Last April, Elon Musk promised that Tesla would soon be able to power its electric cars for more than 1 million miles over the course of their lifespan. At the time, the claim seemed a bit much. That’s more than double the mileage Tesla owners can expect to get out of their car’s current battery packs, which are already well beyond the operational range of most other EV batteries. It just didn’t seem real--except now it appears that it is.
While nuclear plants struggle to compete with the flood of cheap gas coming from the nation’s shale fields, they still offer a key advantage, supporters say: They generate 24-hour electricity without producing carbon emissions. Renewables, meanwhile, haven’t yet nailed down the storage capacity needed to do that. Proponents insist it’s only a matter of time.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced 32 winners for $56.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects for advanced coal technologies and research under six separate funding opportunity announcements (FOAs).
Opportunity Zone funding is a federal program created to drive economic development in “distressed” areas across the United States, including in DC. The program has been received with both criticism and excitement, but something’s been missing from the conversation: The potential to use this money for clean energy and green infrastructure projects that benefit both the planet and the people living in these communities.
This briefing provides an update on energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in the federal fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations process, building on ITIF’s summary of the administration’s budget request. It compares the House Energy & Water appropriations bill with the request, and identifies what to look for, particularly in the Senate, as negotiations over the budget resume after Congress returns from recess.
“Research in the important fields of fusion energy and plasma science promises both short-term and long-term benefits to industry and society at large,” said Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar. “These initiatives ensure that America continues to lead in these critical fields.” A total of $30 million will go to 10 U.S. multi-institutional research teams to support fusion energy research at international facilities.
Tesla has worked to bring down the price of its electric vehicles, but there’s only so much you can do to make large solar panels affordable. The company’s solar installation business has lagged in recent quarters, but a new rental program might pique consumer interest. Consumers in several states can rent Tesla solar panel setups for their homes for as little as $50 per month.
Market watchers are predicting $200 to $300 billion in investment in the nation’s 8,700-plus OZones. And federal rules have made it clear that green economy projects -- such as local power generation, microgrids, EV charging stations and energy storage -- are eligible for OZone investment.
Lawmakers are zeroing in on the potential for foreign cyberattacks to take down the U.S. electric grid, with members in both chambers pushing hearings and a flurry of bills to address the issue. Congressional interest in the issue is growing following reports that Iran has stepped up its cyberattacks against U.S. critical infrastructure, and as Trump administration officials cite threats from Russia and China against the electric grid.
Mayors from across the country are committing to buying more than 2,100 electric vehicles -- including school buses -- by 2020 to fill out local government fleets. The pledge was made by 127 cities across 38 states who have banded together to form a purchasing bloc, known as the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative, in order to get better pricing on the vehicles.