Global energy systems are in the midst of a transition to cleaner energy sources and transformative energy technologies, bolstered by a consensus around the need to combat climate change. To lead in this transition, the United States must accelerate the sourcing, manufacture, deployment and scaling up of clean and advanced energy technologies and their associated infrastructure.
However, this accelerating demand for and investment in alternative energy technologies—not only in the United States but around the world—is poised to strain global supply chains and strategic resources. Building a strong foundation for U.S. leadership and fully capitalizing on the potential benefits of Congress’ historic investment will require decisive policy and regulatory actions now to establish secure, resilient and efficient clean energy supply chains.
The challenge is significant. Depending on the specific technology, supply chains may be complex, nascent, highly interdependent, vulnerable to unreliable international actors, reliant upon scarce resources and/ or constrained by onerous regulatory and permitting requirements. To bolster supply chain resiliency, address potential bottlenecks and position the United States for domestic success and global leadership in the energy transition, policymakers must:
Ensure Access To Critical Minerals And Materials
1. Develop and strengthen strategic alliances with friendly, mineral-rich countries (e.g., Indo-Pacific and Latin American countries) to expand and secure access to critical minerals and strategic materials from primary and recycled sources.
2. Support long-term domestic mining, processing and recycling of strategic materials and critical minerals of which the U.S. has sufficient reserves (e.g., lithium, copper, graphite).
Facilitate Competitive Domestic Manufacturing
3. Ensure predictable, consistent regulations and policies related to clean energy development.
4. Ensure promising new technologies receive necessary support to obtain first-mover advantage and secure emerging supply chains longer term (e.g., perovskite-based solar, clean hydrogen and advanced nuclear reactors).
5. Modernize America’s workforce development system to scale the supply of skilled workers and equip the next generation with required skills for high-demand jobs.
Support Reliable Component Imports Where Necessary
6. Broaden the geographic eligibility criteria for domestic production incentives to secure long-term access to critical components.
Effectively Deploy And Connect Key Technologies
7. Support ongoing efforts to streamline planning and permitting to facilitate efficient deployment of pivotal clean energy projects (e.g., judicial review reform and prioritization of key projects, including brownfields).