The US Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act passed the House of Representatives late Friday, allocating billions of dollars to clean energy infrastructure and the oil and gas sector to mitigate methane emissions.
Now that the House has passed the bipartisan bill with 228 votes for to 206 votes against, the $1 trillion bill makes its way to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed.
In the bill, $4.7 billion is allocated to plugging orphaned wells, remediating and reclaiming well pads and facilities associated with orphaned wells, and tracking environmental affects of the orphaned wells, like methane emissions and groundwater contamination.
In addition, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm must complete a study and publish a report on the impact of revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, including the loss of jobs and the impact on consumer energy costs.
Carbon capture infrastructure funding
With much of the bill dedicated to clean energy infrastructure, over $10 billion is allocated to developing carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technologies.
During earlier discussions of the bill, the American Petroleum Institute (API) expressed its support of the focus on carbon capture and hydrogen funding.
“We are encouraged that the Senate’s proposal recognizes the importance of energy infrastructure for American families and businesses," ,” said API senior vice president for policy, economics and regulatory affairs Frank Macchiarola.
"Specifically, this agreement contains key support for the development of innovative technologies, like carbon capture and hydrogen, that will help achieve climate progress.”
The most significant funding is an allocation of $3.5 billion to four regional direct air capture hubs.
Direct air capture takes carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and sequesters it. The hubs must have the capacity to sequester and utilise at least 1 million tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide.
Another $2.5 billion is allocated to the expansion of carbon storage validation and testing under the Department of Energy (DoE) to include a large-scale commercialisation program for sequestering and transporting carbon dioxide.
Smaller portions of the funding are dedicated to expanding the DoE’s carbon capture technology program to include front-end engineering design for transport infrastructure for CCUS, providing loans and grants for carbon dioxide transport infrastructure, and providing grants for states to establish Class VI permitting programs.
At the moment, only two states have the authority to permit the use of Class VI wells for injecting carbon dioxide into geological formations.
The bill also allocates $3.47 billion to large-scale pilot projects in carbon capture and carbon capture demonstration projects that were authorised under the Energy Act of 2020.
Under a hydrogen section of the infrastructure bill, $9.5 billion is allocated to the development and scaling up of the technology.
Broken down, $8 billion is directed to the establishment of four regional hubs, $1 billion is directed to a program meant to decrease the cost of hydrogen produced by electrolysis, and $500 million is directed to a clean hydrogen manufacturing and recycling program.
The bill also calls for the establishment of a national strategy and roadmap for scaling up the hydrogen sector.
The US coalition Hydrogen Forward, which focuses on ensuring hydrogen is a key solution to the energy transition, said it is encouraged by the passage of the infrastructure bill.
“The bill’s commitment to a national hydrogen strategy puts the United States on a path to achieving its goal of growing the economy while addressing climate change," the coalition said.
"We look forward to President Biden’s signing of this bill and continued investment in this technology that is key to the energy transition.”