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Biden administration announces $6 billion in clean energy funding

Historic amount signals what companies might expect from another four years of Biden.

Department of Energy headquarters

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/010110010101101

The Biden administration announced $6 billion in funding for projects that will decarbonize and modernize the U.S. industrial sector this week. The Department of Energy (DOE) will manage the funds, disseminating them to recipients in some of the highest emitting industries, including aluminum, cement and concrete, chemicals, iron and steel and food.

The DOE estimates that the projects will cut the equivalent of 14 million metric tons of CO2 emissions each year, once completed.

"Heavy industry like steel, cement and concrete account for nearly one-third of all U.S. emissions, and the sector’s emissions are some of the hardest to abate," said Angela Seligman, senior carbon-capture policy manager at Clean Air Task Force, in a statement.

The funding also appears to signal the potential financial opportunities available to the private sector if Biden is reelected in November.

The administration is taking care to ensure long-term financial viability of each project funded. Each of the 33 projects selected will enter a cooperative agreement with the DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), ensuring that everything from engineering design, development, permitting and construction will be coordinated in close partnership with the DOE in the official time frame, three to seven years.  

Each project selected is intended to be highly replicable, according to the DOE, essentially transforming each into a blueprint for future private sector ventures. The Biden administration is lowering barriers to entry for companies by funding projects that would otherwise be deemed too risky by investors. 

One company selected to receive funding is Diageo, a global liquor company, the company confirmed to GreenBiz. It will receive $75 million to replace its natural gas-fired heating at sites in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and Plainfield, Illinois, with onsite renewable energy and electric boilers in a partnership with Rondo Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The switch could save nearly 17,000 metric tons in emissions annually.

"The announcement from the Department of Energy marks a milestone for our North American operations and gives us the opportunity to incorporate innovative technologies into our production footprint to make our business more efficient, resilient and sustainable," said Marsha McIntosh-Hamilton, president of North America supply for Diageo North America, in an email. "Through our partnership with Rondo Energy, we’ll build a model that can be replicated across our supply operations in the U.S."

While unprecedented in size, this most recent news follows a string of funding announcements targeting the decarbonization of the private sector. In March alone, DOE announced:

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