Electricity Markets

House Committee OKs Bill That Calls For Clean Energy Program, EV Rebates For Public Power

The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently approved a section of the Build Back Better Act that would create a Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) and includes provisions to promote transmission and electric vehicles (EVs). The EV section of the bill includes rebates for EV supply equipment located in publicly accessible locations that public power utilities would be eligible for.

The Committee on Sept. 14 voted to approve by a vote of 30 to 27 Subtitle D of the Build Back Better Act.

The legislation would direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to administer the CEPP. Under the program, DOE would issue grants and collect payments from electricity providers from 2023 through 2030 based on how much qualified clean electricity each supplier provides to customers.

Eligible electricity suppliers (i.e., load serving entities) would be eligible for grants if they increase the amount of clean electricity they supply to their customers by four percent compared to the previous year.

The grant would be $150 for each megawatt-hour of clean electricity above 1.5 percent above the previous year’s clean electricity. Grants would have to be used for the exclusive benefit of their customers, such as for direct bill assistance, investments in qualified clean electricity and energy efficiency, and worker retention.

Electricity suppliers that do not increase their clean electricity percentage by at least four percent compared to the previous year would owe a payment to DOE based on the shortfall.

In a Sept. 13 letter to the leadership of the committee, American Public Power Association (APPA) President and CEO Joy Ditto outlined concerns related to the CEPP.

At the same time, Ditto said that APPA is committed to working with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on “developing policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electric sector that are workable for public power utilities” and noted that public power utilities “recognize the threat climate change poses and have undertaken significant efforts reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions -- and they will continue to do so.”

Electric Vehicles

Subtitle D also includes language to provide DOE with $2 billion for rebates for electric vehicle supply equipment located in publicly accessible locations, including workplaces and multi-family housing. Public power utilities would be eligible for these rebates.

It would also appropriate $1 billion for an EV Charging Equity Program with the goal of increasing charging infrastructure access in underserved or disadvantaged communities. The scope of the program includes technical assistance, grants, and community education and outreach for eligible entities, such as “a municipally-owned electric utility” and “a publicly-owned electric utility.”

Transmission

Subtitle D also includes language to promote electric transmission by providing grants to states to assist with siting transmission projects.

It would also provide funds for DOE’s transmission planning and modeling capabilities and grants and funds for constructing and modernizing grid infrastructure across the seams between the Eastern and Western Interconnections, the domestic interties with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and for offshore wind projects.