From highways to the energy grid, America’s infrastructure is critical to our economy, society and way of life. During National Infrastructure Week, many segments of American industry promoted the vital role of infrastructure and the need to advance public policies that support the substantial investments needed to make our nation’s infrastructure stronger, safer, more efficient and more secure to sustain our communities and safeguard our economic competitiveness.
The Edison Electric Institute represents our nation’s investor-owned electric companies, and EEI’s members have invested nearly $1 trillion over the past decade to build smarter energy infrastructure and to deliver cleaner energy to their customers. More than $127 billion was invested last year alone, and these investments benefit customers through enhanced electric reliability and resiliency, more clean energy, and innovative solutions that are providing more energy options than ever. Our industry’s investments also create jobs and have a direct economic impact in every state.
Today, more than one-third of our nation’s electricity comes from carbon-free sources, and, over the past five years, more than half of new U.S. electricity generation capacity built was wind and solar. At the end of 2018, our industry’s carbon-dioxide emissions were 27 percent below 2005 levels, nearly the lowest level in three decades.
Since 2016, the transportation sector has been the largest source of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. Today, we have an incredible opportunity to leverage the significant reductions in power sector carbon emissions to achieve reductions in transportation sector emissions. Electric vehicles emit 54 percent fewer carbon-dioxide emissions per mile than the average new gasoline car. By electrifying the transportation sector, we can help further reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, improve air quality and reduce smog, all of which save money and enhance quality of life for everyone.
EEI’s member companies already are investing more than $1 billion in the charging infrastructure needed to power the more than 1.1 million EVs on U.S. roads today — a number projected to reach nearly 19 million by 2030.
It is vital that we advance public policies that support the substantial investments companies are making to drive this transformation. EEI and our member companies support legislation like the Driving America Forward Act, which will help to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from the transportation sector by expanding the existing EV and hydrogen fuel cell tax credits that our customers support.
We thank Senators Debbie Stabenow, Lamar Alexander, Gary Peters, Susan Collins and Congressman Dan Kildee for introducing this strongly supported bipartisan legislation. We also support bills introduced in both the Senate and the House that would establish a $3 billion grant program to provide funding to states and communities for the installation of EV charging infrastructure along highways.
To integrate more carbon-free generation and more EV charging infrastructure into the energy grid, electric companies also are making major investments in electric transmission. A robust transmission system enables electric companies to deliver energy where it is needed, to enhance the reliability and resiliency of the energy grid, and to lower the cost of delivering energy by reducing congestion. We need policies that encourage infrastructure spending and streamline the siting and permitting process for vital projects so that they get approved in an efficient and timely manner.
The theme of this year’s Infrastructure Week was “Let’s #BuildForTomorrow. Starting Now.” EEI’s member companies are setting a good example for other businesses and industries. Of course, progress would not be possible without our industry’s extraordinary people. As our industry continues to evolve, we are committed to developing and retaining the highly skilled workforce needed to maintain and modernize our energy infrastructure.
In the face of security threats and the demand for infrastructure improvements, leaders at the federal, state and local levels also play a critical role in ensuring that every American has access to safe, reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy not only for today, but for the years to come. While Infrastructure Week arrives just once a year, energy infrastructure should be a constant priority for those who are invested in the future prosperity of America and our communities.