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Joe Biden's administration has said it will use national security powers to boost the roll out of clean energy technology, including solar panels and heat pumps, which it says will help its allies “in the face of Putin's war in Ukraine”.
In a statement, the White House said the “historic action”, would lower energy costs, create jobs, and lessen exposure to energy supply chain vulnerabilities.
The move “will spur domestic manufacturing, construction projects, and good-paying jobs – all while cutting energy costs for families, strengthening our grid, and tackling climate change and environmental injustice,” the statement said.
“With a stronger clean energy arsenal, the United States can be an even stronger partner to our allies, especially in the face of Putin’s war in Ukraine.
“The stakes could not be higher.”
Ali Zaidi, the Deputy National Climate Advisor to the President said Mr Biden was “authorising use of the Defense Production Act for solar, heat pumps, and other key US clean-tech manufacturing capabilities needed to strengthen our clean energy arsenal”.
He said this would help make the US a “clean energy superpower” adding: “With a stronger clean energy arsenal, America can be an even stronger partner to our allies, especially in the face of Putin’s war.”
As well as solar panels and heat pumps, the executive action will also boost production of insulation, transformers and components used in the US power grid.
In the US, as in Europe, soaring energy prices have been accompanied by record levels of inflation.
The White House statement said: “Today’s clean energy technologies are a critical part of the arsenal we must harness to lower energy costs for families, reduce risks to our power grid, and tackle the urgent crisis of a changing climate.”
The use of the Defense Production Act is notable, as it is a legislative tool intended for defence spending during wartime.
But the White House has argued the climate crisis presents a threat to the US.
“Reducing America’s dependence on gas and oil is critical to U.S. national security,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr Kathleen Hicks in a statement.
“In conflict, fossil fuel supply lines are especially vulnerable. The actions President Biden announced today will help strengthen our supply chains and ensure that the United States is a leader in producing the energy technologies that are essential to our future success.
“They will also help accelerate DoD’s transition toward clean energy technologies that can help strengthen military capability while creating good jobs for American workers.”
The US energy department statement also said that demand for products and components for solar panels, heat pumps, transformers and other clean energy essentials “is set to skyrocket by 400-600 per cent over the next several decades”.
“Unless the US expands new manufacturing, processing, and installation capacity, we will be forced to continue to rely on clean energy imports – exposing the nation to supply chain vulnerabilities, while simultaneously missing out on the enormous job opportunities associated with the energy transition.”