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A Moon Shot to Solve the Climate Crisis

The feds make the largest energy investment since the Manhattan Project.

In celebration of Earth Day 2022, let’s remember the government just passed one of the largest clean energy bills in its history, ushering the country into a new era of clean energy research, development, and implementation.

With an industry-changing level of funding, the federal government is investing in clean energy technologies with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The law supports electricity grid updates now as well as research and development to revolutionize the way we acquire, store, and transport energy in the future.

The $1.2 trillion legislation includes clean energy provisions that build on the efforts of the Trump Administration’s Energy Act of 2020, which also updated energy research and development programs across the Department of Energy (DOE) with a focus on driving down the cost of next-generation technologies needed to reduce emissions.

Notably bipartisan in an era marked by stark political division, the legislation was supported by Senate leaders Schumer (D‑NY) and McConnell (R‑KY); senators including Bill Cassidy (R‑LA), Lisa Murkowski (R‑AK), Joe Manchin (D‑WV) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D‑RI) had a significant hand in the shaping of the bill, delivering benefits to their states as well as to key industries that will drive a clean energy future.

More than $62 billion has been allocated for clean energy, the largest investment by far in that area in American history. Clean energy, defined as energy that does not emit carbon into the atmosphere, ranges from nuclear energy to hydrogen power to renewables as well as efforts to decarbonize fossil fuel use using carbon capture and sequestration — literally containing carbon as it is emitted and using it or storing it underground.

Also significant in this law is the level of funding set aside for research and development, demonstration, and deployment across a variety of clean energy technologies. The aim of this historic investment is to create the energy generation, transmission, and use of the future, as well as to make current clean energy technologies more cost-effective and efficient.

Commenting on the investment, Lindsey Baxter Griffith, federal policy director at the nonprofit climate organization Clean Air Task Force, said, The provisions of the Energy Act of 2020 and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provide the foundation for building a decarbonized electricity grid and commercializing a full suite of critical carbon-free technologies.”

This investment, coupled with Congress’ recent appropriations bill and the Biden Administration’s fiscal year 2023 proposed budget, make steps toward the United States’ climate goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.