The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $6 billion in awards to 33 projects across more than 20 states through its Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations’ Industrial Demonstrations Program (IDP). This funding—made possible by initiatives championed by President Biden and Democrats in Congress and passed into law—will help strengthen local economies across the nation and create and sustain tens of thousands of good-paying, high-quality jobs—particularly those that support worker organizing and collective bargaining. The award recipients were required to meet a robust set of criteria to ensure local communities and workers benefit from the proposed projects. Each project was required to submit a community benefits plan and nearly 80% of the projects are located in a disadvantaged community. The projects are projected to reduce carbon emissions by an average of 77%.

Some examples of companies that have secured awards are:

•    Cleveland Cliffs’ Butler Works facility in Pennsylvania, which is represented by the United Auto Workers Local 3303. This project will reduce emissions and energy consumption as well as enhance steel quality by replacing two natural gas-fired reheat furnaces with electrical induction reheat furnaces. This innovative technology could later be replicated in other steel facilities.

•    A new Century Aluminum facility in Kentucky, where workers are expected to be represented by the United Steelworkers. This new facility would be the cleanest and most efficient aluminum smelter in the world and would be the nation’s first new aluminum facility since 1980. The project would effectively double the size of the U.S. aluminum industry.

•    Cleveland Cliffs’ Middletown Works facility in Ohio, where workers are represented by International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local Lodge 1943. This project would deliver an innovative overhaul of the integrated iron and steel mill with cutting-edge clean hydrogen-ready direct reduced iron (DRI) technology that will drastically reduce emissions.

After the award announcement, the BlueGreen Alliance issued the following statement from Executive Director Jason Walsh:

“Building the cleanest products possible and a strong domestic supply chain to manufacture the nuts and bolts of a new, clean economy in the United States is vital to the future of workers and our planet. We have a rich tradition of innovation in our country and President Biden has set the stage for the revival that workers and communities have needed for decades. With the investments announced today, we see that the United States can compete and lead in transforming our industrial sector.

“The IDP is proof that President Biden and Democrats are invested in rebuilding U.S. manufacturing to be the backbone of our economy, helping workers get to and stay in the middle class with good union jobs and bringing equity and opportunities to communities that have been on the hurting end of the loss of manufacturing jobs.”

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