Clean Energy
Opportunities for US-produced performance plastics
by Ari Storch

n November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) — a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure, competitiveness and communities. This bill is a historic opportunity to rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails; expand access to clean drinking water; ensure that every American has access to high-speed internet; to tackle the climate crisis and advance environmental justice, while investing in communities — urban and rural — that have too often been left behind.

Key to the IIJA is the inclusion of provisions to expand domestic preference procurement policies. The IIJA directs the application of “Buy America” domestic preference policies to federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure. This provision is designed to provide financial assistance programs for infrastructure not currently subject to these laws, as well as to those that are currently subject to Buy America laws that may be limited in scope to specific materials or products. The new statutory direction is not limited to the funds appropriated or authorized in the IIJA; rather, it directs the application of Buy America requirements to federally funded infrastructure programs and ensures that federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure require the use of materials produced in the United States, increase the requirement for American-made content and strengthen the waiver process associated with Buy American provisions.

The IIJA provided a broad amount of funding that IAPD member companies may be able to take advantage of, including:

  • $110 billion for roads, bridges and other major projects
  • $73 billion to update the nation’s electricity grid
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $65 billion for broadband internet
  • $55 billion for water infrastructure
    • $15 billion for removing lead pipes
  • $50 billion for climate resiliency projects
  • $39 billion for public transit
  • $25 billion for airports
  • $21 billion for environmental remediation projects
  • $17 billion for ports and waterways
  • $11 billion for transportation safety projects
  • $7.5 billion for low emissions buses and ferries
  • $7.5 billion to construct EV charging stations

To achieve the ambitious goals outlined by legislation, significant coordination between the federal government, states, tribal governments, community stakeholders, local governments and other key partners will be critical. Since the money will be flowing through the states, the White House has encouraged every state to appoint an “Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator” who will work with the federal agencies to properly secure funding from each of the 13 areas in which funding is available. IAPD members who sell materials used in applications in the areas listed above should pay attention to their state coordinators to identify projects they may be able to participate in.

Another excellent source to help you get involved in these projects is the White House Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/BUILDING-A-BETTER-AMERICA-V2.pdf. This guidebook lists all the programs, the funds available and how state, local, tribal and other partners can access the funding. Scan the QR code to access this guidebook:

A QR Code representation
A closer look at clean energy
Let’s look at one set of opportunities for IAPD members: Clean Energy. The following excerpts are taken from the White House Guidebook.

The IIJA is the largest investment in clean energy infrastructure in American history focusing on grid modernization. Additionally, the program will invest in energy efficiency and clean energy improvements for homes, schools, businesses and communities to make them cleaner and more affordable. And it will fund new programs to support the development, demonstration and deployment of cutting-edge clean energy technologies. This funding includes four major areas:

  1. Delivering clean power (~$21.3 billion)
  2. Clean energy demonstrations
  3. Energy efficiency and weatherization retrofits for homes, buildings and communities ($6.5 billion)
  4. Funding for clean energy manufacturing and workforce development ($8.6 billion).
Delivering clean power
In January 2022, the Department of Energy launched a new “Building a Better Grid Initiative” to accelerate the deployment of new transmission lines. This initiative will leverage the ~$16.5 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to reliably deliver clean, affordable power to more Americans, improve the resilience of the grid infrastructure and help achieve the President’s goal of 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035. In addition, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $6 billion for a Civil Nuclear Credit Program that will provide financial support to existing nuclear reactors that are at risk of closing and being replaced by higher-emitting power resources and more than $700 million for upgrades to the existing hydropower fleet that will improve efficiency, maintain safety and reduce environmental impacts. Eligible recipients for this funding include states, tribes, communities and utilities, including utilities that operate under regulatory supervision by local governments and state commissions.
Clean energy demonstrations
In December 2021, the Department of Energy established a new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations to oversee the $21.5 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for clean energy demonstration projects for innovative technologies such as clean hydrogen, carbon capture, grid-scale energy storage, advanced nuclear reactors and more. Demonstration projects test the effectiveness of innovative technologies in real world conditions at scale, often leveraging public-private partnerships to pave the way toward commercialization and widespread deployment. Much of this funding will go to large projects.
Energy efficiency
In the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of Energy is charged with investing an additional $6.5 billion to support weatherization and other energy efficiency improvements to reduce energy costs for American families, businesses, schools and communities, improve comfort and health and cut carbon and air pollution. Much of this funding will flow through existing state energy offices, local governments or weatherization and housing agencies.
Clean energy manufacturing and workforce

The vision is that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investments in clean energy technology supply chains will allow America to make the energy technologies of the future right here at home, boosting our competitiveness within a global clean energy market expected to reach $23 trillion by the end of the decade. The Department of Energy’s funding will go primarily to clean energy manufacturing facilities across the country.

Overall, the IIJA provides a significant amount of funding opportunities for energy projects that could use IAPD member company technologies. To find out more about the programs and funding, visit the Department of Energy’s IIJA Funding Opportunities webpage www.energy.gov/bil/bipartisan-infrastructure-law-programs. Even though the money will be flowing through a myriad of vehicles, mostly via states and municipalities, requiring your companies to invest resources in tracking and identifying the best possibilities, that this effort should deliver a quality return on investment for you. We are optimistic that your company will be able to take advantage of this one-in-a-generation investment in America’s infrastructure development.

Ari Storch is a partner with The Madison Group, IAPD’s government relations team in Washington, D.C. For more information, contact astorch@iapd.org.