White House officials Thursday evening announced a “game-changers” initiative for research and development projects advancing the Biden administration’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
The initiative, set to be formally announced Friday, will prioritize five priorities in the short term: more efficient building heating and cooling, aviation, grid electrification, and industrial products/fuels. The administration defined the “game changers” in question as new technologies that can potentially advance the net-zero goal. They are a combination of new tech, improved existing tech and combinations thereof. The White House also released a list of 37 research and development meeting its definition across federal agencies.
Aviation in particular is a major hurdle for administration efforts to reduce emissions, as the sector accounts for about 2.5 percent of carbon emissions. The White House has identified several potential initiatives to cut aviation emissions, including increased electrification and renewable biofuels.
Grid resilience improvement, too, has been a major priority for the White House in light of recent incidents such as 2021’s winter storms, which knocked out Texas’ self-contained grid.
“The grid of the future must be able to sense and adapt to changing electricity demand and external factors in real time, all while we decarbonize and expand the grid’s total capacity,” the White House said in a fact sheet. “Besides enabling electrification and integration of clean power sources, these innovations will also reduce the total cost of reaching net-zero emissions across the economy and increase grid resilience.”
The administration also announced plans to put $1.5 billion in funds from the Inflation Reduction Act toward modernizing and upgrading laboratory infrastructure across agencies, distributed through the Department of Energy.
“Our world-class system of national labs has enabled American innovation and made the U.S. the world leader in science and technology for generations,” White House Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation John Podesta said in a statement. “The investments in national labs in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act will help drive clean energy innovation, boost our economy, lower costs for families, create good-paying American jobs, and combat the climate crisis here at home and around the world.”