represent only 4% of vehicles on the road, but contribute nearly a quarter of vehicle emissions. Arrival shares President Biden’s and Secretary Granholm’s vision to tackle the urgent climate crisis, make our cities better places to live with cleaner air, and grow the American economy by creating new jobs and by investing in an electric vehicle future. And this is especially important as fuel costs continue to rise.”

  • “Our products are made in microfactories. These are low cap, small footprint production facilities that can be quickly stood up to serve our customers. This decentralized production model benefits more people in more places, allows for local hiring of talent, and creates good paying jobs.”

  • “There’s much more to do, and Congress can help get more electric vehicles on the road. President Biden’s clean energy and climate agenda would expand EV passenger tax credits as well as derive down the upfront cost of large commercial vehicles and operators by up to 30%. We have seen the demand for commercial EV and passenger products, but the expected cost savings are also significant. Reports are finding that it’s cheaper to drive an EV than a gas powered vehicle when you factor in savings in operating costs and maintenance. You can save families up to $216 per month in fuel costs.”

ABB Vice President of External Affairs Asaf Nagler understands that the $7.5 billion investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will make impactful expansions in electric vehicles and charging for these vehicles.

  • “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law does in fact lay the foundation for this transition, which we certainly believe will be transformative.

  • “The industry and the market is already rising to the occasion, to the moment that we see for the electric vehicle charging and vehicles… [ABB] is going to be growing our manufacturing operations to provide a multitude of charging options for consumers and vehicle operators.”

ESS Inc. CEO Eric Dresselhuys helps fill in the gap in storage after generating power from clean energy sources. With the help of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, more manufacturing on long duration batteries will help with production and expand consumption of clean energy – making it more accessible throughout the country.

  • “We have a challenge with electricity – we need a magic machine to take it from when it’s generated to when it’s needed, and that’s what ESS works on… Our batteries are shipping today to meet this challenge not only for storage but for building resiliency and reliability into the grid.”

  • “This is a whole category that we can win in the United States because it’s technology based, not mineral based… The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has some great incentives to help incentivize the building of domestic production. There’s about $3 billion to support manufacturing of long duration batteries in the US and that’s something that we can act on now.

  • We have places now where the grid prices go negative routinely during the day because we’re just mismatched on production versus consumption.”

LanzaJet CEO Jimmy Samartzis understands that the aviation sector is playing a role in greenhouse emissions, which is why LanzaJet has committed to lower emissions while also using the same infrastructure available to airline companies right now.

  • “Aviation as a sector contributes 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions… it’s about the size of Brazil in terms of emissions. The aviation sector has a commitment to decarbonize by 2050. The sector itself has said very clearly that the only way to get there is through sustainable aviation fuel… Here in the US, we’re seeing support, but we also need additional support.”

  • “LanzaJet has been working for the last 12 years in developing new technology… We are in the process of building our first refinery in the state of Georgia. It is the world’s first refinery in taking ethanol and converting it to sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel. It mimics the properties of jet fuel. So, the same energy density, if not better, and the same quality characteristics except for it can achieve a 70-90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and carbon. Airlines are ready for it.”

  • “In January, we announced a new project in the state of Illinois. A 120 million gallon a year SAF production plant in partnership with a company called Marquis, which has the largest ethanol dry mill in the United States.”

Navajo Power Senior Counsel Shaun Deschene knows that Tribal Lands are a significant contributor to the country’s energy portfolio. Navajo Power has done essential work to ensure the good-paying jobs created by clean energy investments go to people in Tribal communities who are often providing the land and on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

  • “Tribes hold more than 56 million acres of land, which holds a significant portion of this nation’s natural resources and have contributed significantly to the U.S.’s energy portfolio in the form of traditional energy resources.”

  • “Navajo Power is stepping in to replace those [coal factory] jobs and help the transition to clean energy to create a more permanent economy on tribal lands to attack the intractable, intergenerational poverty that tribes are mired in. So the federal government is currently supporting our efforts, and we can all help in that effort with the Justice40 initiative.“

Qcells Director of Strategy and Public Affairs NA Scott Moskowitz knows that the public overwhelmingly supports moving away from fossil fuels and investing in clean energy resources like solar power. Doing so will benefit not just our environment, but our economy, energy security, job market, and public health.

  • “[Solar energy is] an opportunity to dramatically improve our energy security, to very quickly reshore these critical supply chains. The solar energy sector has an average annual growth rate of 42 percent. The demand for solar is not slowing down. It will not for a very long time, especially as the public demands climate action.”

  • “With these policies, we can lower our energy costs, we can grow our supply chains, we can create jobs. But without it, our clean energy future and energy security is at risk.”

CubicPV CEO Frank van Mierlo knows that solar power is a critical part of the country’s transition to a clean energy economy. That’s why CubicPV has taken innovative steps to make solar energy as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Said innovation, he said, will be able to go even with investments from the Solar Energy Manufacturing Act.

  • “When we make the transition to clean energy, solar will have to carry a large part of the energy supply because it’s the most abundant energy resource on the planet.”

  • “Today, most solar panels are 20 percent and we can do much better than that. And thanks to about $200 million worth of innovation and state efforts both in Texas and Massachusetts, we have made two inventions that make a Tannum module possible. Tannum will increase the efficiency of solar panels to 30 percent, which means less land, less fracking, less cabling, and ultimately, a lower cost of solar that is so essential if you want to charge batteries, charge electric cars, make hydrogen.”

  • “You mentioned the Solar Energy Manufacturing Act, and I’d just like to point out that that is an inspiring piece of legislation. Should we pass that, then America will become the most cost-effective place to manufacture solar on the planet. A large part of the $200 billion manufacturing industry will come to the United States, and clean energy will become even cheaper, which really helps the energy transition. So I really want to commend the Department of Energy for working on that together with Senator Ossoff and others, and I hope we can get it passed.”