In addition to committing to a HFC phase down, the United States has undertaken the biggest overhaul of energy policy in more than a decade with the passage of the Energy Act of 2020.
The act increases funding for a wide range of carbon mitigation projects. For example, funding for carbon capture, utilisation and storage activities has increased from $200 million per annum to more than a billion dollars.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has also been directed to lead a multi-agency program supporting technologies and methods for removing carbon dioxide from the air.
The act also creates a new multi-agency program aimed at reducing carbon emissions from industrial sources outside the electrical power sector, which are considered a particular challenge to reaching nationwide net-zero carbon emissions.
Within DOE, the act recommends that annual funding for these efforts ramp up from an initial level of $20 million to $150 million by fiscal year 2024.
The program is to be guided by a new independent advisory committee and complemented by a new DOE program to provide technical assistance to industry in implementing emissions-reducing technologies.
Although the act establishes no major new initiatives across DOE’s renewable energy programs, it recommends increasing their collective budgets from their current level of $646 million to $782 million. The act also provides updated direction for what kinds of projects the programs should support, detailing activities spanning from R&D through to demonstration projects and commercialization assistance.
Among the renewable energy programs, the act recommends the largest budget increase for geothermal energy, from a current level of $106 million to $170 million. It authorizes expanding the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) program from its current research and test site in Utah to the creation of two additional sites.