How President Trump and Congress Can Make Energy Infrastructure Great Again
President Trump has been vocal on the need to improve America’s infrastructure. Given his background as a businessman and high profile for building things, upgrading the nation’s infrastructure has been a natural fit. Much of the public dialogue and the President’s announced priorities, however, focus exclusively on improving roads and bridges.
But the need for modernizing our energy infrastructure is just as pressing, and there is broad and growing bipartisan support for including energy in an infrastructure plan.
Recognizing this interest from both sides of the aisle, AEE released recommendations on harnessing all energy technologies to improve American energy infrastructure and accelerate economic growth. These recommendations embrace the vision to encourage private capital to invest in infrastructure upgrades. AEE believes that all advanced energy technologies can contribute to this vision, including renewable generation, advanced transmission, electric vehicles, non-wires solutions, and energy efficiency technologies.
Congress – whether in the halls of the Capitol or on campaign trails – has called for years for an all-of-the-above energy approach to promote a growing American economy. The advanced energy industry has proudly been a vital part of that strategy, growing into a $200 billion industry supporting more than 3 million jobs across the country. By removing barriers to energy infrastructure investment, we can, as we wrote in The Hill, “Make Energy Infrastructure Great Again,” while supporting more jobs in communities that need them.
AEE’s policy recommendations are below, and the full policy paper, with more detail, can be downloaded here:
STREAMLINE REGULATIONS TO PROMOTE ADVANCED ENERGY DEPLOYMENT
- Enhance coordination and establish targets to reduce the average length of federal environmental review for advanced energy projects to 24 months from the current average of 70 months
- Grant federal “backstop” authority to FERC for FAST Act infrastructure transmission projects
MAKE USE OF ADVANCED TRANSMISSION TECHNOLOGIES AND NON-WIRES ALTERNATIVES IN GRID MODERNIZATION
- Encourage greater consideration of advanced transmission and non-wires alternatives and require FERC to collect data and report metrics regarding the frequency of non-wires alternatives and advanced technologies in transmission planning
SUPPORT LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE MODERNIZATION
- Pass legislation to enable taxable Qualified Infrastructure Bonds, allowing the private sector to finance state and local public infrastructure projects
- Require recipients of federal funding or competitive grants for upgrades at U.S. ports to consider port electrification and/or shore power
ACCELERATE TRANSPORTATION ELECTRIFICATION
- Amend federal law to allow electric vehicle charging stations at interstate highway rest stops
- Create incentives for private companies to build electric vehicle charging infrastructure in national priority corridors
- Promote alternative financing mechanisms to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles
- Expand funding for Low or No Emission Vehicle Program for transit buses
PROMOTE ENERGY EFFICIENCY
- Support the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESCs), which enable the federal government to partner with the private sector to modernize federal infrastructure and improve the efficiency of federal facilities through innovative financing
- Modernize America’s Schools with Private Sector Financing: Leverage private capital through public private partnerships to provide facility renewal, infrastructure upgrades, and new technology to modernize rural, urban and suburban schools
Access to affordable and reliable electricity has been a hallmark of economic growth in the American economy. The electrification of America during the 20th century enabled this growth, and energy innovation still presents an opportunity today. As the President and Congress set about the task of upgrading the country’s infrastructure for the 21st century and beyond, modernizing energy infrastructure deserves consideration among the nation’s priorities.