U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee Holds Another Hearing On Electrification

On May 5, members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on “The CLEAN Future Act: Driving Decarbonization of the Transportation Sector.”

The CLEAN Act is comprehensive legislation to reach a 100 percent “clean” economy no later than 2050.

The Subcommittee focused on decarbonizing the transportation sector through investments in electric vehicles and EV infrastructure.

Witnesses were Amol Phadke, M.S., Ph.D., Staff Scientist and Deputy Department Head, International Energy Analysis Department, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Joe Britton, Executive Director, Zero Emissions Transportation Association; Josh Nassar, Legislative Director, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW); David Jankowsky, Founder and President, Francis Energy; Michelle Michot Foss, Ph.D., Fellow in Energy & Minerals, Baker Institute for Public Policy, Center for Energy Studies, Rice University; and AJ Siccardi, President, Metroplex Energy.

In his opening statement, Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. said, “When charging stations are as ubiquitous as gas stations, then consumers will have a choice, and we truly will be in a position to win the future.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) asked hearing witnesses whether they would support setting aside funds for small businesses to install alternative energy infrastructure at their retail locations, an EMA transportation top priority.

Click Here to read EMA’s transportation policy issue brief.

EMA argues that maintaining a strong infrastructure for liquid fuels as well as support for small business fuel marketers will allow America to continue winning the present and respond effectively to future disasters.

Metroplex Energy President AJ Siccardi said that businesses must be allowed pathways to compete and, “…there are several impediments that make it challenging for fuel retailers to locate a pathway to profitability with respect to EV charging. Most of these impediments involve an electricity market structure that was not designed for – and is not surprisingly incompatible with – the retail fuel market. Foremost among these headwinds is the threat of regulated utilities making use of their status as monopolies to gain a competitive edge over private businesses. Throughout the country today, for example, regulated utilities are seeking to convince public utility commissions that they should be able to charge all their ratepayers – regardless of income – a higher dollar figure on their monthly electric bill in order to underwrite the utilities’ investment in EV charging stations. Private companies like RaceTrac do not have access to such a pool of risk-free capital. What’s more, many regulated utilities want to bill EV charging station owners more money for electricity than their own cost to power their utility-owned chargers. If these efforts persist, fuel retailers will not consider EV charging stations to be an attractive investment. No amount of grant money or tax incentives will change that fundamental reality.”

Additionally, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) reintroduced “The New Opportunities to Expand Healthy Air Using Sustainable Transportation (No Exhaust) Act,” this week which authorizes more than $7 billion per year in grants and rebates over the next decade for states to install electric vehicle networks for cars and trucks.

Details include: $2 billion per year for the deployment of EV charging equipment; $2.5 billion per year for large-scale projects to electrify the transportation sector; $2.5 billion per year to accelerate the domestic manufacturing of EVs; $100 million per year for a program providing rebates to eligible entities that install publicly accessible EV supply equipment and $96 million per year for the deployment of EVs in disadvantaged and underserved communities.

The bill would also require a challenge assessment for expanding electric vehicle access to underserved and disadvantaged communities, including the number of existing and planned Level 2 charging stations and DC FAST charging stations for commercial fleets and for heavy-duty electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urged EPA to adopt a national emission standard that would essentially ban internal combustion engine vehicles.

Click Here to read the press release.

In related news, Politico reported that although President Biden says ethanol has an important role in his reduced emissions goals, the President’s transportation plan leaves ethanol with only a small slice of the budget package and the industry has turned to Members of Congress to fight for their place in the plan.

 Click Here for the story.

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