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Energy & Sustainability Washington Update — June 2024

Businesses to Get Boost from $8.8B Home Energy Rebates Program

ML Strategies recently released the first of two updates on the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) 

Home Energy Rebates” program, which made available $8.8 billion in funds to help reduce US households’ energy bills. Separated into two rebate programs – the HOMES Rebate Program and the HEEHRA Rebate Program – Home Energy Rebates will be administered by the states based on individually designed plans within a framework defined and overseen by DOE. This first article provides a high-level overview of the two programs that are part of Home Energy Rebates and explains their interest not just for homeowners but also for businesses. The second article will provide in-depth explanations of the programs, covering details such as rebate amount, eligibility, and the application process.

Treasury Department Issues Guidance on Round Two of §48C Advanced Energy Tax Credit Program

The highly anticipated guidance for the second round of allocations (Round Two) under the US Treasury’s §48C Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Tax Credit program was released in May pursuant to IRS Notice 2024-36. Round Two will allocate nearly $6 billion, with approximately $2.5 billion going to projects located in energy communities, which are census tracts in which (1) no pre-IRA §48C projects are located and (2) a coal mine has closed after December 31, 1999, or a coal-fired electric generating unit has been retired after December 31, 2009, or that is directly adjoining to any of these census tracts. DOE will evaluate concept papers and applications across multiple criteria and policy factors prior to making allocation recommendations to the Treasury, including (1) commercial viability, (2) greenhouse gas emissions impacts, (3) strengthening US supply chains and domestic manufacturing for a net-zero economy, and (4) workforce and community engagement. On May 23, 2024, the 48C ECO Portal opened for concept paper submissions. The new concept paper templates (Clean Energy and Critical Materials Manufacturing and Recycling Projects and Industrial Decarbonization Projects) and datasheet document are available to preview and start collecting the needed information to submit a concept paper. Concept papers must be submitted on the portal no later than June 21, 2024. 

Read more about this opportunity in ML Strategies’ Insights Center.

DOE’s New Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation Gets Inaugural Board Members 

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has appointed the inaugural board of directors for the new Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation (FESI), which was authorized through the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act and is an independent nonprofit entity that supports DOE in its critical mission to ensure America's continued security and prosperity through transformative science and technology solutions for addressing energy and environmental challenges. Once established, FESI will help accelerate the commercialization of new and existing energy technologies by raising and investing funds through engagements with the private sector and philanthropic communities. The Foundation will help DOE provide additional resources, tools, and capacities for potential partners and communities across the country. 

New Federal Opportunity for Transmission Expansion 

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a preliminary list of 10 potential National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETCs) to accelerate the development of transmission projects in areas that present an urgent need for expanded transmission. The public comment period for NIETC will close at 5:00 pm ET on June 24, 2024. 

DOE also announced minimum eligibility criteria for direct loans under the Transmission Facility Financing (TFF) program. Supported by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the TFF program can finance the development of billions of dollars of transmission projects in designated NIETCs. Public input on the TFF program is due by July 31, 2024. 

Hot EPA Issues Heading Into the Election Year 

As we head into the 2024 election season, Congress and the executive branch continue to advance various policies related to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition to the EPA’s proposed budget for the fiscal year starting on October 1, 2024, numerous issues involving environmental policy are being discussed and scrutinized, such as national air quality standards, federal support for electric vehicles, funding programs created under the Inflation Reduction Act, and reducing emissions from power plants.

ML Strategies recently issued an alert exploring EPA-related topics expected to continue generating debate over the remainder of the year, with the outcome of the November congressional and presidential elections determining what to expect in 2025.

Regional-Scale Collaboration to Facilitate a Domestic Critical Minerals Future: Carbon Ore, Rare Earth, and Critical Minerals (CORE-CM) Initiative

The US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management issued a new Funding Opportunity Announcement for research and development for a regional-scale understanding of critical minerals prospectivity and potential materials that may be sourced from domestic secondary and unconventional feedstocks. The work is intended to contribute to the development of a framework that addresses economic and supply chain barriers, leads to pilot scale demos, and includes advanced carbon or critical mineral-bearing material products. 

Additional details are available on the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s Funding Opportunity Exchange. Full applications are due by June 24, 2024. 

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law & Inflation Reduction Act Opportunities

Visit our Energy Funding Matrix for a roundup of various federal clean energy funding and financing opportunities. We update the matrix on a biweekly basis and welcome any inquiries about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, along with other relevant federal opportunities, may impact your business or organization. 

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R. Neal Martin

ML Strategies - Senior Director of Government Relations

R. Neal Martin is a Senior Director of Government Relations at ML Strategies. He focuses on transportation, infrastructure, clean energy, trade, and federal appropriations, leveraging his many years of experience in government and government relations.