Energy solutions will play a vital role in the American pandemic recovery. A new bill in the House of Representatives is a perfect example of how energy storage in particular will be key.
Just last week, the House passed the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act. The bill, which now will make its way to the Senate, includes a number of sustainable solutions and investments to reboot and reignite the American economy after months of uncertainty. While improving, the US economy is still struggling. There are still millions of Americans unemployed, while the true effects of the pandemic may still be felt in the weeks and months ahead.
The version of the bill that passed the House last week is really a read-all catalog of renewable energy options that will power the way forward. Nuclear, wind, geothermal, solar, and energy storage are all mentioned, as well as specific language addressing plans to improve corporate accountability, clean-up efforts, and other environmental justice issues that have been overlooked for decades.
Crucially, energy storage is mentioned multiple times as a key component of implementing renewable energy at the household, municipal, grid, and national levels. One of the most important aspects of the bill is to increase investment in research and development to improve battery capacity and reduce long-term costs that will make the technology more suitable for more communities. Affordability and access improvements over the next five to ten years will help make use of energy storage technology at all levels more equitable.
The bill has been warmly received by many of the representatives in the House, as well as the World Wildlife Fund. Still, there’s room to improve. Some critics of the bill as it is written say that it includes far too much money earmarked for fossil fuel companies, though advocates for that spending say that to fail to support natural gas and oil companies could lead to a steady rise in energy expenses that could rock American families already facing economic hardship. Energy solutions that address an aging grid, skewed spending of subsidies for oil, and investment in research will all help those same families in the long term.
In short, the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act is a brilliant piece of legislation that saw its fair share of watered-down caution before being passed. As important as this progress is, the current state of our climate and the energy environment in the US demands far more action. It will take an equal and combined effort from the federal government, states, and private companies to make the progress we need in order to reduce the effects of climate change in the years to come.
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