WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) participated in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing to review the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich raised several climate and clean energy priorities, including “new ways to incentivize the electrification of homes and businesses” to dramatically reduce carbon pollution, while also helping families improve their air quality and save money on their energy bills. He will soon be introducing legislation to establish a new rebate program to lower the up-front cost and make electrified appliances more accessible, particularly to low-to-moderate income households. In April, Senator Heinrich introduced the Electrifying America’s Future Resolution to advance the vision of widespread electrification in the U.S.
Senator Heinrich also received confirmation from Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm that DOE is creating a dialogue among agencies to create a clear blending standard for hydrogen transportation that will be critical to transition infrastructure previously used by fossil fuels. “I think the sooner we have that, the sooner we’ll be able to attract the capital to really make those changes,” Heinrich noted.
Senator Heinrich is an ardent supporter of growing New Mexico’s hydrogen economy, recently calling on the Biden administration to help make the state the world’s premier center of excellence for clean hydrogen production, research, and workforce development.
In the hearing, Senator Heinrich also pointed out that “organized wholesale electricity markets really help bring down costs for consumers” and called for “specific initiatives and increased support for states to be able to thoughtfully expand those markets.” Secretary Granholm confirmed that she would be willing to work with Senator Heinrich and the committee on this effort.
Organized wholesale electricity markets can ensure reliable supply and lower wholesale costs for consumers while attracting new investment, open the door to consumer choice in energy supply, accelerate the deployment of clean and innovative technologies, and reduce emissions.
Senator Heinrich and Secretary Granholm also shared the same sentiment that a transmission tax credit, included in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, is incredibly important to building out a modern electrical grid.
Senator Heinrich recently introduced the Electric Power Infrastructure Improvement Act to improve the resilience of the grid and support new projects that connect modern renewable energy resources to the power demands of regional consumer markets. The bill would create an investment tax credit to help promote construction of regionally significant transmission projects across the nation.
Senator Heinrich ended his time noting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is currently assessing whether to give a private company a 40-year license to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in New Mexico. “Unless DOE fulfills its statutory responsibility to provide permanent waste disposal, interim sites can become permanent sites. That is not something my state is signed up for,” Heinrich said.