President Joe Biden will use special wartime powers to boost US production of heat pumps, by funding nine manufacturing projects with $169 million from last year's climate bill, the Energy Department said on Friday.
The awards were granted under the emergency authority of the Cold War-era Defense Production Act (DPA), which Biden invoked on the basis of climate change to boost spending on clean energy technology.
'The President is using his wartime emergency powers under the Defense Production Act to turbocharge US manufacturing of clean technologies and strengthen our energy security,' said Biden's National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi in a statement.
Heat pumps can heat and cool homes and businesses more efficiently using thermal transfer, which moves heat from one area to another, rather than generating new heat.
The announcement was the latest in a series of moves to push the US toward more efficient home appliances, and was met with fury by the American Gas Association, a lobbying group for the natural gas industry.
'We are deeply disappointed to see the Defense Production Act, which is intended as a vital tool for advancing national security against serious outside threats, being used as an instrument to advance a policy agenda contradictory to our nation's strong energy position,' AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert said in a statement.
Harbert called natural gas a 'vital tool for emissions reductions and energy system resilience' and said the industry 'should not be unfairly undermined through misuse of the Defense Production Act.'