EDA Builds on Past Achievements to Set the Course for the Future

Author: US EDA Staff             Published: 11/30/2021            EDA

Innovate at EDA

NOVEMBER 2021

In This Issue


Spotlight: Assistant Secretary Castillo Testifies on EDA Reauthorization Before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo Testifies Before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

On Wednesday, November 3, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Casillo testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during an oversight hearing to examine programs at the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and review programs for reauthorization.

In her testimony, Assistant Secretary Castillo made an important case for reauthorization of EDA.  It has been 17 years since EDA was last reauthorized and, in that time, new industries have emerged while other sectors have declined, regions have encountered and responded to devastating natural disasters, and all communities have suffered the impacts of a global pandemic. In addition, during this period, EDA has grown exponentially in size and budget – especially over the past four years in response to disasters, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

These external events, combined with EDA’s growth and proven impact, create a critical moment to reauthorize the bureau, allowing EDA to better serve the communities and regions of today.

“We need to modernize our tools to provide the services that communities across the nation need to build contemporary, resilient economies. We need to update how we define distress so that our funding is more equitably distributed.

“To me, reauthorization is more than a technical process – it is essential for EDA to fulfill its historic mission. Reauthorization will allow EDA to help our nation build back better by giving us the ability to implement programs in a way that further improves conditions in highly distressed communities and supports the following priorities: Equity, U.S. Competitiveness, Modern Infrastructure, and Resiliency,” said Assistant Secretary Castillo.

During the hearing, Assistant Secretary Castillo committed to working closely with Congress to get EDA reauthorized as soon as possible.

Click here to read more.


Success Story: Assistant Secretary Alejandra Castillo Travels to Puerto Rico to Visit EDA Investments Sites Critical to Disaster Recovery and Preparedness

Alejandra Castillo, Local Redevelopment Authority Director Nilda Marchan, and Bernadette Hobson tour the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station.

In 2017, Puerto Rico was devastated by back-to-back storms that resulted in Category 5-level destruction. More than 3,000 people lost their lives in  Hurricanes Irma and Maria  and the entire population was left without power. Total economic losses were estimated at $20 million. This November, Assistant Secretary Alejandra Castillo visited Puerto Rico to see firsthand how EDA and other federal investments are helping the territory recover and build back stronger by ensuring economic, pandemic, and disaster recovery. It also highlighted how the Biden Administration is delivering on its commitment to address inequities and support communities to drive local economic growth and spur job creation.

As a part of its mission, EDA has a long history of successfully supporting natural disaster recovery and resiliency efforts. Since the devastation of 2017, EDA has awarded 34 grants to Puerto Rico, totaling more than $111 million through supplemental disaster funding. These investments are expected to create or retain more than 43,000 jobs and attract close to $283 million in private investment.

Under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), EDA also leads the Economic Recovery Support Function (ERSF) on behalf of the Department of Commerce. In this capacity, EDA provides leadership, coordination and oversight for all federal agencies that share a role in the provision of grants, loans, training and other forms of economic recovery assistance in disaster-impacted communities.

During the Puerto Rico visit, Assistant Secretary Castillo got a firsthand look at the newly established Marine Business, Research, and Innovation Center at the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. This 45,000-square foot building, made possible through an EDA grant, will be at the forefront of the ‘Blue Economy,’ helping to bridge the gap in maritime, oceanographic and marine science business innovation.

She also visited Conservacion Conciencia, a non-profit funded by an EDA grant that is working to spur the blue economy in Puerto Rico through its collaboration with local fishermen to remove ocean debris, digitize their fishing practice, and increase sustainable development. There, she also toured a conch lab and viewed a sea vegetable lab, all of which aim to stimulate the blue economy and address food insecurity issues.

Additionally, Assistant Secretary Castillo met with stakeholders from Puerto Rico’s philanthropic, non-profit, business, and education community at the Centro Unido de Detallista (United Retailer Association), an EDA grantee. They discussed areas of opportunity for collaboration with EDA to help advance both Puerto Rico’s economic development and the blue economy.

Click here to read more.


Highlight: Las Vegas Visit Highlights Focus on Equity and EDA Investments in Nevada

Senator Masto speaks with Assistant Secretary Castillo prior to last week’s roundtable discussion about economic development in southern Nevada.

Southern Nevada’s economic development was the forefront of a roundtable discussion with Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Castillo and United States Senator Catherine Cortez Masto this month. More than a dozen Nevada businesses, community, and governmental leaders joined the event on Wednesday, November 10th.

Held at the Historic Westside School in West Las Vegas, the roundtable discussion served to highlight the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) recent American Rescue Plan investments in Nevada and a $6.9 million investment made to the College of Southern Nevada for construction of a 10,000 square-foot facility to house its Westside Workforce Education and Training Center.

The Westside Workforce Education and Training Center, to be located adjacent to the Historic Westside School, will support education and instruction for underserved students by helping them obtain both a GED and specific vocational training leading to a good-paying job in the healthcare, construction, and IT sectors.

“EDA has always supported our nation’s underserved communities, but today we are doubling down to ensure communities of color, rural communities, and others receive the support they need to build back better,” said Assistant Secretary Castillo. “Equity is our top investment priority.”

In recent years, EDA has invested tens of millions of dollars in the state of Nevada to help communities build their capacity for economic development. In addition to EDA’s grant to the College of Southern Nevada, other recent EDA investments in Nevada include $1.7 million to the city of Las Vegas to expand wireless connectivity to economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Westside area,  $13.5 million American Rescue Plan Statewide Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation award to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by helping strengthen the travel and outdoor industries of Nevada, and $1 million to support statewide planning efforts.

“I was glad to join Assistant Secretary Castillo to highlight what we’ve been doing to help support economic development in the historic Westside of Las Vegas and across Nevada,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “From the American Rescue Plan to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I’ve been working to get funds into our communities to deliver broadband to students, prepare workers for jobs in in-demand industries, and promote Nevada’s travel and tourism industry. The Economic Development Administration projects highlighted today are great examples of what happens when we work together to invest in our communities, and I’m grateful for the administration’s continued support in delivering pandemic relief funds to those that will benefit most.”

Prior to the roundtable, Assistant Secretary Castillo toured the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas to learn about its work training Nevadans for good-paying jobs in the hospitality sector.

Click here to read more.


EDA American Rescue Plan Funds Flowing Into Communities

EDA Investing in America’s Communities logo

On October 21, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) had begun awarding its historic $3 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery. The first awards announced were $24 million in grants to states and territories across the nation to support statewide planning efforts to boost economic development, enhance U.S. competitiveness, combat the climate crisis, and recover from the pandemic. Later the same day, Secretary Raimondo announced EDA’s first local investment as part of the Coal Communities Commitment. On November 4, an additional $30 million in statewide planning grants were announced and on November 8, $314 million in State Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grants were awarded. Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon!


Good Jobs Challenge Deadline Approaching

Good Jobs Challenge logo

The Good Jobs Challenge allocates $500 million dollars toward industry-led workforce training programs to help get Americans – particularly women, people of color and those in underserved communities – back to work in good-paying jobs. Applications due January 26, 2022! Get your applications in today!


Urban Institute Releases Early Results of EDA Evaluation

Urban Institute logo

On October 29, the Urban Institute released two briefs providing policymakers and public stakeholders a detailed overview and evaluation of the Economic Development Administration. This release is the first part of an expansive review of EDA undertaken by Urban Institute and funded by the Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) program. It will be followed by additional content in the coming months. The two briefs, available for download on Urban Institute’s website, provide a historic background to EDA and offer a detailed, data-driven assessment of EDA activities since 2010, segmented by project size and type.


EDA Called in to Help in the Recovery from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana

LA has suffered from 10 federally-declared disasters since 2019, including most recently, Hurricane Ida. Courtesy: LA National Guard

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asked EDA to join an Interagency Recovery Coordination group (IRC) to assist following the natural disaster. Read more here.


EDA Partners with Milken Institute and Rural Community Assistance Partnership to Aid Underserved Communities in Accessing Predevelopment Services

EDA plus Milken Institute and RCAP

EDA’s Research and National Technical Assistance program has awarded a $500,000 grant to the Milken Institute and sub awardee, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) to launch a predevelopment training and project accelerator for small, rural, and underserved communities. Read more here.


Equitable Lending Leaders Online Cohort Program to Advance Equitable Outcomes in Small Business Lending

Equitable Lending Leaders

EDA grantees, Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) and Recast City, are launching a program for RLF operators to improve on their focus to achieve equity outcomes with their small business lending. Learn more.


“Taking CEDS to the Next Level” Toolkit Launched

“Taking CEDS to the Next Level” is a new toolkit with links and descriptions to over 40 CEDS and other resources that demonstrate the full potential of what a CEDS can be. These examples and best practices – highlighting key themes, content, and design elements – demonstrate the possibilities that exist for organizations as they create their CEDS, all with the ultimate goal of making regions more competitive, resilient, and equitable. View the toolkit at CEDS Central.


Extra Extra graphic

Federal grants for business initiatives promoted in Puerto RicoEl Nuevo Dia News – 11/8/21

Gina Raimondo: Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration Awards Statewide Planning Grants to 30 StatesExecutive Gov – 11/5/21

Alejandra Castillo ’92 Reflects on Journey from Stony Brook to WashingtonStony Brook University News – 11/2/21

Commerce Department announces first round of awards for American Rescue Plan programsThe Hill – 10/21/21

Rhode Island tourism industry gets $10.6M federal grantAP News – 11/9/21

Delaware gets federal travel and tourism grantDelaware Business Now – 11/9/21

Deputy Secretary Graves and Assistant Secretary Castillo close out Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating contributions, successes of local Hispanic-owned small businessU.S. Economic Development Administration – 10/21/21

Las Vegas Roundtable: News 3 Live at 6KSNV News – 11/12/21

Senate confirms energy regulator, completing panel

Author: Rachel Frazin         Published: 11/16/21        THE HILL

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Logo

 

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed by a voice vote President Biden’s pick to fill an open seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) — a body that regulates pipelines, electricity markets and other forms of interstate energy transmission.

The chamber voted to confirm Willie Phillips Jr. to the position, alongside a slate of other nominees.

Phillips has served as a utility regulator Washington, D.C. According to a White House announcement on his nomination, he has more than 20 years of legal expertise and has worked both as a regulator and in private.

Typically, voice votes signify that nominees are not controversial.

However, Phillips’s nomination did get some scrutiny from environmental activists who have raised concerns about whether he’s too supportive of utilities.

Testifying before Congress, Phillips said he would try to seek  “balance” between reliability, affordability and sustainability.

Equitable Solar Deployment in SolSmart Communities

Author: US DOE Staff       Published 11/23/2021       SETO

Equitable Solar Deployment in SolSmart Communities Webinar - Nov 30 from 2-3 pm ET

On Tuesday, November 30 at 2:00 p.m. ET, tune in to the Equitable Solar Deployment in SolSmart Communities webinar, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

Learn about the SolSmart designation program and its commitment to equity through guest speakers and a roundtable discussion. SolSmart participants from a variety of communities will share their strategies for equitable solar deployment.

SolSmart is a SETO-funded national designation program led by IREC and the International City/County Management Association that helps local governments make it faster, easier, and more affordable for residents and businesses to go solar. Over 400 communities have been designated as “open for solar business” by SolSmart to date, and DOE has set the goal to achieve 60 new SolSmart designees by March 2022.

Register now for the webinar and learn more about the SolSmart program and SETO’s work in advancing equity in solar.

How the Build Back Better bill could boost clean energy for low-income homeowners

Author: Jason Plautz         Published: 11/16/2021        Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Tax language in Democrats’ $1.75 trillion budget reconciliation bill could pave the way for more low-income homeowners and renters to build and access renewable energy if it remains in the final bill as written, advocates say.
  • The current version of the budget bill includes a direct pay option for the commercial investment tax credit (ITC) and refunds for the residential ITC, rather than having both of them pay out as tax credits. Yesenia Rivera, director of energy equity and inclusion at Solar United Neighbors (SUN), said that change, previously passed by the House Ways and Means Committee, is “key to an equitable transition” by helping low- and moderate-income households install solar at a significantly lower up-front cost.
  • Additionally, the bill, along with the infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden on Monday, contain several provisions that will make electric vehicles and charging infrastructure more accessible to low-income customers. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill puts $7.5 billion towards publicly-available chargers, while the budget bill extends tax credits to lower the cost of the vehicles.

Dive Insight:

Currently, homeowners looking to install solar can claim a 30% ITC on the cost of installation, but it is only payable as a tax credit. That, experts say, means it is only practically available to people with higher tax liability. A 2021 working paper from the Rand Corp. found that for the bottom 50% of U.S. income earners, it would take at least seven years to monetize the tax credit under the current structure. A separate report released in July from the Initiative for Energy Justice, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), and SUN estimated that changes to the Solar ITC could create opportunity for 5.5 million homes to add solar, part of a package of policies that could create 30 million solar homes.

“We have to be so creative to make these projects work, especially because our guiding principle is that they be cash positive from day one,” said SUN’s Rivera. “We can use every tax incentive and philanthropic opportunities, but households that have to rely on loans end up paying more because they’re not accessing that tax refund. Getting access to a reduction in that up-front cost can make the difference for someone to install solar.”

John Farrell, director of ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative and a co-author of the report, said direct pay language corrects a federal policy that has “always been biased towards people who have wealth.” Rather than paying out the credit over several years, a direct pay or refundability tweak would ensure that homeowners see the discounts up front. Farrell added that the bill, as written, would also extend direct pay to commercial customers, allowing for more deployment of community solar projects that would reach renters.

“This helps to reinforce the idea that it’s not just the utility[‘s] business to produce energy,” Farrell said. “We want to see an equal distribution of the economic benefits of the clean energy transition.”

Currently, the budget bill calls for the tax changes to kick in in 2024. Separately, a standalone bill from Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., would offer similar incentives, but would start a year earlier to accelerate the transition. Ossoff’s Clean Energy for All Homes Act was introduced with 13 Democrat and Independent cosponsors.

An Ossoff aide said the sponsors are “working hard to ensure our Clean Energy for All Homes Act is included in [the budget bill] as close as possible.”

The House could bring up the Build Back Better package as early as this week, Democratic leadership said, although the bill could see further changes when it reaches the Senate to gain the necessary 50 votes. The bill also contains 10-year extensions of tax credits for renewable generation and a credit for standalone energy storage products, as well as $555 billion in climate change and clean energy investments.

The bill also offers tax credits for electric vehicles of up to $12,500, which would also be available at the point of purchase. That, combined with the investments in charging equipment in the infrastructure bill signed into law this week, could boost EV deployment.

Quincy Lee, CEO of the EV fast charging company Electric Era, applauded the infrastructure bill’s “bias towards open access and public charging infrastructure,” especially in rural and low-income neighborhoods. While low-income households may not have the capital to install a charger, Lee said that expanding public chargers that are visible and accessible can “change the narrative” that these cars are reserved only for people with garages and off-street parking.

“We can’t achieve our climate goals if only millionaires and high income earners can afford electric vehicles and chargers in their homes,” Lee said. “The lower you go on the pricing curve to own an EV, the larger percentage of the population we can get involved in the new clean energy ecosystem.”

Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill Passes

Author: Deborah Bailey    Published: 11/7/2021    AFRO

A historic list of benefits is on the way to African-American communities after Congress finally passed the bi-partisan infrastructure bill late Friday night.

Shortly before midnight, the House of Representatives passed a 1.2 trillion infrastructure package representing the most expansive measure of its kind in almost 70 years. The legislation will improve the nation’s ailing roads and highways, bridges, transit system, airport, railways, water systems and broadband and create thousands of jobs.

The measure passed 228-206, with the support of 13 Republicans. Six progressive Democrats voted against the bill, including four African-American members of the House of Representatives.  The legislation had already been approved by the Senate in August.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” President Biden said at the White House Saturday morning along with Vice President Kamala Harris in a celebratory address to the American people.

Communities Across the US Are Addressing Property Deterioration and Vacancy With ARPA

Author: Danielle Lewinski and Rob Finn     Published: 11/16/2021    CCP

States, Tribes, counties, and municipalities around the country have been hard at work determining how to use their allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act’s $350 billion State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund – which we often clumsily abbreviate as the ARPA SLFRF.

Every unit of government should have already received at least the first half of its ARPA SLFRF allocation, and the ways in which communities are determining how to program their potentially transformative federal relief payments are diverse and span the broad flexible uses authorized in Treasury’s Interim Final Rule.

The Interim Final Rule issued by the Department of the Treasury outlines broad categories of eligible uses governed by several guiding principles – that the funds should be used to:

  • address health or economic harms caused or made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • make communities healthier, stronger, and more resilient, and
  • reach disproportionately impacted communities, particularly communities of color.

Center for Community Progress submitted a public comment letter to Treasury in July, as did many of our stakeholders, expressing our appreciation for Treasury’s flexible interpretation of the ARPA statute, and encouraging Treasury to go even further in subsequent guidance to explicitly name additional uses relevant to stabilizing neighborhoods.

To respond to the ARPA SLFRF question we hear most often these days, we do not know when – or if – Treasury will be releasing additional guidance beyond what was contained in its Interim Final Rule. In the federal rulemaking process, an agency will typically alter an interim final rule if the public comments received warrant changes. However, Treasury is continuing to release updated guidance on its ARPA SLFRF landing page, most recently having uploaded revised reporting guidance on November 5, 2021. Community Progress will continue to monitor Treasury’s announcements for major updates, but we encourage ARPA watchers to get in the habit of refreshing Treasury’s SLFRF pages frequently.

In the meantime, the Center for Community Progress has created new quick reference documents outlining how ARPA funding may connect to key vacant property systems in communities. Local leaders can use these reference pieces to learn more about the systems that can help address vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties and how ARPA may provide an opportunity to improve those systems.

From our review of ARPA plans from around the country, we are encouraged to see that, resoundingly, communities have called out deteriorating and vacant properties as a key issue that must be addressed to strengthen their neighborhoods. Below are just a handful of examples of how communities across the US are using ARPA funds to improve critical systems that address VAD properties.

Neighborhood Markets and Data Systems learn more >    

  • Syracuse, NY proposed to use ARPA funds for a housing market study that would analyze vacant structures and housing market conditions and trends and to invest in advanced technology for housing inspectors to detect lead hazards.
  • Detroit, MI will be using $4 million in ARPA funding to create a web-based portal that uses City data and property information to navigate residents to tax foreclosure prevention, home repair, eviction prevention, and other assistance. And the City will be creating a centralized intake and client management system for housing services.

Strategic, Equitable Code Enforcement learn more >

  • St. Louis, MO is investing $15 million in a home repair fund for low-income owners.
  • Detroit, MI is using ARPA funds to provide free home repair services, beginning with roof repairs, to qualified homeowners.
  • Syracuse, NY proposed to use $4.5 million of ARPA funds to invest in advanced technology for housing inspectors to detect lead and to remediate lead hazards.

Property Tax Relief and Enforcement learn more >

  • Orange County, NC is using ARPA funding to pilot their Longtime Homeowner Assistance program, which reduces tax bills for lower income residents that have lived in their property for over 10 years.
  • Detroit, MI proposed to use $3 million to support a program that helps low-income renters and owners avoid tax-foreclosure related displacement.
  • Gwinnett County, GA is using $1.5 million to waive fees for paying property taxes online.
  • Broome County, NY is using $2 million to partner with their land bank on the rehabilitation of tax foreclosed properties for affordable housing.

Land Banks learn more > 

  • In Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh’s land bank will be using $10 million to address vacant properties and Altoona has proposed to dedicate $5 million to its land bank with $2 million for a revolving loan fund.
  • The Central IL Land Bank is looking to use ARPA funding to create an owner-occupied rehabilitation program.
  • Syracuse, NY is investing $5 million in the Greater Syracuse Land Bank to stabilize or demolish vacant structures.
  • Rome, GA is planning to allocate $1 million to its land bank for housing rehabilitation and new construction.

Vacant Land Stewardship learn more >

  • Chicago, IL dedicated significant portions of its ARPA funding to vacant lot reduction strategies, urban agriculture, expansion of tree canopy, green infrastructure projects, and vacant lot environmental assessments.
  • Baton Rouge, LA is planning to use over $2 million ARPA funding to help address vacant properties including cleaning up vacant lots.
  • Houston, TX will clean up illegal dumping throughout the city with $1.5 million in ARPA funding.

To explore more ways states and municipalities are using ARPA to address their needs check out these tools:

Let us know how your community is using ARPA funding to address property vacancy and deterioration! Email us at info@communityprogress.org 

To learn more about the American Rescue Plan Act, visit communityprogress.org/resources/arpa/

The American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) $350 billion State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund distributes federal relief to every US state, local, territorial, and Tribal government. This once-in-a-lifetime infusion of flexible funding can help catalyze broader community recovery and rebuilding by addressing the immediate and long-term negative health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on low-income communities and people of color.

The American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) $350 billion State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund is being administered by the Department of the Treasury. On May 17, 2021, Treasury issued an Interim Final Rule containing detailed regulations interpreting statutory language contained in ARPA. In it, Treasury reiterates that Congress’ goal in allocating these ARPA funds to state and local governments was to give “States, local and Tribal governments […] broad latitude to choose whether and how to use the Fiscal Recovery Funds to respond to and address the negative economic impact” of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. In order for a proposed use to be eligible, grantees must identify an economic harm that resulted from or was made worse by the COVID-19 public health emergency, and then demonstrate how the proposed use of ARPA funds reasonably and proportionally responds to that harm.

Funds must be obligated by December 31, 2024 and expended by the end of 2026. Local governments will receive funds in two equal payments, with the first half coming as soon as May 2021 and the balance delivered approximately 12 months later. For state allocations, those states that have experienced a 2% or more net increase in the unemployment rate from the start of the pandemic should have received their full allocation of funds in a single payment; states that did not meet this criterion should receive funds in two equal tranches 12 months apart. Territorial governments will receive a single payment. Tribal governments should have received their full allocations by June 2021.

Not only is this the first time the federal government has provided direct aid to all 19,000 local governments, but this will also likely be the largest single infusion of flexible federal funding many communities have ever received and are likely to receive for the foreseeable future. It represents a unprecedented opportunity for cities, counties, and states to make truly transformative investments; if ever there was a time for bold, strategic action, this is it.

Find out how much funding was allocated to your municipality, county, and state.
View Map: https://communityprogress.org/resources/arpa/arpa-map/

House Sends Infrastructure Bill With Crypto Tax Provision to US President

Author: Nikhilesh De   Published: 11/5/21 update 11/8/21    Coin Deck

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill that contains a controversial cryptocurrency tax reporting requirement.

The House voted in favor of the bill with at least 218 ayes late Friday night, fulfilling a key priority for the Biden administration amid controversy over whether an accompanying Democrat-led bill would also move forward. The Senate originally passed the bill in August after lawmakers shot down any attempts at amending the crypto provision.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill that contains a controversial cryptocurrency tax reporting requirement.

The House voted in favor of the bill with at least 218 ayes late Friday night, fulfilling a key priority for the Biden administration amid controversy over whether an accompanying Democrat-led bill would also move forward. The Senate originally passed the bill in August after lawmakers shot down any attempts at amending the crypto provision. The bill now goes to U.S. President Joe Biden for his signature.

The crypto industry was concerned about a tax reporting requirement within the bill that sought to expand the definition of a broker for Internal Revenue Service purposes. The reporting requirement would see all brokers report transactions under the current tax code.

Industry proponents worried the definition would be too broad, capturing entities like miners and other parties that don’t actually facilitate transactions.

Another provision included in the bill to amend tax code section 6050I has also stoked fear in the crypto industry. The law, written nearly 40 years ago to apply to in-person cash transactions over $10,000, essentially requires recipients to verify the sender’s personal information and record his or her Social Security number, the nature of the transaction and other information, and report the transaction to the government within 15 days.

Unlike other tax code violations, violations of 6050I are a felony, and some lawyers have pointed out that, applied to cryptocurrencies and other digital assets like non-fungible tokens (NFT), it would be nearly impossible to comply with the law.

Pushback against the provision held up the bill’s passage in the Senate, where the infrastructure bill originated, giving the industry a chance to push for an amendment to modify the language. Ultimately, however, the Senate passed the bill without adopting any amendments, despite an 11th-hour effort to secure a change.

The Treasury Department still has to explain how it plans to interpret the bill, and publish guidance spelling out how businesses or other entities will have to comply with it.

There Will Be Jobs in the Electric Vehicle Economy

Author: David Welch      Published: 11/12/2021       Hyperdrive

Elon Musk Visits Germany

Welcome to the Hyperdrive daily briefing, decoding the revolution reshaping the auto world, from EVs to self-driving cars and beyond.

New Briefs

  • Toyota plans to increase December output to 800,000 vehicles.
  • Chinese EV startup Hozon weighs $1 billion Hong Kong IPO.
  • Applied Intuition raises $175 million for autonomous software.

GM Will Add Jobs to EV Economy

There is growing fear these days that the move to electric vehicles spells certain doom for a lot of low-skilled factory work. It mostly comes from the prediction, proffered by Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess two and a half years ago, that EVs will require 30% less labor than gasoline burners.

Great change often brings pain, but how much? Certainly, the 135,000 people making engine and transmissions today are at risk. Engines require big metal castings, many more parts and much more labor to build than electric motors and batteries, said manufacturing guru Sandy Munro of Munro & Associates. Electric motors are require fewer workers and smaller factories, he said. Since those workers make up 20% of auto laborers, that’s the biggest part of what will get cut.

What about assembly workers? General Motors closed the Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant and cut or transferred more than 3,000 workers. Nearby, GM is building a battery plant that will employ one-third that at lower pay. That means assemblers are doomed, right? Not really. Lordstown was closed because the plant made small cars that are no longer popular.

Elsewhere, GM’s $30 billion push into EVs means adding assembly jobs. The auto maker will open its once-idle Detroit-Hamtramck plant next week to make the Hummer EV and Chevrolet Silverado electric pickups, plus the Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle. That plant had 1,200 workers when it was threatened with closure in 2019 — it will have double that in two years. The former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., will be making the Cadillac Lyriq and other electric models, adding workers along the way.

All in, United Auto Workers Vice President Terry Dittes told me that the union is gaining assembly jobs as automakers prepare for a decade or more in which consumers will buy both internal combustion and electric vehicles.

At its investor presentation on Oct. 6, GM showed a graph with about 40 vehicles for sale by its four brands today, with just a couple being EVs. By 2030, the company will offer 50 models for sale and more than half will be battery-powered. GM will need workers building both of them.

There also will be opportunities for new workers with or without college degrees to work in an industry that never needed them until now. Ford and battery maker SK Innovation Co. will build three U.S. battery factories and an assembly plant, adding 11,000 workers. GM and partner LG Chem will build four battery plants, hiring 1,200 people each at its Ultium Cells LLC joint venture.

Rana Abuhashim, a young chemical engineer who grew up near Lordstown in Youngstown, was working for Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Oklahoma. She has taken her skills and returned home for a job that didn’t exist six months ago. “It brought me back to Youngstown,” she said.

It might offer something similar for lesser-skilled workers, too. Few people have experience making battery cells. GM has enlisted Youngstown State University to find and train new workers. Most of them will be younger employees who may not have college degrees, but they do have some computer and analytical skills. Ultium is not really seeking experience in physical labor.

There is a question about how much money these workers will earn. Ultium says $16 to $22 an hour. Dittes plans to try to get the UAW into the plant and raise the pay. GM won’t oppose the union, so it will become a matter of bargaining for something closer to the $32 an hour that senior union workers get now. Ford and SK will likely be in a similar situation. Even if there’s a fight about pay, the jobs will be there.

My guess: The battery plants will have to pay up with or without the UAW. There’s a worker shortage and labor has the upper hand.

Before You Go

Elon Musk’s worth, up 70% this year to $288 billion, has made the Tesla CEO the wealthiest person in the world, and a bona fide green billionaire. “While Musk courts outrage and embraces drama—just last weekend he polled Twitter over whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stake—he’s also made clear the serious wealth-building potential of green investments,” writes Devon Pendleton. And indeed, Bloomberg’s latest ranking of billionaires — 12 of the 15 are Chinese — highlights just how much batteries, solar panels, and electric vehicles are helping individuals build vast fortunes.

CONTRACTOR OPPORTUNITIES: DCSEU Your Guide to Green

Author: DCSEU Staff      Published  11/9/2021           DCSEU

DC SOLAR FOR ALL

Solar for All Single-Family RFP Q&A Posted
The DCSEU recently released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the FY 2022 Solar for All Income-Qualified Single Family Solar PV program. The DCSEU is soliciting proposals from contractors to install rooftop solar on single family homes in order to extend the benefits of solar power to income-qualified residents throughout the District – including seniors, veterans, and residents and families with limited incomes.The DCSEU has posted responses to all formal questions submitted via email as well as questions received during the Q&A of the CREF RFP info session. A link to these responses is below as well as links to the recording and presentation. The final deadline for proposals and financials is November 16th, 2021 by 5:00 pm ET.  Get started today and submit your proposal early!

Submit Your Proposal Today! →

Solar for All is a program of the District Department of Energy & Environment that aims to bring the benefits of solar energy to 100,000 low to moderate income families in the District of Columbia.

Residential PACE Programs Nationwide

Author: PACENation          Published: 11/5/2021     NEWS

Consumer Protections Adopted by PACENation Increase Accountability and Transparency for Residential PACE Programs, Include Ability-to-Pay Provisions and Strong Protections for Seniors and Low-Income Homeowners

OAKLAND, CA—PACENation announced today the adoption of 22 Consumer Protection Policies for Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (R-PACE) that will apply to R-PACE programs nationwide. The adopted policies establish a national framework for enhanced accountability and transparency within R-PACE programs, offering greater protections for all consumers and additional protections for low-income homeowners and those over the age of 75.

“This comprehensive set of consumer protections is a major milestone for Residential PACE,” said PACENation Executive Director Colin Bishopp. “For the first time, we have a national standard for R-PACE programs that is more comprehensive and far more robust than anything set forth by state and local governments. The new standard incorporates established best practices alongside detailed recommendations made by consumer advocates and experienced policy makers. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure the highest quality of consumer safeguards for every homeowner who chooses Residential PACE.”

The recently adopted consumer protection policies are the culmination of a year-long effort that included multiple conversations with consumer advocates, policy makers, civil rights organizations, and environmental and faith-based organizations. Some of the consumer protections are new to R-PACE. The new protections will be fully implemented by all R-PACE providers by March 30, 2022.

R-PACE financing enables homeowners to make critical home upgrades that improve the efficiency, safety and comfort of their homes, often while lowering their utility bills. R-PACE has proven itself to be an essential public policy for expanding access to affordable financing for homeowners who may not have access to traditional financing options.

“Too often, access to affordable capital for home and business improvements is only available to the wealthy, leaving historically underserved communities behind. PACE financing helps address the access to capital crisis for underprivileged communities in a way that no other financing option does,” said Adolphus Pruitt, President of the St. Louis City NAACP. “Ensuring that homeowners who utilize PACE receive the strongest consumer protections will help to advance Residential PACE policy while promising that a continued investment in the clean and resilient economy is available to all Americans.”

To date, R-PACE has helped finance improvements for more than 300,000 projects, representing more than $7 billion in clean and resilient investments, creating more than 120,000 jobs and generating more than $15 billion in local economic activity.

“PACENation’s readiness to self-implement these robust standards on their industry is a reflection of their commitment to the communities they serve,” said Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Julio Fuentes. “Not only is R-PACE a local job creator, but it is also one of the few financing models out there that works to ensure equitable access to energy improvements for historically underserved communities. These consumer protections will safeguard R-PACE’s ability to continue successfully providing solutions where traditional lending simply cannot.”

“Over the past decade, the R-PACE program has experienced significant growth. Today, R-PACE has a $15 billion impact on our economy and its consumer protections have evolved along with it to incorporate meaningful homeowner safeguards and protections,” said California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Julian Canete. “This set of 22 principles attests to PACENation’s ability to grow and evolve alongside the needs of its industry’s customers, further boosting transparency and creating safer, more resilient communities.”

Beyond the immediate benefits to homeowners, R-PACE is also a powerful public policy tool that enables state and local governments to meet important sustainability goals. Cities and counties across the country continue to adopt R-PACE programs because they help local governments to advance key policy priorities, such as storm hardening, reduced carbon emissions, higher energy savings, and water conservation.

“In order to achieve energy sustainability, there must be equitable access to energy efficient options,” said James Owen, Executive Director of Renew Missouri. “The R-PACE program is a vital public policy tool, helping to develop new opportunities for millions of homeowners to live in more sustainable, healthy, and efficient homes, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions and improving the resilience of local communities. These 22 consumer protection principles will help to ensure R-PACE continues to be an essential tool to improve our environment well into the future.”

For a detailed list and description of the 22 R-PACE Consumer Protection Policies, click here.

About PACENation

PACENation is the national nonprofit association that works alongside policymakers and community stakeholders to strengthen and expand access to assessment-based financing for residential and commercial projects that increase energy efficiency, clean energy, clean drinking water, and resilience against natural disasters. Our membership community includes state and local governments, environmental and faith-based organizations, energy efficiency and climate policy experts, small businesses, PACE administrators and PACE lenders. Members may have different individual goals, but they share a desire to create resilient and resource-efficient communities.

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American-Made Challenges: Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize

Author: US DOE Staff      11/10/2021         SETO

Challenge Overview

Advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunities is a responsibility of the entire U.S. government, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize fits into President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which promises to deliver 40% of climate investment benefits to disadvantaged communities and, at the same time, inform equitable research, development, and deployment within DOE.

Part of the American-Made Challenges series and sponsored by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this prize aims to fund organizations for ongoing and/or proposed activities related to climate and clean energy that support, build trust, and strengthen relationships and partnerships with disadvantaged communities. Specifically, this prize seeks to enable and enhance business and technology incubation, acceleration, and other community-based and university-based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies.

 

Up to $2.5 million in cash prizes!

The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize will award prizes of $200,000 to up to 10 organizations for a total prize pool of up to $2.5 million.

It is expected that Phase One funds will enable the winning organizations to fund proposed programs for approximately one full-time-equivalent person and carry out related activities that may include actively engaging with disadvantaged communities in their regions, building relationships through workshops and other events, providing technical support, and facilitating connections with technical expertise and academic institutions. These are examples of potential activities, and organizations are encouraged to think creatively about specific activities that play to their strengths and serve their communities.

Prize Goals

The goals of the prize are to:

  1. Enable clean energy and climate innovation, and entrepreneurship programming and capabilities at colleges and universities that serve large populations of students underrepresented in STEM, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), community colleges, and undergraduate institutions.
  2. Create or increase participation in clean energy and climate-smart job training and job placement/hiring, including programs that target participation from disadvantaged communities, including formerly incarcerated individuals and youth transitioning out of foster care.  Workforce training could cover identifying energy efficiencies and greenhouse gas inventories, renewable energy manufacturing, and deployment.
  3. Foster grassroots innovation related to just and equitable clean energy deployment through activities focusing on community-centric networks and bottom-up solutions for sustainable development, based on the needs of the communities involved.
  4. Identify and fund activities that will help disadvantaged communities become aware of, apply into or otherwise secure DOE funding or other federal, state, local government or private (for-profit or nonprofit) funding, in support of the government’s Justice40 goals.
  5. Enable the development of replicable clean energy transitions that deliver just and equitable benefits to disadvantaged communities in support of the government’s Justice40 goals.

The winners of Phase One of the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize will receive cash awards of $200,000 each. Phase One winners will be eligible to participate in a Phase Two of the prize, anticipated to take place 12 months following Phase One awards, during which time it is anticipated that a total of $500,000 will be awarded to up to three teams.

For more information on the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize, please review the official rules document.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funds and partners with numerous solar-focused American-Made Challenges. Through these challenges, innovators have the chance to win cash prizes and vouchers for ideas that advance U.S. leadership in the energy industry. The competitions also offer cash incentives and recognition for Connectors who support the program’s mission and competitors. These challenges are administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
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The American-Made Challenges is empowering change-makers to lead the clean energy revolution. To be innovators, creators, challengers. Through training, teaming, connections, mentoring, and prize challenges, we’re building a clean energy future for all Americans.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

American-Made Solar Prize

The American-Made Solar Prize is a multi-million prize competition designed to energize U.S. solar manufacturing through a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the country.

American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize

The American-Made Perovskite Startup Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate the growth of the U.S. perovskite industry and support the rapid development of solar cells and modules that use perovskite materials. Through two contests, established perovskite researchers launch a company and move toward commercialization in under a year.

American-Made Solar Desalination Prize

The Solar Desalination Prize is a multi-stage prize competition designed to accelerate the development of low-cost desalination systems that use solar-thermal power to produce clean drinking water from saltwater. Each stage of the competition will have increasing prize amounts, totaling millions of dollars.

American-Made Solar Forecasting Prize

The American-Made Solar Forecasting Prize is designed to better enable solar industry stakeholders with state-of-the-art solar forecasting capabilities. This prize makes use of the Solar Forecast Arbiter, an open platform developed by the University of Arizona, to allow for the transparent, rigorous, and consistent analysis and evaluation of solar forecasts.

Other Prizes Co-Sponsored by SETO

ENERGYTECH UNIVERSITY PRIZE

Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) in partnership with SETO, the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) is a collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages national laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies. EnergyTech UP awards cash prizes to teams that successfully identify an energy technology, assess its market potential, and propose a strategy for commercialization.

INCLUSIVE ENERGY INNOVATION PRIZE

Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity in partnership with SETO, the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize aims to fund organizations for ongoing and/or proposed activities related to climate and clean energy that support, build trust, and strengthen relationships and partnerships with disadvantaged communities. Specifically, this prize seeks to enable and enhance business and technology incubation, acceleration, and other community-based and university-based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies.

 

Learn about SETO’s manufacturing and competitiveness researchfunding programs, and open funding opportunities.

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR)

Author: US DOE Staff       published: 11/9/2021       SETO

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) funding program

On November 8, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the topics for the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) funding programs for fiscal year 2022. SBIR/STTR give U.S. small businesses an opportunity to conduct high-risk, innovative research and technology development with potential for commercialization, spurring innovation and job creation.

SBIR/STTR funding enables small businesses to achieve their goals in two phases: Phase I provides up to $200,000 to prove an idea’s feasibility. If successful, awardees can then receive up to $1.1 million in Phase II to develop a prototype.

DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office is hosting an informational webinar on Thursday, November 18, at 12:30 p.m. ET to discuss the Phase I solar topics, below. Register for the webinar.

DOE plans to fund projects that advance a broad range of ideas in the following topic areas:

  • Multiuse Integrated Photovoltaic (PV) Systems, including building-integrated, agricultural, and floating PV, and PV in transportation
  • PV Recycling
  • Next-Generation Power Electronics Based on Silicon Carbide and/or Planar Magnetics
  • Technologies to Integrate Solar Generation with Energy Storage Systems and/or Electric Vehicle Charging
  • Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power System Construction, Manufacturing, and Reliability
  • Solar Hardware and Software Technologies: Affordability, Reliability, Performance, and Manufacturing
  • Transferring Novel Solar Technologies from Research Laboratories to the Market (open to STTR applications only)
  • Concentrating Solar Power Technologies for Industrial Decarbonization (open to STTR applications only)
  • Next-Generation Solar Forecasting (open to STTR applications only)

Additionally, there are two opportunities to transfer a patented technology from a national lab to a small business for commercialization:

  • Hierarchical Distributed Voltage Regulation in Networked Autonomous Grids
  • Novel Solar Collector Tracking Error Direction: “NIO-Heliostat”

Mandatory letters of intent are due January 3, 2022 at 5 p.m. ETLearn more about the solar topics, and look for the funding opportunity announcement in the coming weeks.

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities

Author : US FEMA Staff     Published: 11/8/2021     FEMA

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Get Started      Program Resources         News           Contact

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) will support states, local communities, tribes and territories as they undertake hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards.

The BRIC program guiding principles are supporting communities through capability- and capacity-building; encouraging and enabling innovation; promoting partnerships; enabling large projects; maintaining flexibility; and providing consistency.

FY 2021 Notices of Funding Opportunities

The FY 2021 application period for the Hazard Mitigation Assistance Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs), which includes the BRIC program, opened on Sept. 30, 2021, and will close at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 28, 2022.

Subapplicants should touch base with their respective State Hazard Mitigation Officer to ask about project priorities and additional application requirements or deadlines for submitting information.

Learn More

Fiscal Year 2020 Subapplication Status

On July 1, 2021, FEMA announced the status of subapplicants for the $700 million available in FY 2020 grants. See the selections for:

Actual awards are anticipated to be made beginning in late November 2021.

Get Started


Learn about the available funding, who’s eligible to apply, types of activities eligible for funding, and what to expect when you apply.

Get important application dates, resources to navigate FEMA GO, criteria required in your application and details on the documentation you need to include.

Understand your application status, the appeal process and how to manage your award.

Read about the mission and vision of the BRIC program, see its past and future timeline and access summaries of stakeholders’ feedback on its creation.

BRIC Resources


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Program Support Materials

Visit our Resource List for BRIC for important resources to support building codes, partnerships, project scoping and more.

Mitigation Action Portfolio provides detailed documentation on hazard mitigation activities that are eligible for funding. Download the template to submit your own project to the portfolio.

Nature-Based Solutions: A Guide for Local Communities (2021) presents the business case and practical advice for planning and implementation on nature-based solutions.

Infographic summarizes the mission and goals of the BRIC program.

March 2021 summary provide an overview of BRIC’s Fiscal Year 2020 application submissions.

Status update of the Fiscal Year 2020 BRIC subapplication selections.

FEMA GO is the grants management system used to apply for BRIC program grants.

News and Announcements


For the Fiscal Year 2020 application cycle, through the National Competition, FEMA selected 22 large competitive projects based on the highest composite score until the funding amount available had been reached.

The benefits of these projects oftentimes extend to disadvantaged or underserved populations of larger communities, where access to health and human services, transportation and communications is a priority.

These projects also focus on protecting large and small community infrastructure, which helps ensure the continuity of vital services.

The 22 selected projects fell into seven categories of primary activity type: Elevation, Flood Control, Floodproofing, Relocation, Safe Room/Shelter, Utility and Infrastructure Protection, and Wildfire Management.

Learn more about the competitive project selections

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Houston Skyline - Mitigation Project

FEMA released the BRIC Notice of Funding Opportunity NOFO on Aug. 9, 2021.

This funding opportunity is posted on FEMA’s Grants webpage and provides detailed program information and other grant application and administration requirements.

The application period to apply for Fiscal Year 2021 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) funding opened on Sept. 30, 2021 and will close at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 28, 2022.

FEMA encourages subapplicants and applicants to apply. There is $1 billion of BRIC funding available. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered for funding.

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BRIC Program Development Timeline
This graphic illustrates the process and timing of the BRIC program for fiscal year 2021.

Since the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018  was signed into law, FEMA has developed the BRIC program to address National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation (Provision 1234 ).

Get Details on the Application Requirements

 

Added on 

Contact


Prospective subapplicants should contact their appropriate state, tribe or territory (applicant level) Hazard Mitigation Office with questions about the BRIC program.

Last updated November 2, 2021

Moving States Toward 100% Clean: Lessons from Lawmakers

Author: AEE Staff       11/8/2021          AEE

Webinar_Moving States Toward 100 Percent Clean Energy

While all eyes are on Washington, D.C., progress toward 100% clean energy continues to surge in the states. This year, AEE was involved in big legislative wins in four states — Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and Virginia states — that will move the ball toward that goal and create market opportunity for advanced energy companies. How did it get done? In this webinar, hear from lawmakers who shepherded landmark legislation that made their states national leaders.

Panelists:

  • Delegate Lamont Bagby | Chair, Legislative Black Caucus
    Virginia House of Delegates
  • Senator Chris Hansen | Chair, Appropriations Committee
    Colorado Senate
  • Amisha Rai | Managing Director (Moderator)
    Advanced Energy Economy

REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR

COP26 kicks off second week in Glasgow after landmark deals on coal, deforestation and methane

Author: Holly Ellyatt and Chloe Taylor    Published: 11/8/2021        CNBC

The coverage on this live blog is now over.

International lawmakers, business leaders and activists were convening in Glasgow, U.K. on Monday for the second week of the COP26 climate summit.

Delegates were asked to accelerate action on climate change and commit to more ambitious cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, all in an effort to limit global temperature rises.

Our blog is closing for the day, see you tomorrow

As former U.S. President Barack Obama continues to address delegates at the COP26 summit, our live blog is closing for today.

See you tomorrow and thanks for following our updates.

— Holly Ellyatt

9:15 a.m.: Former U.S. President Obama says ‘time really is running out’ to tackle climate change

Former U.S. president Barack Obama speaks during day 9 of COP26 on November 7, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Former U.S. president Barack Obama speaks during day 9 of COP26 on November 7, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Ian Forsyth | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Former U.S. President Barack Obama has told delegates at the COP26 summit that “when it comes to climate, time really is running out.”

“We have not done nearly enough to address this crisis, we are going to have to do more,” he said in a highly-anticipated speech. He said that both individually and collectively, we are falling short in tackling climate change.

Still, he said there had been “meaningful progress” since the 2015 Paris Agreement, though he referenced his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement (in 2017), saying: “I wasn’t real happy about that.”

“Despite four years of active hostility toward climate science” he said, Americans and the rest of the world have stuck by the agreement. “As the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the U.S. has to lead, we have enormous responsibilities … and we still have a lot of work to do,” he added.

— Holly Ellyatt

8:05 a.m.: Former U.S. President Obama urges action to help island nations

Former US President Barack Obama (R) waves as he walks with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, between sessions during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 8, 2021.
Former US President Barack Obama (R) waves as he walks with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, between sessions during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 8, 2021.
PAUL ELLIS | AFP | Getty Images

Former U.S. President Barack Obama has called on delegates at COP26 to address the risks that island nations face from rising sea levels.

“I have been shaped by my experience growing up in Hawaii,” Obama said, according to Reuters, adding: “We have to act now to help with adaptation and resilience.“

Calling island nations the “canary in the coal mine,” Obama said wealthy nations “have an added burden to make sure we are working with and helping and assisting those who are less responsible and less able but more vulnerable to this oncoming crisis,” the Guardian newspaper reported.

Obama will be addressing the summit at 2 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET).

— Holly Ellyatt

7:40a.m.: More work to do at COP26, UK government spokesman says

There is a great deal of challenging negotiation still to be done this week at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Monday.

“There has been significant progress made last week with some ambitious commitments … which has helped us move forward,” the spokesman said, Reuters reported.

He added that there will be “a great deal of challenging negotiations” taking place this week “so there is much, much more work to do.”

— Holly Ellyatt

6:25a.m.: Banking sector can play a ‘huge’ role in addressing climate change

The evening light on the skyline of buildings on the River Thames, on 4th April 2020 in London, United Kingdom.
The evening light on the skyline of buildings on the River Thames, on 4th April 2020 in London, United Kingdom.
Barry Lewis | In Pictures | Getty Images

The banking sector has an important role to play in addressing climate change, Marisa Buchanan, global head of sustainability at JPMorgan Chase, told CNBC at COP26.

“The banking sector is going to play a huge role, and this is really going to be around the need to mobilize capital to invest in the development and commercialization of a whole range of technologies that are going to play a key role in helping the world address growing energy demand while also meeting that energy demand with a lower carbon footprint,” she said.

She said there was a need for greater government policy action “that’s actually going to play such a critical role in sending long-term signals that the banking and finance sector need in order to mobilize that capital.”

— Holly Ellyatt

4:53 a.m.: Is COP26 itself guilty of ‘greenwashing’?

Climate activists unveil a two metre tall one tonne heart shaped ice sculpture on the banks of the Clyde and overlooking the COP26 location on November 07, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Climate activists unveil a two metre tall one tonne heart shaped ice sculpture on the banks of the Clyde and overlooking the COP26 location on November 07, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Ian Forsyth | Getty Images News | Getty Images

An increasing number of companies have been accused of “greenwashing” recently, that is, they’ve been accused of making false claims about the sustainability of their products or business practices.

Summits like COP26 are meant to draw attention to climate change and much of the discussion in Glasgow has been aimed at what businesses can do to change their own practices, but not everyone is impressed.

Nino Tronchetti Provera, the founder of Ambienta, an asset manager focused on investments driven by environmental sustainability, told CNBC he no longer attends COP climate summits “because they no longer achieve any results.”

“Half of what is being discussed in Glasgow is against the environment, because it’s very much affected by lobbying,” he said. “A lot of the things politicians are discussing today are against the planet, they’re not in favor of the planet.”

— Holly Ellyatt

4:33 a.m.: COP26 summit attendees include hundreds of fossil fuel lobbyists, human rights group says

Human rights group Global Witness has released a report stating that the COP26 summit has granted access to “at least 503 fossil fuel lobbyists, affiliated with some of the world’s biggest polluting oil and gas giants.“

Data analysis of the UN’s provisional list of named attendees, carried out by Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory, Glasgow Calls Out Polluters and Global Witness, showed that “corporate actors with a stake in the continued burning of fossil fuels have been enjoying access to these critical talks,” Global Witness said Monday.

“Researchers counted the number of individuals either directly affiliated with fossil fuel corporations, including the likes of Shell, Gazprom and BP or attending as members of delegations that act on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.”

If the fossil fuel lobby were a country delegation at COP it would be the largest, with 503 delegates – two dozen more than the largest country delegation, Global Witness said.

— Holly Ellyatt

3:40 a.m.: Corporate change won’t be immediate but ‘has to start now,’ business leader says

As the COP26 summit continues in Glasgow, 95 leading U.K. business have pledged to reverse the negative environmental impacts caused by their operations by the end of the decade.

The move is part of the Council for Sustainable Business’ Get Nature Positive campaign, and includes the likes of Barclays, GSK and Unilever among its signatories.

Liv Garfield, chief executive of water services company Severn Trent and the CEO of the Council of Sustainable Business, told CNBC that it was time for change.

VIDEO03:14
Severn Trent CEO wants to see ‘more consumer change come out of COP26’

“If you think, for example, about food retail and think of all the changes that somebody like a Sainsburys has got to make to be able to halve the environmental impact of the average shoppers’ basket by 2030, there are a thousand gazillion different projects they’re going to have to work on. So it can’t be immediate because it is hard, but it does have to start now,” Garfield told CNBC Monday.

She called on more businesses to join the council, saying “the very best companies are proud of their environmental commitments.”

— Holly Ellyatt

2:06 a.m.: Second week of COP26 ‘where the rubber hits the road’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres greet U.S. President Joe Biden as they arrive for day two of COP26 on November 1, 2021.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres greet U.S. President Joe Biden as they arrive for day two of COP26 on November 1, 2021.
Christopher Furlong | Getty Images News | Getty Images

To prevent the worst of what the climate crisis has in store, delegates still need to iron out a plan to contain global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — and there is not yet any clear indication that this is going to happen.

Ministers arriving in Glasgow this week will strive to resolve sticking points and conclude the talks with an agreement that is sufficient to avoid more frequent and progressively worse climate impacts. COP26 President Alok Sharma has described this as the moment “where the rubber hits the road.”

The first week of the U.N.-brokered talks saw a blizzard of climate pledges, with countries promising to end and reverse deforestation, phase out coal and reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

Business leaders and financial institutions have pledged to invest more in “net zero-aligned projects.” This has since been criticized, however, for “missing the point” on fossil fuels.

— Sam Meredith

1:58 a.m.: What’s on Monday’s agenda?

Monday’s main program is focused on the loss and damage caused by global warming and how countries can adapt to climate change.

Delegates gathering at COP26 on Monday will hear speakers from countries on the frontlines of the climate crisis, including indigenous communities.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama will speak at the climate summit during the afternoon session.

A meeting on the fashion industry’s role in reducing global emissions will take place, as well as an assembly of the G-77 and China — a group of 134 developing countries plus China.

— Chloe Taylor

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Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passes US House with billions for EV sector

Author: Sean Szymkowski       Published 11/6/2021       ROAD/SHOW

The bill includes billions of dollars to repair roads, invest in clean energy and build a nationwide network of EV charging stations.

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden called the legislation “a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

The US House of Representatives passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Friday night, earmarking billions of dollars for electric vehicles and clean energy and handing President Joe Biden a win after months of negotiations among Democrats. The bill passed the Senate in August and now heads to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

The bill sets aside $7.5 billion to create a nationwide network of EV charging stations and expedite the adoption of electric cars this decade. Another $65 billion will fund an investment in clean energy and renewables for the nation’s electricity grid, and promises to create a more resilient system. Funds will also funnel to various clean energy technology projects.

In a statement, Biden called the bill “a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.”

Aside from the big boost in support automakers will receive from the charging station investment, the bill includes billions of dollars for traditional infrastructure projects. $110 billion is designated for fixing bridges and roads, while also investing in ways to reduce traffic fatalities. Another $39 billion will go to public transit, with an additional $66 billion reserved for Amtrak to repair lines and expand services in the US.

The 228-206 House vote on the infrastructure bill followed intense negotiations among Democrats. Some progressive members of the party had been withholding support for the bill unless a separate, and larger, social-safety-net and climate bill was also voted on. But on Friday night, a group of centrist Democrats promised to back that bill if they’re satisfied with an upcoming cost estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. They committed to a vote on the social policy bill no later than the week of Nov. 15. Most notably for the auto industry, that bill boosts the EV tax credit by $5,000.