Here’s exactly how Biden’s $2 trillion of infrastructure spending breaks down

AP President Joe Biden Amtrak Train Boarding
President Joe Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, board an Amtrak train during the 2020 presidential campaign.

  • President Joe Biden will officially announce his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan today.
  • The bill contains major investments in transportation, housing, and climate change policies.
  • Biden plans to offset the spending in the plan with a corporate tax increase.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden is set to announce the first part of his two-part infrastructure package this afternoon. It’s called the American Jobs Plan, and it will cost about $2 trillion.

The package is focused on job creation, traditional infrastructure spending, and investment in many other things that stand to redefine infrastructure as a political issue, such as funding for care workers, as well as incentives for childcare to be provided at American workplaces. Biden plans to couple it with a tax increase for corporations, meant to offset the bill’s spending over 15 years.

Here’s how the spending will break down.

Transportation

  • $621 billion for transportation includes:
    • $115 billion for modernizing roads, highways, and bridges
    • $20 billion for road safety
    • $85 billion for public transit
    • $80 billion for Amtrak and freight rail service
    • $174 billion for electric vehicles
    • $25 billion for airports
    • $17 billion for ports
    • $20 billion for neighborhoods historically excluded from transportation investments
    • $25 billion to fund new projects
    • $50 billion for infrastructure resilience, with a special emphasis on more vulnerable areas

Water

  • $111 billion for water infrastructure includes:
    • $45 billion towards fully eliminating lead pipes through various programs
    • $56 billion in loans and grants to help modernize water systems around the country
    • $10 billion for monitoring and fixing substances in drinking water

Broadband and power

  • $100 billion for broadband
    • This would build out infrastructure for 100% coverage and would specifically allocate funds for tribal lands
    • It would also seek to reduce broadband pricing
  • $100 billion for power infrastructure includes:
    • $16 billion towards plugging old wells and cleaning up abandoned mines
    • $5 billion towards revamping former industrial and energy sites
    • $10 billion for the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps

Housing and education

  • $213 billion for creating and retrofitting over 2 million housing units, with a $40 billion investment in public housing infrastructure
  • $100 billion for upgrading and building public schools
  • $12 billion for community college infrastructure
  • $25 billion for upgrading childcare facilities and making it more widely accessible
    • This is accompanied by a tax credit to incentivize building childcare at Americans’ places of work
  • $18 billion to modernize Veterans Affairs hospitals, as well as $10 billion for federal buildings
  • $400 billion towards home/community care for the elderly and disabled
    • This would expand access, and seek to improve wages, benefits, and unionization for workers in the industry.

Research and development

  • $180 billion towards R&D includes:
    • $50 billion for the National Science Foundation
    • $30 billion for innovation and job creation R&D
    • $40 billion in upgrading research infrastructure, with half allocated to Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) as well as “Minority Serving Institutions” (MSIs)
    • $10 billion for those HBCUs and MSIs, as well as $15 billion to create over 200 centers at them to serve as research incubators
    • $35 billion in climate research and development

Manufacturing and labor

  • $300 billion for American manufacturing and small business
    • $50 billion for a new office for a new office focused on domestic industry
    • $50 billion for research and manufacturing for semiconductors
    • $30 billion to create new jobs and fend off losses during future pandemics
    • $46 billion for federal buying, with an emphasis on various clean technologies
    • $20 billion for regional innovation hubs
    • $14 billion towards increasing competitiveness through technological advances
    • $52 billion to domestic manufacturers
    • $31 billion for programs providing credit, R&D funding, and venture capital to small businesses
    • $5 billion to create a new “Rural Partnership Program,” aimed at supporting local rural efforts
  • $100 billion for workforce development includes:
    • $40 billion towards career services and training for workers who have lost jobs
    • $12 billion in targeted funding towards “workers facing some of the greatest challenges,” prioritizing underserved and hard hit communities, with $5 billion towards “evidence-based community violence prevention programs”
    • $48 billion towards worker protection and development infrastructure, including an expansion of apprenticeships, with a particular emphasis on women and people of color
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ERCOT fired its CEO and the head of Texas’ utility regulator resigned following the state’s devastating storm blackouts

texas weather
Roads were covered with snow and sleet on February 15, 2021, in Spring, Texas.

  • ERCOT fired CEO Bill Magness Wednesday, after a storm left millions of Texans without access to power.
  • DeAnn Walker, head of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), had resigned on Monday.
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had called for both of their resignations in the aftermath of February’s blackouts.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Texas’ power grid operator fired its CEO on Wednesday following devastating blackouts in February that left millions of people across the state without access to power and clean drinking water for days.

Bill Magness’ dismissal from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) came just two days after the head of Texas’ utilities regulator resigned.

State lawmakers, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, had called for both leaders to resign after last week’s Texas Senate hearing into the storm and its effects.

Magness was fired by the company’s board after an emergency meeting Wednesday night, CNN reported. 

ERCOT, a non-profit that operates 90% of the state’s electric load, came under fire after lawmakers said it had failed to prepare for the heavy storm that cut off large chunks of the state’s power supply.

Five of ERCOT’s board members had already resigned following the disaster.

Magness has a 60-day termination notice, during which he’ll continue to serve as the company’s president and CEO, ERCOT told CNN. The company expected to start searching for Magness’ replacement immediately, it told the publication.

Meanwhile, DeAnn Walker, the head of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), resigned on Monday, which the PUC said was “effective immediately.” The commission regulates the state’s electric, telecommunication, and water and sewer utilities, including ERCOT.

“I stand proud that I worked endless hours over the past two and a half weeks to return electric power to the grid,” Walker wrote in her resignation letter, per The Wall Street Journal. She did not explicitly say why she was resigning.

“Despite the treatment I received from some legislators, I am proud that I spoke the truth.”

A major winter storm that hit Texas on February 15 caused sources of electricity, like natural-gas plants, to go offline, while simultaneously increasing the demand for energy as people across the state turned on heaters to stay warm.

This caused a huge shortfall in energy, and the wholesale price of electricity surged 10,000%. One Army veteran said he was billed $16,000 for power.

Millions in the state also lost access to clean drinking water and were asked to boil their water, after power outages hit treatment facilities.

President Joe Biden declared it a “major disaster.”

The huge spike in bills happened because of Texas’ deregulated energy market. Customers who signed up to buy their power based on its wholesale cost, rather than as part of a fixed-price contract, are vulnerable to price fluctuations, such as those that occurred during the storm.

Just hours before Walker’s resignation, Lt. Gov. Patrick released a statement calling on both Walker and Magness to resign.

“Both the PUC Chair and ERCOT CEO said they were prepared the day before the storm hit in full force, but obviously they were not,” Patrick said.

Patrick said they hadn’t considered that the freeze could shut down power plants, or that crews would not be able to make emergency repairs, and said their calculations on how much energy would be unavailable during the storm were inaccurate.

“These two issues alone accounted for hundreds of thousands of homes being without power and threatened a statewide blackout,” he said.

“They hoped for the best instead of planning for the worst,” he added.

Texan Sen. Ted Cruz has also come under fire after he went to Mexico during the storm.

US officials, including Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, have called on the state of Texas to pay residents’ hefty utility bills. Officials from Harris County, which includes Houston, are looking into leaving Texas’ deregulated power grid.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The head of Texas’ utility regulator has resigned following blackouts that left millions without power and water

texas weather
Roads were covered with snow and sleet on February 15, 2021, in Spring, Texas.

  • DeAnn Walker, head of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), resigned on Monday.
  • A storm in February left millions of people across Texas without access to power and clean drinking water.
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had called for her resignation. The PUC regulates the state’s utilities.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The head of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) has resigned, after blackouts in February left millions of people across the state without access to power and clean drinking water for days.

The PUC said Monday that DeAnn Walker had resigned from the role, “effective immediately.”

The PUC regulates the state’s electric, telecommunication, and water and sewer utilities, including the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a non-profit that operates 90% of the state’s electric load. 

State lawmakers, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, had called for her resignation after she testified during a Texas Senate hearing last week that lasted almost 24 hours.

“I stand proud that I worked endless hours over the past two and a half weeks to return electric power to the grid,” Walker wrote in her resignation letter, per The Wall Street Journal. She did not explicitly say why she was resigning.

“Despite the treatment I received from some legislators, I am proud that I spoke the truth.”

A major winter storm that hit Texas on February 15 caused sources of electricity, like natural-gas plants, to go offline, while simultaneously increasing the demand for energy as people across the state turned on heaters to stay warm.

This caused a huge shortfall in energy, and the wholesale price of electricity surged 10,000%. One Army veteran said he was billed $16,000 for power.

Millions in the state also lost access to clean drinking water and were asked to boil their water, after power outages hit treatment facilities.

President Joe Biden declared it a “major disaster.”

The huge spike in bills happened because of Texas’ deregulated energy market. Customers who signed up to buy their power based on its wholesale cost, rather than as part of a fixed-price contract, are vulnerable to price fluctuations, such as those that occurred during the storm.

Just hours before Walker’s resignation, Lt. Gov. Patrick released a statement calling on both Walker and Bill Magness, the CEO of ERCOT, to resign.

“Both the PUC Chair and ERCOT CEO said they were prepared the day before the storm hit in full force, but obviously they were not,” Patrick said.

Patrick said they hadn’t consider that the freeze could shut down power plants, or that crews would not be able to make emergency repairs, and said their calculations on how much energy would be unavailable during the storm were inaccurate.

“These two issues alone accounted for hundreds of thousands of homes being without power and threatened a statewide blackout,” he said.

“They hoped for the best instead of planning for the worst,” he added.

Five of ERCOT’s board members have resigned following the disaster. Texan Sen. Ted Cruz has also come under fire after he went to Mexico during the storm.

US officials, including Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, have called on the state of Texas to pay residents’ hefty utility bills. Officials from Harris County, which includes Houston, are looking into leaving Texas’ deregulated power grid.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet the startup behind those massive Texas energy bills

Power lines are seen on February 19, 2021 in Texas City, Texas
Power lines in Texas City, Texas

Welcome to Insider Energy, a weekly energy newsletter brought to you by Business Insider.  

Here’s what you need to know:

Texas continued to dominate headlines this week, with lawmakers looking for where to hurl blame. They have plenty of options, including themselves. 

Let’s start there. 


Texas
A woman walks on an empty street on February 15, 2021 in East Austin, Texas

Blackouts and big bills: Who’s to blame for the Texas energy crisis?

That’s a question that lawmakers in the Lone Star State have been asking in state House and Senate hearings that began this week. 

  • “Who’s at fault?” state Rep. Todd Hunter, a Republican from Corpus Christi, said Thursday during the House hearing. “I want to hear who’s at fault. I want the public to know who screwed up.”

A true cluster: Texas Governor Greg Abbot blamed ERCOT, the nonprofit that manages the grid, while other lawmakers blamed the Public Utility Commission, which oversees ERCOT – and is led by a commissioner appointed by Abbot, The Texas Tribune reported

  • Legislation crafted by the very lawmakers questioning ERCOT and other entities also took heat for not mandating the kinds of safeguards that other deregulated states require. 
  • Lawmakers scrutinizing the energy industry “reap millions of dollars in unlimited political contributions from energy interests, more than any other sector,” ABC News reported
  • And then there were the energy producers themselves, which failed to provide enough power during the storm. 

Behind the big bills: Lawmakers also discussed how to provide relief for Texans facing enormous energy bills, most of which are due to a single energy company – Griddy

What’s next: The hearings continue today and could result in new legislation and mandates for energy companies. There have already been some consequences. 

  • Five ERCOT board members resigned this week including the chairwoman Sally Talberg. All of them live outside Texas.

Read more: A Texas startup had big plans to disrupt the state’s $21 billion power market. Now its customers face enormous electricity bills.


Deb Haaland DOI
Rep. Deb Haaland, Biden’s pick for Interior Secretary

Granholm is confirmed as Energy Secretary, Haaland is grilled by climate deniers 

Energy: Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm was confirmed Thursday to lead the Department of Energy. 

Interior: Meanwhile, Rep. Deb Haaland, Biden’s pick for Interior, faced hostile questions during her confirmation hearings this week from GOP Senators who deny climate science and are bankrolled by fossil-fuel interests.   

  • Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma, Mike Lee of Utah, and John Marshall of Kansas – who sit on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee – reject the scientific consensus that human activity fuels global warming, according to statements they’ve made in recent years, Insider’s Eliza Relman reports.
  • “I’m not sure that there is even climate change,” Marshall said during an interview on a Kansas radio station in 2017. In a statement to Insider, Marshall claimed that the climate is “always changing.” 
  • Read Eliza’s full story here. For more on the Senators who are tied to fossil fuel interests, check out this piece from The Guardian.  

Oil rig in field
The worst for oil markets is likely over, Morgan Stanley said in a note Tuesday.

Oil erases pandemic losses, and now it’s headed for a historic surge: Bank of America

Bank of America came out with a big prediction for oil this week: demand for crude could, over the next three years, rise faster than at any point in the last half-century. 

  • The growth in demand could push prices up to $100 a barrel – well beyond where they were before the pandemic caused demand to crash.
  • Today, a barrel of Brent is trading for about $65. 

Behind the surge: Unprecedented government stimulus, which fuels economic activity, and rising demand in China, a major market. Voluntary production cuts, led by Saudi Arabia, have helped, too. 

Companies to benefit: “We’ve got buy ratings on pretty much all the oil names,” Doug Leggate, Bank of America’s head of oil and gas research told us earlier this year. “We think we are at the bottom of another significant cycle recovery in energy.”


LIVE EVENT: Join us March 8 to hear from leaders across the energy industry on building a new low-carbon economy

We’re hosting a panel with executives from Shell, Facebook, Oliver Wyman, and Form Energy on March 8. You can sign up here

What we’ll discuss: My plan is to go beyond a fluffy conversation about the energy transition and break into some of the challenges companies face as they try to meet demands from investors, climate activists, and their employees. I also want to delve into the specific hurdles that remain on the technology front. 

Got questions for them? Reach out at bjones@insider.com


That’s it! Have a great weekend. 

– Benji 

Ps. This week in Should I Return My Dog, Jumi found a mini Torah displayed on a shelf in my apartment and proceeded to shred it. Happy Purim.

Jumi Benji Jones
Read the original article on Business Insider

Blame the wind? In Texas, fossil fuels have actually played a larger role in leaving millions without power

GettyImages 1231190260
Pedestrians walk on along a snow-covered street on February 15, 2021 in Austin, Texas.

  • Freezing cold temperatures have caused severe power outages in Texas.
  • A majority of lost generation has been from fossil fuels, not wind.
  • But the main factor is not the source of electricity, but the extreme weather.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

It’s a popular claim and a powerful image, attracting the attention of conservatives and headline writers of all political persuasions: frozen wind turbines are to blame for Texans losing power and icicles forming their homes during this week’s shocking cold spell.

There are a number of reasons why, as of Tuesday evening, more than 3 million Texas were without power. The simplest explanation is that the extreme cold has spurred an unprecedented demand for heat, outstripping the state’s ability to provide.

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages 75% of the state’s deregulated electricity market, the previous record for demand, set in 2018, was smashed on Valentine’s Day. And as the weather has gotten worse, the capacity to generate electricity has diminished: By Tuesday, per ERCOT’s CEO, 45,000 megawatts of generating capacity was offline – up from 34,000 megawatts offline the day before, representing more than half of what the state typically uses in a day.

Most of the generation lost has been from coal and gas, according to ERCOT, with only 13% attributable to wind. “By some estimates,” The Texas Tribune reported Tuesday, “nearly half of the state’s natural gas production has screeched to a halt.”

“Gathering lines freeze, and the wells get so cold that they can’t produce,” Parker Fawcett, a natural gas analyst at S&P Global Platts, told the Tribune. “And, pumps use electricity, so they’re not even able to lift that gas and liquid, because there’s no power to produce.”

Texas is unique: It does, by far, generate the most electricity from wind of any state – three times as much as liberal California. It is also energy-independent, its electricity grid almost entirely disconnected from the rest of the country, a move that insulates it from federal regulation and has also left it hanging now, in this moment of need, with so much of its own power generation frozen and offline.

Despite its greater than typical reliance on wind, Texas’ chief source of electricity is not renewable. Indeed, a majority, 52%, comes from natural gas, according to the US Energy Information Administration, while less than a quarter comes from renewables like wind and solar.

And fossil fuels have been affected by the weather too.

As of Tuesday morning, distributor Texas Gas Service warned consumers, “our suppliers of natural gas are experiencing freezing gas wells due to the duration of the extreme cold.”

It is also simply the case that, whatever the fault of regulators and local politicians, Texas is a victim of a cold spell like it hasn’t seen in decades.

A 2016 risk assessment from the US Department of Energy, detailing electricity outages between 1992 and 2009, says 18 were caused by thunderstorms and eight by heatwaves. It doesn’t list freezing temperatures.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

Read the original article on Business Insider