House Democrats release massive EV grant plan

Source: By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2020

House Energy and Commerce Democrats late last night unveiled a major bill to promote the wide-scale deployment of an electric vehicle network as part of their goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The bill, H.R. 5545, from Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), would authorize more than $6 billion annually during the next decade in rebates and grants to encourage states to deploy and construct a charging network and other infrastructure.

The measure is one of nine announced last night for inclusion in a massive markup tomorrow morning, including proposals aimed at increasing compensation for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission employees and incentivizing EV school bus usage.

“The energy sector powers our modern life, and is the linchpin to tackling climate change and decarbonizing every other sector of our economy,” Rush, along with Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), said in a joint statement.

“It’s for exactly these reasons we are taking up nine bills to reduce our carbon footprint, create jobs and improve our energy infrastructure,” they said.

Rush’s bill is sure to become a foundational piece of an effort by Energy and Commerce Democrats to achieve net-zero emissions across the economy in the next 30 years. The transportation sector represents the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the United States.

Indeed, Energy and Commerce Democrats this afternoon plan to unveil a legislative framework for addressing climate change.

In the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has proposed doling out some $454 billion into a rebate program to swap out gas power vehicles with zero-emission ones (E&E Daily, Oct. 25, 2019).

Other provisions in Rush’s bill would authorize:

  • $2.5 billion in state grants for “large-scale” electric vehicle projects.
  • $2 billion in state grants for other EV deployment.
  • $2.5 billion in grants to encourage the domestic manufacturing of EV parts.
  • $125 million in grants to help states update their state conservation plans to include an energy transportation plan.

The bill would also set aside $100 million in rebates for states and local communities to build publicly accessible charging stations or other advanced vehicle infrastructure.

To promote federal investment in EVs, the bill would set a gradual requirement that all federal vehicles purchased meet a standard of zero emissions, with 100% of the federal fleet for light-duty vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2050. That same curve would set medium- and heavy-duty vehicles at 50% zero-emissions by 2050.

The legislation would direct the Department of Energy to develop a model building code for homes and commercial buildings to better integrate EV charging equipment within a year.

It would also amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act to encourage states to stimulate and invest in EV deployment and infrastructure construction.

To do so, the bill contains language to authorize utilities to “recover from ratepayers any capital, operating expenditure, or other costs of the electric utility relating to load management, programs, or investments associated with the integration of electric vehicle supply equipment onto the grid.”