White House officials announced Thursday night a “game-changing” initiative for research and development projects to advance the Biden administration’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
The plan, which will be officially announced on Friday, will prioritize five priorities in the short term: more efficient building heating and cooling, aviation, grid electrification and industrial products/fuels. The government defines problematic “game changers” as new technologies that could advance the net-zero target. They are a combination of new technologies, improved existing technologies, and combinations thereof. The White House also released a list of 37 research and development meetings, defined across federal agencies.
The aviation industry, especially the executive sector, is a major obstacle to reducing emissions, as this sector accounts for about 2.5% of carbon emissions. The White House has identified several potential initiatives to reduce aviation emissions, including increased electrification and renewable biofuels.
Improving grid resilience has also been a key White House priority given recent events, such as the 2021 winter storms that have disrupted Texas’ self-sufficient power grid.
“The power grid of the future must be able to sense and adapt in real time to changing power demands and external factors, while we decarbonize and expand the total capacity of the grid,” the White House said in a fact sheet. “In addition to enabling electrification and integration of clean energy sources. In addition, these innovations will reduce the overall cost of achieving net-zero emissions across the economy and increase the resiliency of the grid.”
The administration also announced plans to allocate $1.5 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act to modernize and upgrade laboratory infrastructure across the agency, to be distributed through the Department of Energy.
“Our world-class national laboratory system has enabled American innovation and has made America a world leader in science and technology for generations,” John Podesta, White House senior adviser on clean energy innovation and implementation, said in a statement. “Investments in National Laboratories in President Biden’s Reduced Inflation Act will help drive clean energy innovation, boost our economy, reduce costs for households, create high-income U.S. jobs, and drive growth at home and around the world. tackling the climate crisis everywhere.”