The Defense Production Act for clean energy manufacturing will help fight inflation, grow jobs and put America on a clearer path to energy independence
By Ramona du Houx
June 6, 2022
Elected Officials to Protect America thanks President Joe Biden for taking the historic action on June 6, D-day, of invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to accelerate the production of clean energy manufacturing.
The need to transition off of fossil fuels has never been more urgent. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the world will suffer mass migrations and conflicts caused by scarcity of resources due to the climate crisis — if countries around the globe don’t accelerate their transition to use clean energy. Our lives, economy, and national security depend on us meeting the existential threat of climate change.
Gasoline and other fossil-fuel based energy costs are atall-time highs. Prices on goods have skyrocketed, in large part, because the transportation of getting the goods to market relies on fossil fuels. Americans face dual crises of rising energy prices along with a cascade of climate impacts due to continued fossil fuel emissions. Using the Defense Production Act to rapidly build out U.S. clean energy infrastructure paves the way for the domestic transition to clean energy and away from fossil fuels.
“EOPA is deeply grateful for President Biden’s leadership in invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to accelerate the production of clean energy manufacturing. With more clean energy sources available to feed into the grid — our nation and economy will be more secure,” said Dominic Frongillo, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), former Councilmember and Deputy Supervisor Caroline, New York. “In today’s executive action, President Biden has strengthened our national security and that of the world’s as our manufacturers will be able to ramp up their production, putting the U.S. on a clearer path to a clean energy economy and energy independence. It is a major step forward towards a whole-of-government approach to respond to the climate emergency at the scale that science demands.”
America excels in ramping up production of materials to combat a crisis. In 1940 the United States produced less than 5 percent of the world’s manufactured goods. By 1945 it was over 80 percent. Lend Lease became law to meet the needs of WWII as An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States. President Biden recently enacted Lend Lease to help Ukraine fight to keep their democracy, and the hopes of the free world alive.
The DPA authorizes the President to require businesses to accept and prioritize contracts for materials deemed necessary for national defense. The DPA will also stimulate the economy with job creation as manufacturers hire more personnel to meet demand.
Demand for clean energy technologies such as solar panels, heat pumps, and electrolyzers for hydrogen has increased significantly as the costs of these technologies have declined dramatically over the last ten years. That’s why the President invoked the DPA for them specifically. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), as the world transitions to a clean energy economy, global demand for these essential products and components is set to skyrocket by 400-600 percent over the next several decades.
Unless the U.S. expands new manufacturing, processing, and installation capacity, America will 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 clean energy transition.
“The President’s action today shows the world that America can lead in fighting the climate crisis,” said Christian Brock, CEO of Elected Officials to Protect America, Air Force Veteran, CA. “With 89 percent of U.S. solar panel modules being imported, increasing domestic solar panel production capability can grow our clean energy manufacturing base and with it — so will our economy. EOPA applauds the President’s leadership on combating the climate crisis. We are excited to continue working with the Biden-Harris administration to provide access to clean, affordable, renewable energy to the low-to-moderate income households impacted most by this crisis.”
The European Union’s fossil fuel dependency put Ukraine in Putin’s crosshairs. The EU relies on Russian fossil fuels with annual oil exports fulfilling 40 percent of demand across the continent. Putin used these profits from oil and gas to wage his war knowing the EU wouldn’t put sanctions on their energy source during peak need. The security of peaceful democratic nations relies, in large part, by curbing greenhouse gas emissions and their dependency on fossil fuels.
“The only way to prevent tyrannical leaders like Putin from getting the financial resources they need to create conflicts is to reduce, and eventually eliminate, our dependency on fossil fuels. A global clean energy economy will increase international security with healthier, more prosperous countries,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, former Maine state Representative, Marine combat veteran, President of the Elected Officials to Protect America and Co-Founder. “The President’s DPA action today will weaken the geopolitical power of fossil fuels, address the climate emergency, and help prevent further mass suffering. EOPA thanks President Biden for taking this bold action and leading the world to a clean energy economy.”
The DPA has already been identified by EOPA as a necessary tool to accelerate our nation’s transition to clean energy in order to meet the clear and present danger of the existential threat of the climate crisis. The DPA is included in theEOPA letter, which over 520 lawmakers have signed, which supports a clean energy plan and asks for a Climate Emergency Declaration.
Specifically, on the anniversary of D-day, when allied troops landed in Normandy, France turning the tide of WWII in 1944, the President has authorized the Department of Energy to use the DPA to rapidly expand American manufacturing of five critical clean energy technologies:
- Solar panel parts like photovoltaic modules and module components;
- Building insulation;
- Heat pumps, which heat and cool buildings super efficiently;
- Equipment for making and using clean electricity-generated fuels, including electrolyzers, fuel cells, and related platinum group metals; and
- Critical power grid infrastructure like transformers.
The DPA can appropriate up to $650 billion in funding and does not require authorization from Congress.
President Joe Biden’s landmark $1 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Law set the foundation for the transition to a clean energy economy with investments in mitigation, research and development (R&D), and infrastructure to fight the climate crisis. It was the first major step.
While there is a bill in the Senate with investments amounting to $550 billion for climate action, the legislation has been stalled because it would require all Democrats voting for it under the Reconciliation budget process. Senators Manchin and Sinema have declined to vote for it.
The climate crisis investments in the legislation before the Senate would set the United States on a path to a 50-52 percent reduction in carbon pollution by 2030 — the same goal scientists say is necessary to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. The provisions in this critical legislation are key to the advancement of the clean energy economy like making electric vehicles affordable with rebates. EOPA hopes that the President’s leadership invoking the DPA will help this major legislation become law.
“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity,” said Albert Einstein. The world is in a climate crisis, clean energy technologies present the opportunity forward.