U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.) introduced the First Three Act to spark critical innovation and investments in domestic industrial decarbonization technologies, ensuring the U.S. is on the path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while boosting the global competitiveness of American industry.
"The severe droughts, record storms, and raging wildfires we are witnessing -- let alone ice shelves collapsing in East Antarctica - should be clear indicators that we need to ramp up our ability to decarbonize industries that are major contributors to the climate crisis. Having the right technologies to tackle this challenge will be critical. That's why I'm partnering up with my colleagues to introduce legislation to get the wheels moving on technologies that will help us decarbonize industries like steel, cement, and maritime shipping, and boost American jobs," said Heinrich, member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
"The U.S. industrial sector has a major part to play in our fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach our net-zero climate commitments," said Casey. "This legislation would support American companies to create new and innovative technologies to decarbonize the industrial sector. I'm proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Heinrich to invest in American ingenuity while improving the health of our communities and combatting the climate crisis."
U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) is leading companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"This legislation will turbocharge transformative pollution-reducing technologies for the industrial sector and quickly bring them to market, ensuring we support breakthroughs for this especially hard-to-decarbonize sector of our economy through grants and loans. I'm proud to have led the passage of this initiative in the House of Representatives through the America COMPETES Act. And I thank my colleagues in the Senate for their work to get this important legislation past the finish line," said Castor.
The First Three Act would establish a new program at the U.S. Department of Energy to co-fund the first three commercial applications of industrial technologies that innovatively reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Specifically, this program would:
Create a cost-share system that incentivizes developers who can implement a new technology by funding up to 60 percent of the costs of the first project of a kind, 45 percent of the costs of the second project of a kind, and 30 percent of the costs of the third project of a kind.
Promote rapid decarbonization of industrial sectors by offsetting the initial cost of a technology's innovation period.
Provide long-term investments to allow the U.S. to participate in the global innovation race for the next decade. The $9.5 billion grant program would be authorized to run through fiscal year 2031 and be authorized at $500,000,000 for fiscal year 2022 and $1,000,000,000 for each of fiscal years through 2031.
The First Three Act has received support from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and U.S. Steel.
"U. S. Steel is a leader in both producing steel that is 100% mined, melted and made in the USA, and last April being the first American-headquartered steel producer to set a net-zero carbon goal for 2050. For the industrial sector to achieve the 2050 goal, we need partners in the federal and state government to successfully deploy cutting-edge, low-carbon technologies at production scale. There is a race to decarbonize and governments in Belgium, Canada, France, Spain and China are acting boldly and investing to reduce steelmaking's carbon footprint. The First Three Act would boost American competitiveness and jumpstart decarbonization technologies in the industrial sector. The legislation will advance climate goals and ensure a more resilient domestic supply chain for U.S. manufacturing," said Richard Fruehauf, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer of the United States Steel Corporation.
"One of the most effective ways that Congress can reduce the large greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the industrial sector and make it less vulnerable to gas and oil price spikes, is by supporting companies' investments in transformative industrial technologies," said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). "Senator Heinrich's First Three Act would kickstart change by funding the first three installations at production scale of innovative technologies that decarbonize industrial processes and further U.S. leadership in these technologies. An ACEEE analysis found that this legislation could reduce U.S. GHG emissions by more than one billion metric tons over several decades -- a reduction equivalent to the current combined annual emissions of California and Texas. ACEEE strongly supports this legislation and its counterpart in the House of Representatives introduced by Representative Kathy Castor."
Find the full text of the bill by clicking here.