Celebrating One Year with the Inflation Reduction Act
Photo by Iz La Motte
It’s officially been a year since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which invested $369 billion into clean energy, clean transportation and green technology. This investment built on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package which was passed in the fall of 2021 and included an additional $150 billion invested into the urgently needed grid updates, building a national Electric Vehicle (EV) charging network, clean energy research and the capping of leaking methane from wells.
Over $500 billion toward clean energy from both bills combined marked the largest climate investment in the history of the United States and will provide energy security and protection for our communities and outdoor places we love. The trail that led us here, however, has been long and winding. POW has been advocating for these policies funded by both bills since 2021. We’ve held a total of five Lobby events, including two virtual Lobby Days and three in person Lobby Trips to Washington D.C. with our Athlete, Creative and Brand Alliance members, Tommy Caldwell climbed with Senator Hickenlooper, our Alliance members and brand partners wrote letters to the White House and dozens of op-eds demanding climate action now.
Even after all these efforts, last July, just days before the vote, Senator Manchin pulled his support which seemingly ended the biggest legislation investment on climate right before the finish line. Despite this, POW pushed forward and worked with business leaders in West Virginia, including the President of Snowshoe Resort and the POW Alliance on letters and opinion pieces making the economic case directly to Senator Manchin. Then, Senators Schumer and Manchin, with major behind the scenes efforts from Senator Hickenlooper, struck a deal on the bill and just a week and a half later, president Biden signed the IRA into law.
“I’m so honored to be part of the POW team and help make a positive impact on the future of our planet by advocating for policies and bills that protect our long-term health,” said professional Nordic skier, Olympian and POW Alliance & Board member Jessie Diggins. “This work is so important to me because I want future generations to be able to get outside and play in the snow as well as have a healthy planet to live on year-round, in any part of the world!”
In just one year, this package has already started to transform how we source, distribute and consume energy in America. Over the last 12 months, the United States utility-scale clean energy industry has announced $271 billion in investments, 29,780 new manufacturing jobs, 184,850 megawatts of projects and $4.5 billion in customer savings to over 24 million people. Those are some huge numbers!
Let’s break down some of these wins so far:
Clean Energy Manufacturing:
- 83 new clean energy manufacturing facilities have been announced.
- $22 billion plus in manufacturing investments.
- 14 utility-scale battery manufacturing facilities.
- 11 wind power manufacturing facilities.
- 6 offshore wind power manufacturing facilities.
- EVs have increased by 54% in Q1 2023, compared to the same period in 2022.
- 1 in 12 cars sold in the United States are now EVs.
- Sales are being driven by a combination of price cuts by automakers, IRA tax credits worth up to $7,500 for consumers and greater manufacturing capacities.
- Since the passage of the IRA, the United States has increased at a higher growth rate than Europe and China in battery production capacity, an area where the United States had previously lagged behind.
- Since the passage of the IRA, the United States’ gigafactory capacity pipeline has overtaken Europe’s for the first time.
- The 14 new battery manufacturing facilities have created 6,000 jobs and almost $10 billion in new investment, a fifteen-fold increase in domestic grid battery storage and production.
- Companies that manufacture solar panels in the United States have seen a huge uptick in sales since the passage of the IRA.
- The extensive investment tax credits and production tax credits from the IRA have domestic manufacturers of utility scale solar facilities signing contracts with developers through 2030, in some cases.
- The 52 new or expanded solar manufacturing facilities will support more than 76 gigawatts of new manufacturing capacity, creating 18,360 new jobs and $9 billion of new investments.
- These new solar manufacturing investments are projected to surge production to 62 gigawatts annually, a ninefold increase in production.
- Since the IRA is the first-of-its-kind, long-term investment policy, it gives renewable developers increased confidence in the United States to support the continued build-out of renewable energy technology capacity, specifically through solar and wind generation capacity.
- The IRA invests in new, emergent climate technologies, like carbon capture and storage facilities and green hydrogen which are significantly more profitable to develop in the United States.
Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs)
- $11 billion of programs to RECs to develop clean energy infrastructure, invest in local energy solutions like microgrids and energy storage, and electric vehicle infrastructure.
- Direct pay allows coops to receive a tax credit from the federal government for clean energy projects helping their dollars go further.
“The IRA is huge! It is literally the largest investment in climate in global history and it shows that we can make large-scale systemic changes,” said professional skier and POW Athlete Alliance member Amie Engerbretson. “My wish is for everyone to know about the IRA and what a completely huge deal it is. The passing of the IRA gives me great hope for the future. I remain dedicated to continuing this work and ensuring the IRA is as impactful as possible.”
Why Clean Energy is Important
While we’ve made great progress in a year, we’re only part way to the summit and there’s still work that needs to be done and education that needs to happen. Here’s why utilizing the incentives in the IRA to expand clean energy infrastructure matters:
Clean and abundant energy is better for our communities, the outdoors and the experiences we love than dirty energy is. These strides will help eliminate pollution, slowing the warming of our planet and eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels. Plus, clean energy will provide direct incentives to our communities and the entire Outdoor State.
Transitioning to clean energy will decrease carbon pollution by 40%, which is a critical step in addressing extreme weather patterns we are suffering due to climate related impacts like increased wildfires, extreme heat and flash floods. It’ll also reduce air and water pollution helping to protect our communities and individual health.
We’re already seeing signs of rapid growth for manufacturing American clean energy with plans for an unprecedented amount of new solar, battery and offshore wind plants that are being drawn and developed. These projects are the equivalent to eight years worth of clean energy investments, already surpassing the total commissioned projects from 2015-2022. These strides are putting the U.S. in a position to source our energy in our own backyards and become a global leader in the buildout of clean energy. This will end our dependence on dirty energy and result in lower utility and gas bills for our families and communities.
What’s Next for POW?
POW is all in on advancing clean energy. This past June we hosted a Lobby trip on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. We were joined by 14 Athlete, Science, Creative Alliance members and five Brand Alliance partners to meet with the Biden Administration’s agency officials including, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Interior, Department of Energy, Council of Environmental Quality and the Department of Energy Loan’s Program Office. Additionally, the team also met with members of Congress, including 22 Democrats and 14 Republicans for 36 meetings over two days.
We were there to discuss how we can advance clean energy infrastructure, expand clean energy transmission and support clean energy issues that directly affect the Outdoor State, local communities and climate. The goal of these conversations was to gain support for POW’s first-ever cross partisan legislation in partnership with the American Conservation Coalition. This proposal will help implement the initiatives in the IRA by creating community benefits for counties and tribal governments that host renewable energy infrastructure.
“Climate change is an existential threat to the ski industry. The rapid and responsible deployment of clean energy to tackle climate change will take thoughtful incentives for communities to host clean power transmission,” said Hannah Berman, Aspen Snowmass’ Senior Sustainability and Philanthropy Manager. “This bill directs funding into local communities, particularly rural communities like where our 4,000 employees live, to incentivize the development of renewable power transmission.”
Since this Lobby trip we’ve been building upon the relationships we made and the conversations we had to prepare that legislation. We will be returning back to D.C. later this fall with the goal of introducing that legislation to Congress.
Additionally, POW’s sister organization, POW Action Fund (POW AF) put support behind Rural Electric Cooperative (REC) campaigns in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming in order to elect climate champions to the boards that run them. RECs are non-profit electric utilities that are member-owned and the people living in those communities not only get to decide on where their power comes from and when, but they also get to elect the people who run them. This past spring, four of POW AF’s supported candidates who are committed to sourcing cleaner, more abundant and affordable energy to their communities won their elections! Moving forward, POW and POW AF will continue to support these candidates by encouraging them to apply for IRA funding, as well as connecting them with experts in the clean energy space.
POW is committed to continuing this work to maximize the investments in the IRA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package so that we can advance a clean energy future and reach our goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Our livelihoods, community and individual health, as well as protecting the places and experiences we love from climate change depend on this mission.
Curious what incentives you can take advantage of from the IRA that will help save you money? Check out this handy calculator!
Author: Stacie Sullivan
Stacie always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the ski industry from a young age, having first clicked into skis at the age of 4 and writing her 8th grade career project on being a professional skier. While her dreams of becoming a professional athlete didn’t quite pan out the way she planned at […]