Companies Must Make Diversity Pledge To Qualify For $6 Billion Biden Initiative

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The Biden administration’s newly-launched $6.3 billion decarbonization fund will require companies submit a “Community Benefits Plan” in order to be considered, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Wednesday.

Applications to the fund, known as the Industrial Demonstrations Program, will have “20 percent of the technical merit review” be based on whether these plans sufficiently advanced four administration goals: investment in America’s workforce; engaging communities and labor; diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; and implementing Justice 40,” the DOE announced. Justice40 is a White House initiative that targets 40% of certain federal spending projects benefit disadvantaged communities that are “overburdened by pollution.” (RELATED: Biden’s Energy Secretary Calls Going Green ‘The Greatest Peace Plan’ In History)

The program will focus on “decarbonization technologies” in the industrial sector, with a particular focus on iron, steel, aluminum, concrete and cement and other chemicals, The White House announced in a fact sheet. The program is funded primarily by the Biden administration’s signature Inflation Reduction Act, a far-reaching climate bill that offers hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies for green technology.

“It’s an opportunity, really, to accelerate transformational projects for the industrial sector taking concepts that might have required decades, plural decades, to prove out and scale, and shrinking that timeline down to this decade,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Wednesday at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, announcing the program. “It’s an important chance to make progress on our climate goals, especially slashing pollution from a sector that contributes roughly a third of the country’s carbon emission.”

The initiative is part of the Biden administration’s push to make the U.S. economy produce net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the DOE said in a press release. Projects that have local benefits and encourage the expansion of established technology towards that goal will be prioritized.

The program would also help the U.S. maintain its “competitive edge” and promote its “ability to build and lead new markets,” Granholm said. However, to ensure the program is successful, the private sector needs to “step up,” Granholm continued.

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