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Congresswoman Escobar Votes for the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act

This job-creating, bipartisan package includes Congresswoman Escobar’s amendment to expand opportunities in solar energy research and development to minority-serving institutions like UTEP

Washington, September 24, 2020

Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) voted to pass H.R. 4447, the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act. This job-creating legislation launches the research and development needed to unleash a clean energy revolution, makes a down-payment in modernizing American’s energy innovation infrastructure and puts our country on the path to achieving net-zero pollution by 2050.

This bipartisan legislation includes an amendment offered by Congresswoman Escobar to expand opportunities to invest in solar energy research and development. The amendment requires the Department of Energy to give special consideration to minority-serving institutions, or multi-institutional consortiums including a minority-serving institution, when considering solar energy research and development applications for grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements. 

“I proudly joined my colleagues to pass the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act to bring our country into a new era of innovation and take a monumental step forward to tackle the climate crisis,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “I’m glad that my amendment to create new opportunities to expand solar energy research and development conducted by institutions like UTEP was included in this legislation that will transform our energy systems and create new jobs in El Paso and across our country.”

The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act makes long-overdue reforms to energy policy and authorized major investments in the transition to a low-carbon future. In addition to Congresswoman Escobar’s amendment, this legislation:

  • Supports the transition to a low-carbon economy by investing in clean energy, distributed energy resources, energy storage systems, and microgrids – all of which build resiliency and are crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Brings clean, reliable energy to marginalized communities, including $25 million for grants to deploy energy storage and microgrids in rural communities and $1 billion for solar installations in low-income communities.
  • Sets new energy efficiency standards for buildings, which roughly count towards 30% of greenhouse gas pollution, and provides funding for schools, homes, municipal buildings.
  • Includes funding and other measures to modernize the electric grid, such as programs to improve resilience and reliability, enhance cybersecurity, protect critical infrastructure and supply chains, and improve transmission planning.
  • Invests in the technology and infrastructure needed to electrify and substantially reduce emissions from the transportation sector, which is the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S.
  • Prioritizes clean energy projects located in low-income and marginalized communities and advances the development of technologies and practices that expand access to clean energy.
  • Establishes a clean energy workforce development program to educate and train the next generation of clean energy researchers, scientists, and professionals, including through grants to eligible businesses.

The text for Congresswoman’s amendment is available here and a fact sheet on the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act is available here.

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