On March 22, EFI Founder & CEO Ernest Moniz testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on LIFT America: Revitalizing our Nation’s Infrastructure and Economy. The hearing focused on the recently introduced LIFT America Act, which calls for “$312 billion in clean energy, energy efficiency, drinking water, broadband, and health care infrastructure.” The bill is sponsored by all 36 democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Moniz testified alongside Tom Frieden, Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Michael O’Rielly, Former Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); and Tom Wheeler, Former Chairman at the FCC.
In his opening statement, Moniz underscored the central role of decarbonizing the electricity sector and how its infrastructure, especially the grid, is very exposed to the impacts of climate change.
“The electric grid is the ‘uber infrastructure,’ the backbone of our economy and social interactions, central to meeting health and safety needs, and critical to our national security,” Moniz commented. “It’s modernization must meet multiple objectives, from providing clean, reliable service to growing demand, to promoting social equity and inclusion. It also must ensure resilient performance in the face of a changing climate and increasing cyber threats while integrating distributed sources of clean electricity, as well as supporting broad connectivity throughout the system to enable smarter cities and communities.”
Moniz also highlighted the connections between grid modernization and electric vehicle infrastructure, noting that a move to a net-zero economy by mid-century will require electrification of nearly all light-duty vehicles, as well as significant percentages of other transportation subsectors.to support this demand growth, EV infrastructure must be scaled up rapidly in the next three to five years.
The issue of accelerating offshore wind deployment in the United States was another topic discussion, with Moniz highlighting the significant barriers to adoption, including long and uncertain permitting processes, high costs and insufficient financial incentives to build transmission lines to connect offshore wind to shore, and potential opposition from local stakeholders. He emphasized the importance of policy that highlights on-shore infrastructure including seaport facilities, as well as the significance of reliable domestic supply chains.
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