President Biden’s Historic Action to Boost Domestic Production of Heat Pumps, Solar Panels and Building Insulation
Statement by Ari Matusiak
CEO of Rewiring America
We applaud President Biden for his decisive action to advance American energy independence and climate leadership by invoking the Defense Production Act to boost the domestic manufacturing capacity for heat pumps, solar panels and building insulation. This action is directly in line with what Rewiring America called for in our Electrify for Peace Policy Plan. The Biden Administration recognizes that industrial policy is critical to meeting our energy security and climate imperatives.
We also wholeheartedly support President Biden’s use of his authority to bring certainty to the domestic solar industry through the Tariff Act. This action will support continued deployment of solar panels at the pace and scale that’s necessary to take on the climate crisis, preventing an entire industry from being ground to a halt at precisely the time we need to scale its reach and impact.
We cannot have true energy independence in America as long as we are dependent on fossil fuels, as their volatility is driven by global markets and petrostate dictators we do not control. Electrification of the machines we depend on in our day-to-day lives, powered by clean electricity, is the only solution that delivers American families the energy security they deserve, and gives us a shot at staying inside of 1.5 °C warming. President Biden’s invoking of the Defense Production Act is an important step to deliver true energy independence and climate stability.
It is also a win-win-win move for America. First, by building our domestic productive capacity for these machines, the President’s action may create up to 500,000 installation and maintenance jobs in the clean heating sector and solar sectors alone. With a focus on catalyzing American made and built clean energy technologies, President Biden’s executive action will bolster American manufacturing capacity and maintain American competitiveness.
Second, this action will deliver savings to American households, combating the inflation that is already straining family budgets. It will also protect against future energy bill volatility. Households taking advantage of these American-made, efficient electric machines will save up to $1,000 annually from space heating alone. Electrified homes will also deliver significant long-term health benefits for American families, improving the air Americans breathe at home, and protecting against diseases like asthma and toxic, cancer-causing pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde.
Third, this action is a key tool in our effort to crush fossil fuel demand here at home, thereby freeing ourselves from the machinations of tyrants like Putin. 42 percent of energy-related emissions come from the home. Oil heating in the Northeast alone requires 71 million barrels of oil per year. Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels will make our homes more comfortable, affordable and healthy. Strong domestic manufacturing and supply chains will enable all Americans afford to replace the machines at the speed and scale we need for both the planet and their pocketbooks and to create an export market that can support our allies and their energy transition as well.
The Defense Production Act is a significant step forward in addressing our twinned energy security and climate imperatives. But it is not enough on its own. It is now time for Congress to finish the job and move forward on passing a comprehensive suite of climate provisions through budget reconciliation. Rebates, tax credits and low cost financing to bring down the front-end cost of these efficient electric machines are all necessary and will empower American households to electrify their lives, saving money on their bills, creating local and family sustaining jobs in their communities and doing their part to combat climate change and the threats posed by dictators a world away.
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