By: Jose Arrieta
President Biden recently invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), an action that was originally enacted at the start of the Korean War to provide the government with broad mobilization capabilities. Today, this act gives the Department of Energy the ability to boost domestic production of critical energy resources. Heat pumps, one of five technologies included in the President’s announcement, are a key component in the administration’s goal of reducing carbon emissions and lowering energy prices. Calling on the DPA to push these clean technologies forward points to a larger truth: energy dependence is a national security issue.
The DPA will ramp up U.S. production of heat pumps for domestic use and export in the wake of skyrocketing energy prices and looming shortages around the world. Fossil fuel reliance is primarily viewed as an environmental threat; but as gas supplies increase, the world is seeing (in real time) the national security issues associated with energy resources. Accelerated usage of heat pumps in the nation’s buildings, factories, and other critical facilities will reduce overall reliance on oil and gas from foreign sources and create new jobs within the United States. With global demand for clean energy technologies projected to increase by 400% – 600% in the next several decades, this is an important step in securing energy independence, creating new jobs, and enabling a clean future for the world.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homes and commercial buildings emitted 13% of the total U.S. climate pollution in 2020. Unlike furnaces or air conditioning systems, heat pumps can be fueled by electricity, significantly reducing carbon emissions. Usage of furnaces and air conditioners not only contribute to climate pollution, but also lead to higher energy bills for residents and business owners.
Presently, U.S. HVAC manufacturers are not producing heat pumps at the rate required to keep up with demand. However, the DPA has the potential to substantially expand heat pump installation in homes and residential buildings across the country. Last month, the General Services Administration acknowledged the importance of heat pumps in clean energy investment by including the technology in their Green Proving Ground program, aimed at highlighting innovative building materials. Dalrada’s CO2-based Likido®ONE was the only heat pump selected by the administration, emphasizing the role decarbonization will play in reaching 2050 net zero climate goals.
With clean energy projected to generate 10.3 million new jobs globally by 2030, the administration’s investment in sustainable, efficient technology puts America on track to combat climate change, stay economically competitive, and create energy independence. The utilization of the DPA is an important step in making this target goal achievable, and the administration should continue to look for new opportunities to invest in the future of clean technology.