President Biden and Department of Energy Establish Bipartisan Infrastructure Act $20 Million Rebate Programs to Upgrade Network and Commercial Equipment
WASHINGTON DC- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today invited the public to comment on draft guidelines to implement two provisions of President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which include rebates of $20 million to support utility electrical system upgrades and save commercial building operators money on their utility bills. The rebates will help utilities, commercial equipment and building operators make distribution transformers and electric motor systems more efficient.
Replacing aging electric motor systems helps companies make pumps, fans and compressors more efficient, providing significant opportunities for energy and cost savings. Similarly, the modernization of distribution transformers, which represent some of the most vulnerable components of the local electrical infrastructure, increases resilience and energy efficiency. Optimizing America’s energy infrastructure by implementing energy efficiency technology across the country is a key part of meeting President Biden’s goals of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035, and the law President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure plan is planning more than $20 million to upgrade transformers and electric motor systems.
“More efficient transformers and electric motor systems will reduce energy consumption, save businesses money, and bring more clean energy to American homes and businesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “We are leveraging contributions across America to strengthen our approach to recharging our country’s infrastructure with the best available technologies at our disposal while dramatically reducing energy bills and combating the climate crisis.”
Industrial and commercial electric motors account for approximately 29% of the total electrical grid load. Electric motor systems control the speed of electric motors that drive a variety of commercial and industrial equipment, including fans, pumps and compressors, to save commercial building owners and operators money on their annual utility bills. Electric motor systems often operate beyond their expected lifespan, and older models are inefficient and more vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and external factors.
Distribution transformers are the last step in the electrical power distribution network, reducing the voltage to a level suitable for consumers in commercial, residential and industrial applications. Although distribution transformers are efficient devices, they operate 24 hours a day, remain in service for decades, and virtually all electricity passes through distribution transformers, which means that even small improvements in the efficiency of Distribution transformers save significant amounts of energy. New transformers are more resilient and energy efficient, reliably moving electricity from where it is made to where it is needed with less loss. Rebates incentivize and offset the costs of upgrading these critical network components.
The Notice of Availability (NOA) and Request for Public Comment on DOE’s Draft Implementation Guidance released today addresses Sections 1005 and 1006 of the Energy Act of 2020, which the bipartisan law on infrastructure allows. These preliminary guidance documents describe how the DOE currently plans to structure and implement these two rebate programs. The DOE is seeking comments on the proposed definitions, eligibility criteria and window, incentive payment calculations, and other matters.
Public responses to this NOA will help the DOE design programs to achieve the goals and priorities established under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. The DOE particularly encourages comments from owners of industrial or manufacturing facilities, commercial or multi-family residential buildings, utilities, energy service companies, although all public responses are heard and considered.
The deadline for submitting your response to this SA is 30 days from publication in the Federal Register at 5 p.m. ET. Download the Draft Implementation Guidelines to see the full draft, the questions the DOE is seeking feedback on, and instructions on how to submit your response.