Alyssa Edwards on year one of the Inflation Reduction Act

Article by Alyssa Edwards, Senior Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Government Relations:

A Year to Celebrate Climate Action

Just a short year ago I wrote an article entitled “Why I’m optimistic about the future with the Inflation Reduction Act.”

Now that we are at the one-year mark on the enactment of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, I’d like to take a look at the year in review. What are our biggest challenges in deploying renewable energy on the landscape – even after the passing of the most progressive climate legislation in American history?

I still maintain that the Inflation Reduction Act is a critical tool to deploying renewable energy and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. The law creates important pathways to fighting climate change, creating good paying jobs for Americans, promoting domestic manufacturing, increasing our nation’s energy security, and ultimately putting the United States on a strong path to a low carbon economy.

Here are some concrete examples from Lightsource bp. Since the IRA was signed into law on August 16, 2022, we have:

  • Raised $2.2 billion private capital for new American clean energy infrastructure.
  • Raised $500 million of PTC (production tax credit) financing, which thanks to the IRA is now available for solar projects.
  • Brought over a gigawatt of projects into construction, which created over 1,400 local construction jobs – as well as supporting domestic manufacturing and supply chains. These projects will abate well over a million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. With the recent extreme weather events and devastating fires, I can’t understate the importance of that aspect.
  • Placed an order for an additional 4 gigawatts of solar panels from U.S. manufacturer First Solar. This brings our total procurement supporting made-in-America solar panels to more than 9 gigawatts, which is about 20 million solar panels.

Nationally, our industry has made great strides. On the anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act’s passage, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) released a new analysis showing that the solar and storage industry has added over $100 billion to the U.S. economy in the last year.

In the same period, 51 solar manufacturing facilities have been announced or expanded. These new and expanded solar factories will invest nearly $20 billion into American communities and will employ more than 20,000 Americans.

And according to American Clean Power (ACP), $4.5 billion in savings were also announced for over 24 million customers served by utilities building out more clean power.

With that all said, we still have work to do. In my opinion the most important is to change hearts and minds and debunk disinformation. This is going to require painstaking and concerted grassroots, science-based efforts to unravel falsehoods and convey the factual economic and health benefits of this new economy for every American citizen. Doing so will require an unprecedented undertaking from our industry members, trade associations, academics, environmental organizations – and just about everyone who understands and is passionate about the benefits renewable energy can bring.

We also need to defend the Inflation Reduction Act for the next 10+ years. Political detractors will work to undo this law over and over. There is no time to rest – the same level of advocacy we employed to pass this law is needed to keep it intact.

While we have more work to do, everyone should be optimistic and proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last year. We have contributed to our country’s energy independence. We have improved air quality, which in turn fosters healthier communities. And we’ve supported hundreds of thousands of good paying American jobs.

What has your company accomplished since the IRA was enacted? What would you like to see accomplished on the policy level over the next year?


Alyssa Edwards first published this article on LinkedIn on August 16, 2023. To leave a comment or question, please view the original post here.

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