President Joe Biden arrives to deliver remarks on bipartisan infrastructure framework, June 29, 2021, at La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility in La Crosse, Wisconsin. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
President Joe Biden is coming to Wisconsin this week to mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on Aug. 16, 2022. Through the IRA, investments in climate, justice, regenerative agriculture and clean energy will help mitigate climate pollution in the U.S. by an estimated 40% by the end of the decade. The IRA has the potential to make great progress towards the goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030. It could also add a projected 2.7 million jobs, which translates into $700 billion pouring into the economy and the opportunity to avoid $1.7 trillion in climate damages by 2030.
This week, we celebrate the IRA investments that are already making positive changes, while also looking forward to maximizing the benefits and addressing new challenges that may arise as we deploy the largest climate investment the U.S. has seen in decades.
In Wisconsin, the law provides a historic opportunity to accelerate the transition to affordable clean energy, electric vehicles and fleets, energy-efficient buildings, advanced manufacturing, agricultural innovation, and environmental justice. This will significantly reduce emissions, create thousands of jobs, cut costs for consumers, strengthen energy supply chains and improve the health of communities. Using renewable energy, Wisconsin has already seen an addition of over 71,000 jobs. If we continue to transition to 100% clean energy, it could grow the state’s economy by $21 billion and create 34,000 more jobs by 2050.
Wisconsin is well positioned to build on its clean energy supply chain of 354 companies by leveraging the new IRA federal tax credits through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). WEDC targets grants, loans, and business development used to expand clean energy technology manufacturing and the accompanying supply chains, including renewable energy, batteries, smart grids, electric vehicles and related components. In his visit to Milwaukee Tuesday, Biden will highlight clean energy manufacturing at Ingeteam, a leader in producing wind turbine components and EV charging systems.
Wisconsin can also tap into the $30 billion in IRA direct investments for climate-smart agricultural practices, conservation programs, renewable energy, improved efficiency, and carbon capture to increase farmer’s profits, rebuild soils and clean our waterways.
Zooming out, the IRA has spurred investments and new regulatory actions at the federal level that are moving the U.S. towards a clean and just energy future. This starts with settling the previous challenges to the Obama Era Clean Power Plan and the subsequent ruling under West Virginia V. EPA that struck down this plan. The IRA defines carbon as an industrial pollutant, which solidifies the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate carbon emissions, thus allowing for regulation in this area.
The EPA has started a series of proposed Clean Air rulings on power plants, methane and soot. These are important federal regulations that if worked in conjunction with the IRA’s incentive programs will help move the U.S. towards a more renewable energy system. Climate Power released a report showing that more than 170,000 new jobs have been created from 272 new clean energy projects that have popped up across 44 states since the signing of the IRA in August of 2022 (as of July 23, 2023). These new projects account for an estimated $278 billion in new investments.
Wisconsin shows great potential to be a leader in using clean energy to create new jobs and develop a new economy for Wisconsinites. The state has the research and development capabilities of the University of Wisconsin System, a strong work ethic, good infrastructure, outstanding natural resources (including agriculture and forest products), plus a manufacturing heritage and environmental leadership tradition that can be harnessed to accelerate actions to address climate change and create a more resilient, vibrant and thriving Wisconsin.
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