President Obama recently laid out the roadmap that will modernize American energy infrastructure to make it more resilient to pending problems such as extreme weather events and a domestic energy boom. Reuters reports that the Obama administration explained its agenda earlier this week under its Quadrennial Energy Review, which was commissioned when Obama announced his Climate Action Plan in 2013. The recent report recommends more than $15 billion in new spending programs or tax credits aimed at renewing the country’s energy infrastructure.
Atop the list of projects included in the report is modernization of the country’s electricity grid. According to Reuters, the report said the grid is at an “inflection point,” which calls for a major transformation after a century of relative stability. New technologies such as solar power that allow home owners to produce their own power has led to some uncertainty for those who own the grids, and also threatens the current business models of traditional utilities.
The Obama Administration plans to give states as much as $350 million over five years to be put toward improving infrastructure and planning processes, while boosting cooperation between states to improve the reliability of the grid. The Department of Energy has also asked for $3.5 billion over 10 years to support technology development, while enhancing security capabilities and technical support to help create a more flexible and modern grid.
In the realm of petroleum, the report also calls for an overhaul of the U.S. emergency oil reserve system put in place by Congress 40 years ago in the face of soaring domestic oil and gas production. Such a move would be aimed at stabilizing the price of fossil fuels in the face of unstable oil markets. It also offers another $3.5 billion to states to encourage the improved safety and environmental performance of natural gas distribution systems through replacement of old and leaking pipes.
Included in the report is a designation for funds to improve transportation infrastructure to help alleviate congestion on the country’s rail, barge and road systems.