US Clean Future Act Includes Grants and Support for Microgrids and Energy Storage

Jan. 10, 2020
Lawmakers from the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week released the framework for a comprehensive clean energy bill that includes grants and other support for microgrids and energy storage.

Lawmakers from the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week released the framework for a comprehensive clean energy bill, the Clean Future Act, that includes grants and other support for microgrids and energy storage.

The bill lays out a climate plan to make the US net-zero for greenhouse gases no later than 2050 and gives states the ability to create their own plans to get there.

“Record wildfires, flooding, heat waves and drought have spelled out a dire reality: the climate crisis is here, and we can no longer afford to address this crisis along the margins. Today we are providing the kind of serious federal leadership this moment requires,” said Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, who unveiled the bill with Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL).

Among other things, the bill provides creates a grant program to develop energy storage and microgrid projects in rural communities and promotes the development of microgrids for critical infrastructure. It also outlines additional grants for grid modernization, resilience, and energy storage.

The CLEAN Future Act also proposes several sector-specific and economy-wide solutions to decarbonize the economy.

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Key elements of the bill are:

  • A clean electricity standard would require all retail electricity suppliers to obtain 100% clean energy by 2050. Like many state renewable portfolio standards, it would use an energy credit trading and auction system. Suppliers would have the option of making alternative compliance payments if they lack enough credits. The requirement would be technology neutral. 
  • National energy savings targets for buildings and continued improvement of model building energy codes, leading to a requirement of zero-energy-ready buildings by 2030.  
  • New and increasingly stringent greenhouse gas emission standards vehicles, to be set by the EPA
  • Performance targets to steadily reduce emissions from construction materials and products 
  • A National Climate Bank to help states, cities, communities and companies in the transition to a clean economy 
  • Grants and other support to help environmental justice communities achieve environmental goals.

Text for the draft bill will be released by the end of the month.  

The committee is requesting feedback stakeholders and will hold hearings and meetings throughout the year. Potential  hearing topics include adaptation and climate resilience, workforce and community transition, recycling and waste management, and international cooperation.  Feedback can be submitted to [email protected].

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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