- Aug 6, 2021 2:25 pm GMT
This sentence made me laugh. "It’s (the bipartisan infrastructure bill) a promising policy tool that “just needs another zero in that budget line,” Jenkins says. And, what a zero! A Princeton study estimates that $350 billion investment is needed to develop transmission capacity for just the next nine years. But the current bill only has provisions for investments of between $10 billion to $12 billion to erect new transmission towers and lines. I read this morning that the bill will create a $256 billion government deficit over the next decade. From the NYTImes article:
Fiscal watchdogs have warned that lawmakers have used budgetary gimmicks to obscure the true cost, and the findings could give pause to some Republicans who are loath to raise taxes or add to deficits but have agreed to support the legislation.
Of course, all of us know by now that the Biden administration's agenda for clean energy is way too ambitious. Even utilities are not taking it seriously. Still, the piece raises an important question from the policy perspective. How to raise funds for critical infrastructure upgrades without saddling the government with enormous debt? Private initiative can fill the gap but new projects will have few customers. The piece references DoE's $2.5 billion revolving credit facility that makes the government the first set of customers for these upgrades. But that's a drop in the ocean compared to the scale and extent of changes required.