WASHINGTON – Continued drive to significantly increase sales of tramThe Biden administration on Monday announced $3.1 billion in grants to U.S. companies that manufacture and recycle lithium-ion. the battery.
Investments from last year’s $first trillion infrastructure law separate from executive order President Joe Biden released this spring, invoking the Defense Production Act to promote lithium production and other key minerals used to power electric vehicles.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the new program would provide grants to companies that process or recycle battery components to increase the domestic supply of a market currently dominated by China and other countries. The grants will help strengthen US energy independence and support Biden’s goal of having electric vehicles account for half of all vehicle sales in the US by 2030, she said.
Electric vehicles account for 4.2% of the US market new vehicle sales in the first quarter of this year, according to Edmunds.com.
“U.S. centrality and position in meeting the growing need for advanced batteries is how we strengthen our competitiveness and electrify our transportation system,” said Granholm. know in a statement.
Granholm, a former Michigan governor, announced the battery initiative during a visit to her home state to highlight clean energy regulations in The bipartisan infrastructure law Biden signed in November.
The funding program “will give our domestic supply chain the start it needs to become more secure and less dependent on other countries”, while creating jobs get paid well and reduce the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet emissionsshe speaks.
Gina McCarthy, Biden’s climate adviser, added: “We need a lot of batteries. And we want American workers to make those batteries right here in the US.”
Officials say $3 billion will be allocated as grants to 30 companies and represent nearly half of the $7 billion approved under infrastructure legislation to improve the domestic battery supply chain. .
The Department of Energy says companies will have to match grants on a 50-50 basis, with a minimum investment of $50 million. The money will go to companies that can create new processing facilities, retrofit or expand as well as battery recycling Ministry said.
Focusing on battery disposal and recycling is part of Biden’s broader effort to shift the country from gas-powered cars to electric cars and fight back. climate change.
A March 31 executive order to increase mining of lithium and other key minerals does not waive or suspend existing environmental and labor standards, the White House said. It also fails to address the main obstacle to increased mining in the country: the years-long process required to obtain a federal permit for a new mine.
Even so, the mining industry and supporters in Congress cheered Biden’s use of the Defense Production Act.
Rich Nolan, president and chief executive officer of the National Mining Association, called it a historic move by the White House to “recognize the importance of minerals and promote the electrification of the auto industry.” a little bit”.
But unless the administration also moves to speed up approval of new hard mines, “we risk the mineral dominance of geopolitical rivals” like China and Russia, Nolan said.
As of March 31, more than 2.5 million plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the US, with more than 800,000 of those sold since Biden took office, the Department of Energy said. Battery costs have fallen by more than 90% since 2008, while performance has increased.
Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., who appeared with Granholm at an event in Lansing, Mich., said: “The future of mobility is electricity. “Let’s build our supply chain for the advanced battery technologies needed to deploy the next all-electric fleet,” he said.
U.S. automakers welcome the sponsorship program.
“Ensuring a stable and reliable supply of locally produced EV batteries, battery components and treated minerals will be critical because Ford Steven Croley, policy director at Ford Motor Co., said.
“The United States is finally entering the battery race,” said Abigail Wulf, vice president of critical minerals strategy for SAFE, a nonpartisan group that advocates for US transportation and energy security. global and the broader race for the future.
“Now the DOE depends on getting money out the door for projects that will make us stronger in the short and long term,” she said, and “helps ensure that the US is not just playing catch-up.” , but leading.”