Biden releases $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan

By Erin Voegele | March 31, 2021

President Biden on March 31 released a $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, officially titled the American Jobs Plan. Biofuel/bioproducts and carbon capture and storage (CSS) are each briefly addressed in the plan.

One provision of the American Jobs Plan calls for the U.S. to become a leader in climate science, innovation and research and development. Biden is asking Congress to invest $35 billion “in the full range of solutions needed to achieve technology breakthroughs that address the climate crisis and position America as the global leader in clean energy technology and clean energy jobs.”

Part of that effort calls for the launch of ARPA-C to develop new methods for reducing emissions. In addition to a $5 billion increase in funding for other climate focused research, Biden’s plan would also “invest $15 billion in demonstration projects for climate R&D priorities, including utility-scale energy storage, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear, rare earth element separations, floating offshore wind, biofuel/bioproducts, quantum computing, and electric vehicles, as well as strengthening U.S. technological leadership in these areas in global markets.”

Also regarding carbon capture and storage (CCS), Biden’s plan would reform and expand the Section 45Q take credit, “making it direct pay and easier to use for hard-to-decarbonize industrial applications, direct air capture, and retrofits of existing power plants.”

The USDA issued a statement in support of the American Jobs Plan.

“Just as the American Rescue Plan is helping families recover from the pandemic and recapture hope for a brighter future, the American Jobs Plan will help us rebuild our economy and rural communities and create good-paying jobs with staying power—enough to support a family, have a good home, and give our children a brighter future,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. President Biden believes this is the moment to reimagine and rebuild our country’s infrastructure and reinvest in American competitiveness and leadership.

“It is clear in the American Jobs Plan that USDA is central to the President’s strategy to build a strong economy for working people, restore the safety and integrity of our nation’s infrastructure from broadband to water to power and electricity, and to renew America’s leadership in science, research and development to give us the tools to make and create U.S. products to be sold around the world,” he added. “The American Jobs plan invests in clean, safe drinking water in our rural communities, with specific emphasis on underserved and Tribal areas. The plan promises to close the broadband gap in rural America for millions of Americans, which is so critical for health care, education, and employment in our digital age. The American Jobs Plan makes significant investments in power and electricity infrastructure and affordable housing. The President’s plan invests in our children by upgrading schools, childcare facilities, and early learning centers, with investments in physical infrastructure as well as technology and connectivity. And true to his commitment to invest in American manufacturing and working families, the President’s plan makes once-in-a-lifetime investments to retool and revitalize American manufacturers and small businesses. This investment in manufacturing will allow an expansion of biobased products and renewable fuel production, giving U.S. growers and producers another market for their goods and supporting good-paying American jobs. Finally, the American Jobs Plan puts Americans to work managing our forests, grasslands and watersheds from the community-level, ensuring what’s good for the environment is good for jobs while protecting our forests from burning up in increasing catastrophic wildfires.

“The American Jobs Plan is a once-in-a-century capital investment in America that will meet our current infrastructure needs and invests in a brighter future,” Vilsack continued. “I look forward to working with Congress to make these plans a reality for American workers and rural communities and thank President Biden and Vice President Harris for their vision and commitment to rebuilding the middle class.”

Growth Energy issued a statement stressing that the U.S. will need biofuels to help decarbonize transportation.

"It’s disappointing that President Biden put forth a robust, $2 trillion infrastructure plan that overlooks the urgent need to expand access to low carbon biofuels, like plant-based ethanol,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “The President campaigned on a platform of using 'every tool at his disposal' to 'promote and advance renewable energy, ethanol, and other biofuels'. The details of the American Jobs Plan released today assuredly missed an opportunity to meet these promises.

“It is now even more crucial that any further legislation proposed by the Administration and Congress include a robust role for ethanol. Since 2010, biofuels like ethanol have been responsible for cumulative carbon dioxide savings of nearly 600 million metric tons in the U.S., or the equivalent of removing 130 million cars from the road, roughly half of our nation’s fleet,” she continued.

“Earlier this year, a new report from the Rhodium Group, a leading independent climate analysis firm, found that biofuels are an essential element of our path to a net-zero future by 2050,” Skor added. “Ethanol reduces life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from motor fuel by an average of 46 percent, as demonstrated most recently in groundbreaking research. Continuous innovation has fueled this environmental progress, allowing biofuel producers and farmers to ramp up production year after year, without expanding our environmental footprint. Biofuels can help us reduce emissions today, and the innovations being driven by our industry will continue to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels. 

“We look forward to working with this Administration and our bipartisan Congressional champions to ensure that biofuels have a leading role in helping our nation upgrade its infrastructure and address climate change."   

The Carbon Capture Coalition applauded the plan’s treatment of CCS. “The Carbon Capture Coalition commends and thanks President Biden and members of his administration for prioritizing carbon capture in the ‘American Jobs Plan’ for infrastructure announced today,” said Brad Crabtree, director of the CCC. “Not only does this initial plan prioritize carbon capture technologies, it emphasizes carbon capture’s essential role in both achieving net-zero emissions and meeting midcentury climate goals and preserving and growing America’s high-wage jobs base in energy, industry and manufacturing.

The CCC pointed out that the plan features key policy recommendations cited in the group’s 2021 Federal Policy Blueprint, including a direct pay option for the Section 45Q tax credit.

“In addition, the Administration’s proposal for 10 new pioneer projects to retrofit industrial facilities for carbon capture and 15 projects to demonstrate the production of low and zero-carbon hydrogen provides a welcome and long-overdue emphasis on federal support for commercial-scale demonstration of critical technologies to reduce carbon emissions,” Crabtree continued. “Federal investments in commercial technology demonstration will, in turn, leverage additional private investment and job creation at a time when our nation seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Indeed, carbon management provisions in President Biden’s plan will not only help put America’s energy, industrial and manufacturing sectors on a path to net-zero, but analyses by the Rhodium Group reveal the potential for creating tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of jobs from carbon capture and direct air capture deployment, respectively, if those technologies are deployed at levels needed to meet midcentury climate goals,” he added.

“Fortunately, the measures proposed today by the Biden Administration regarding deployment of carbon capture, direct air capture and CO2 transport and storage infrastructure are echoed in widely supported, broadly bipartisan legislation introduced this Congress,” Crabtree said.T”hese important bills provide for direct pay and a multiyear extension for 45Q, improvements to other federal incentives, and robust federal financing and funding for scaling up the development of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure.

“The Coalition’s 80-plus companies, unions and NGOs are eager to work with President Biden and his administration and members of Congress across the political spectrum to enact this comprehensive portfolio of measures for economywide deployment of carbon capture, removal, transport, utilization and storage.”

A fact sheet on the American Jobs Plan can be downloaded from the White House website