To boost the production of heat pumps in the United States, President Joe Biden will allocate $169 million from last year’s climate legislation to fund nine manufacturing projects, as announced by the Energy Department on Friday.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Under the emergency authority of the Defense Production Act (DPA) from the Cold War era, which Biden invoked on the grounds of climate change, the awards were granted to enhance investment in clean energy technology.
In a statement, Ali Zaidi, Biden’s national climate adviser, stated, “The President is using his wartime emergency powers under the Defense Production Act to bolster American manufacturing of clean technologies and reinforce our energy security.”
Heat pumps operate by transferring thermal energy, enabling more efficient heating and cooling of homes and businesses without the need to generate new heat.
This announcement reflects the administration’s ongoing efforts to encourage the adoption of more efficient home appliances and has elicited strong opposition from the American Gas Association, a lobby for the natural gas industry.
President Joe Biden will use special wartime powers to boost US production of heat pumps, funding nine manufacturing projects with $169 million.
Heat pumps can heat and cool homes and businesses more efficiently by using thermal transfer, which moves heat from one area to another rather than generating new heat (file photo)
Expressing disappointment, AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert stated, “We are deeply disappointed to see the Defense Production Act, intended as a vital tool to advance national security against serious external threats, being used to advance a policy agenda contradictory to our nation’s strong energy position. It is being used as a tool.”
Harbert emphasized the importance of natural gas for emissions reductions and energy system resiliency, expressing that “the industry should not be unfairly undermined through abuse of the Defense Production Act.”
The primary component of natural gas is methane, and approximately 60 percent of American homes use it for space and water heating, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
The Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling of buildings in the US accounts for more than 35 percent of the nation’s energy consumption.
In comparison to gas boilers, heat pumps can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50 percent, as stated by the agency.
The recent funding allocation is part of the Biden administration’s broader efforts to promote more efficient home appliances, following proposals for stricter standards for water heaters and dishwashers.
Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm remarked, “Enhancing the availability of American-made electric heat pumps in the market will enable families and businesses to save money through efficient heating and cooling technology.”
The funding will be awarded to nine manufacturers with facilities across the U.S.
This Armstrong International plant in Michigan is one of nine manufacturing plants that will receive an injection of federal funds to boost production
John Podesta, Biden’s senior adviser for clean energy innovation and implementation, noted that the DPA funds for heat pumps demonstrate that “President Biden is treating climate change as a crisis.”
He added, “These awards will promote domestic manufacturing, create well-paying jobs, and enhance American competitiveness in the industries of the future.”
The allocated funds will benefit manufacturers such as Armstrong International in Michigan, Honeywell International in Louisiana, and Ice Air in South Carolina.
In at least two instances, the funding will support the construction of new factories: a Mitsubishi Electric US plant in Kentucky and a gradient factory in Michigan.
The administration projects that the funding will contribute to the creation of approximately 1,700 new jobs.
The Energy Department indicated that another round of DPA investments is anticipated in early 2024.
President Biden has utilized his wartime powers under the DPA on several occasions during his tenure.
In March, he requested the DPA to allocate $50 million for the domestic and Canadian production of printed circuit boards, citing their significance for national defence.
Furthermore, he has invoked DPA powers in a recent executive order that mandates developers of artificial intelligence systems posing risks to U.S. national security, the economy, public health, or safety, to share the results of security tests with the U.S. government.