This Week in Climate & Clean Energy Wins: Week of 10/21

THREE NUMBERS TO KNOW:

  $1.7 Billion

BMW’s investment in a new EV factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina

$2.8 Billion

President Biden’s newly announced funding for battery manufacturing and processing

Nearly 500,000

Jobs projected to be created by the IRA in Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania over the next 10 years

News continued to break this week about the massive economic acceleration brought by the Inflation Reduction Act. BMW announced a $1.7 billion new EV facility, and an EV charging company pledged $15 million for a U.S. factory. Reporters broke news that Audi, Stellantis, and Fisker are all planning new U.S. manufacturing investments soon. 

Some shifts were unbelievable in scale: previous estimates were revised to show that the IRA will grow U.S. wind, solar, and batteries by 21%, and double or even triple the share of electrified trucks and vans used in fleets by 2030. The EV startup, Arrival, announced it would restructure its entire business on the American market in order to capitalize on the IRA credits, and Tesla announced a goal of producing 1,000 GWh of batteries a year—more than is currently produced by the rest of the industry combined. 

The transformation extended to several swing states. In Nevada, two new critical mineral processing facility announcements will bring hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions in new investment as the state aims to become the Silicon Valley of lithium to serve the new demand for EVs. Also driven by EVs, Wisconsin’s clean energy industry is recovering strongly from the pandemic, and a new study found that 500,000 Wisconsin homes are eligible for IRA weatherization grants covering up to 80% of costs.

Powering these seismic changes, the Biden administration continued announcing new climate protections and new programs funded by Democrats in Congress. The Departments of Energy and Interior announced $2.8 billion for battery manufacturing, another $30 million to speed up clean energy deployment, and $74 million to plug abandoned wells and address environmental injustice in Kentucky. Other new announcements included a new Environmental Protection Agency plan to crack down on super pollutant HFCs and a Department of Energy funding announcement to speed wind energy deployment.

Here’s a breakdown of the new EV manufacturing facilities worth billions this week: 

  • BMW will invest $1 billion in its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant to prepare for EV production and spend $700 million on a new gigafactory nearby. [Reuters, 10/19/22]
  • SK Signate, an EV charging company, plans to invest $15 million on a U.S. plant. [Elektrive, 10/14/22]
  • EV company Fisker seeking U.S. production site. [Bloomberg, 10/17/22]
    • Their CEO said the Inflation Reduction Act “has definitely made us think to accelerate because we think this might give us an advantage.” The EV startup accelerated its search for a U.S. production site to ensure its vehicles qualify for tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. 
  • Stellantis planning two new North American battery plants by 2030 [Reuters, 10/18/22]
    • Stellantis’ North American chief operating officer said the company will need to double the number of North American factories to meet demand.
  • Audi’s Line Of EVs May Soon Be Produced In The United States [CleanTechnica, 10/21/2022]
    • Audi’s head of technical development said the company would likely announce a new U.S. based manufacturing facility in 2023 to capture IRA benefits: “now we are on the way, especially as the rules changed, and as you know, there is big spending of the government for EVs, with special circumstances, and we are looking forward to how we can meet these requirements.”
  • Arrival said it would restructure its entire business to focus on the U.S. market in an effort to capture IRA benefits. [Reuters, 10/20/22]
  • Tesla announced a goal of producing 1,000 GWh of batteries a year, which is more than is currently produced by the rest of the industry combined. [CleanTechnica, 10/20/22]

A new report projected that the Inflation Reduction Act will create nearly 500,000 jobs in just four states. [BlueGreen Alliance, 10/19/22]

  • Nearly 100,000 jobs over the next 10 years in Colorado;
  • More than 167,000 jobs over the next 10 years in Michigan;
  • More than 40,000 jobs over the next 10 years in Nevada; and
  • More than 200,000 jobs over the next 10 years in Pennsylvania.

The Inflation Reduction Act is spurring growth in Wisconsin as huge opportunities emerge from IRA tax credits:

  • More than 500,000 Wisconsin homes qualify for new weatherization incentives. [Kenosha News, 10/16/22]
    • Rebates of up to 80% of weatherization costs will make Wisconsin homes more energy efficient. 
    • The Inflation Reduction Act targets low- and moderate-income households and disadvantaged communities, who historically could not afford the high up-front costs of weatherization.
  • Wisconsin clean energy jobs rebound from pandemic lows, with more than half of new jobs in the EV sector. [Urban Milwaukee, 10/14/22]

Nevada will see new critical minerals manufacturing facilities, creating hundreds of clean energy economy jobs:

  • Lilac Solutions announced a Lithium Manufacturing Facility, a $179 million investment that will create 250 jobs. [US DOE, 10/21/22]
  • ABTC announced a Cathode Grade Lithium Hydroxide Manufacturing Facility, a $115 million total investment that will create 150 jobs. [US DOE, 10/21/22]

The Inflation Reduction Act changed the fundamental economics of energy, causing analysts to revise their projections of clean energy growth upward:

  • Inflation Reduction Act manufacturing and electric production tax credits will make wind and solar purchase agreements viable even at the extremely low cost of a penny per kilowatt hour. [PV Magazine, 10/17/22]
    • Domestic manufacturing incentives could also make the U.S. a net exporter of solar modules. [PV Magazine, 10/17/22]
  • Bloomberg NEF predicts development of wind, solar, and grid-scale batteries will grow by at least 20% through 2030 because of the Inflation Reduction Act. [Bloomberg NEF, 10/19/22]
    • Solar power is projected to triple from 2021 levels by 2030, a 21% increase from past forecasts.
    • Wind power is predicted to grow even faster, reaching 147 gigawatts of new projects by 2030, a 36% increase from prior forecasts. 
  • Energy Innovation projects the IRA could double or even triple the share of electrified trucks and vans used in fleets by 2030. [Protocol, 10/18/22]

States that voted for Trump are poised to benefit from Inflation Reduction Act manufacturing incentives:

  • States that voted for Trump will receive most of the $2.8 billion in grants to promote battery and raw material production announced by the Biden admin yesterday, with 8 of 12 companies located in red states. [New York Times, 10/19/22]
  • 5 of the 10 states that will receive the most private investment for EVs voted for Trump with Tennessee expected to receive $18 billion dollars, the most of any state. [New York Times, 10/19/22]

The Biden administration announced billions of dollars in funding for batteries, wind, and and oil and gas remediation, and announced new protections against hydrofluorocarbons: 

Actual Data Destroys GOP Narrative On Energy Production

Eager Politicians Lie, But Numbers Don’t

The United States is producing more energy than ever before, but you wouldn’t know that if you listened to conservative media or political candidates. Republican politicians love to point to the record energy production in 2019 to criticize President Biden, and try to claim that Biden has waged some kind of “war on energy.” 

The truth is, according to projections from the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, 2022 is expected to break the previous record for the most energy produced in the United States across all sources.

Actual Production, 2019-2021 Projected Production
2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Renewable 11.63 11.69 12.32 12.79 13.37
Nuclear 8.45 8.25 8.13 8.18 8.2
NGPL 6.35 6.8 7.06 7.57 7.91
Crude 25.56 23.5 23.24 24.72 25.5
Natural Gas 35.19 34.72 34.42 37.01 37.39
Coal 14.26 10.7 11.62 12.7 13.06
Total 101.44 95.66 96.79 102.97 105.43

All units in quadrillion british thermal units (quads)

The markets have been climbing back from early-pandemic production cuts. In fact, in 2020, only renewable energy and natural gas petroleum liquids saw overall growth. Early in the pandemic, we saw crude oil prices collapse briefly to the point where futures prices dipped into the negative. That sent major oil companies running to the Trump administration to take advantage of between $3 billion and $7 billion in bailouts, only to come back into record-shattering profits as the economy recovered under President Biden.

Many conservative politicians might be shocked to learn that crude oil production has been trending upward since President Biden took office in January of 2021. The most recent monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook from the Energy Information Administration projected that crude oil production would hit a new annual production record in 2023.

Meanwhile, dry natural gas production broke the previous annual record in 2021 and recently hit a new monthly high production rate in September of 2022 as reported in the most recent Short Term Energy Outlook.

One area that has continued to grow, despite the pandemic, and is poised for massive new growth of course is in the renewable energy sector. Renewable energy production is projected to end the year up 1.16 quadrillion BTUs from 2019 levels, and that was calculated before Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which will massively accelerate growth in renewable energy. According to an analysis by Rystad Energy, the Inflation Reduction Act will boost wind & solar capacity by 40% by 2030, attracting $270 billion in investments.

The Inflation Reduction Act will also incentivize energy-saving technologies that will bring down overall energy consumption at the macro level, and more importantly, help families save money at the household level.

This Week in Clean Energy Wins: Week of 9/30

As Hurricane Ian tore through Florida, the Biden administration announced the deployment of billions of dollars in Inflation Reduction Act funds to fulfill Democrats’ promise of a turbocharged transition to resilient clean energy. Despite Republicans’ fear mongering about the unreliability of renewables, solar power is keeping the lights on for thousands of families in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. Soon, millions of Americans will have access to these resilient, cheap energy sources through the Inflation Reduction Act’s investments, as evidenced by this week’s announcement from the Midwest grid operator (MISO) that, powered by a wave of renewable energy, the number of applications to connect new projects to the grid has doubled since the last period, itself a record.

In additional Biden administration news, the EPA opened a new office dedicated to environmental justice and announced a half a billion dollar investment in electric school buses, while the Department of Transportation announced that every state qualifies for EV charging funds. In order to fight off drought in the West, the Bureau of Reclamation mobilized billions of dollars in water conservation money. At a solar farm in North Carolina, Secretary Yellen touted the economic benefits of the IRA. 

The Inflation Reduction Act inspired private companies to invest in new facilities in Arizona and Ohio, an explosion of business for a battery facility in Pittsburgh, a utility announcement that it would retire a gas plant in North Carolina for wind and batteries, and a surge in demand for solar from corporations in Michigan. It also inspired New York Governor Kathy Hochul to announce that New York would require all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be electric by 2035. While Democrats’ investments in climate and clean energy helped make these wins possible, Republicans in Congress continue to deny climate change’s existence and vote against climate legislation. This contrast will weigh on voters’ minds when they reach the polls this November.

 

If you would like to speak to an expert in the politics of this historic transformation, or about what it means for businesses, feel free to reach out to [email protected]

 

President Biden ran on a message of climate action and won the presidency by a historic margin, particularly thanks to young voters and voters of color. These wins show how Democrats’ climate investments continued to pay dividends in communities this week.

 

Private sector wins:

 

The grid operator for the Midwest (MISO) announced that clean energy products drove the third consecutive record application period for connecting new generation. [E&E News, 9/28/22]

    • MISO received 956 applications, representing 171 gigawatts of capacity. That’s double the amount of the previous period, which was itself a record.
    • About 96% of the projects were renewable energy and battery storage.
  • MISO attributes the surge in new interconnection requests to passage this year of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Heritage Battery Recycling announced the development of a new lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Eloy, Arizona. [Global News Wire, 9/28/22]

    • The facility will process enough material for 50,000 EVs each year.
  • The CEO of Heritage’s parent company, Cirba Solutions’ President & CEO, David Klanecky, cited the Inflation Reduction Act as the reason his company felt confident making the investment in the new facility.

GM invested $760 million to convert a factory in Toledo, Ohio to produce electric vehicle parts. [Reuters, 9/23/22]

    • The facility currently employs 1,500 people, and GM said the shift will allow them to retain all of those employees.
  • GM expects the EVs produced with the parts from the factory will qualify for some IRA tax incentives.

Duke Energy announced that incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act allow it to replace one 1,218-megawatt gas power plant with wind and battery storage by 2038. [Triad Business Journal, 9/27/22]

BP and Hertz announced they will partner to build a new national EV charging network. [Utility Dive, 9/28/22]

  • BP Pulse, the company’s EV charging branch, aims to have more than 100,000 chargers by 2030, with about 90% of those rapid or ultra-fast chargers.
  • Hertz plans to have a quarter of its fleet nationwide be electric by 2024.

A battery manufacturer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania credits the Inflation Reduction Act with an explosion in their business. [Bloomberg, 9/27/22]

  • The climate law “will be a catalyst for our business,” said Joe Mastrangelo, the company’s CEO.
  • The company’s backlog of orders has ballooned to $457 million, compared with $5 million three years ago.

Demand for clean energy projects from corporations is driving new renewables in Michigan. [MiBiz, 9/25/22]

  • Companies including Comcast, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. have announced deals through their utilities to buy more clean electricity, leading to the development of new renewable energy projects in Michigan.
  • The projects allow companies to realize some of the cost saving benefits of clean energy adoption.

Ford broke ground on its new electric vehicle facility in West Tennessee. [Manufacturing Business Technology, 9/26/22]

  • Last year, Ford made a $5.6 billion investment in the facility, which will create 6,000 jobs and produce 2 million EVs per year beginning in 2025.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act provides businesses with the certainty that there will be sufficient demand for them to make more investments like this.

A week after Hurricane Fiona, solar is keeping the lights on for those in Puerto Rico with solar-plus-battery systems installed in their homes. The grid, which was never fortified after Hurricane Maria in 2017, is still down across much of the island. [Canary Media, 9/23/22]

  • The Biden administration has been hard at work responding to the disaster, and has pledged “100%” federal funding for debris removal, search and rescue, water restoration and shelter and food for the next month in Puerto Rico.
  • Puerto Rico has access to funds from the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to rebuild, deploy rooftop solar more broadly and build more resilient infrastructure to prepare for future hurricanes. 

 

Administration announcements:

 

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the creation of a new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights. [Washington Post, 9/24/22]

    • The creation of the new office will enshrine a commitment to environmental equity among the EPA’s top priorities, such as enforcing clean air and water standards. The change will shield environmental justice enforcement from the negligence of future administrations, where in the past it would shift wildly in priority.
  • The office will oversee $3 billion in funding for the Inflation Reduction Act’s environmental justice block grants. The bill also provides some of the new funding that makes the office possible.

The Department of Transportation announced it has approved EV charging plans for all 50 states, opening access to $1.5 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. [U.S. Department of Transportation, 9/27/22]

  • The announcement is a major step towards achieving net zero emissions in the transportation sector, which is the number one greenhouse gas emitting sector in the U.S.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes $5 billion in total funding for EV charging available over five years.

The EPA announced it would nearly double the funding available for clean school buses this year due to increased demand from school districts across the country.

    • EPA received around 2,000 applications from all 50 states requesting nearly $4 billion for over 12,000 buses.
  • Using money from the Inflation Reduction Act, they nearly doubled the amount of money available for clean buses from $500 million to $965 million.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act grants the agency $5 billion for low- and zero-emission school buses over the next five years. The EPA indicated they would release another $1 billion for FY 2023, and that they would likely hold a competitive grant competition to disperse some of the funds.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced plans to use Inflation Reduction Act money to combat the Western drought by incentivizing water conservation. [Inside Climate News, 9/28/22]

  • The agency was granted $4 billion to combat drought in the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • The money announced this week would go toward “short-term conservation” – to remove water-intensive grass in cities and suburbs, and to upgrade aging canals. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen touted the economic benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act in a speech at Cypress Creek Renewables in North Carolina. [Reuters, 9/27/22]

  • “Climate change poses a grave risk to the productive capacity of our economy while also impacting its stability. To tackle these risks, we need to accelerate our transition to a clean energy economy.”
  • “These investments will accelerate the transition to our green energy future and lower energy costs for American households and businesses. They will secure our energy supply against global price shocks. And they will provide good-paying, high-quality jobs across America – particularly in non-coastal communities that have suffered from disinvestment.”
  • Every Republican in the North Carolina congressional delegation voted against the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Fed announced that six of the nation’s largest banks agreed to participate in its climate stress test. [Federal Reserve, 9/29/22]

  • The banks are Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. 
  • The stress test will assess the banks resiliency to climate-related shocks to their investments, allowing them to better manage climate-related financial risk.

 

State & local announcements:

 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York would require all new vehicles sold in the state to be electric by 2035. [The Hill 9/29/22]

    • The announcement is a major step towards achieving net zero emissions in the transportation sector, which is the number one greenhouse gas emitting sector in the U.S. New York and California together make up 18% of the nation’s 103 million privately owned passenger vehicles.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act makes such ambitious goals plausible by reducing the economic burden of the transition on consumers through tax incentives. California became the first state to make such a commitment shortly after the Inflation Reduction Act was passed.
    • Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act caused BloombergNEF to revise their estimate of the share of electric vehicles being bought in 2030 from 43% up to 52%.

In an effort to reach their ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2030, Sacramento’s utility district purchased 200 megawatts of iron flow batteries, the largest-ever such investment in the U.S. [Canary Media, 9/27/22]

  • The investment could prove to be a pioneering solution to the mismatch between daytime solar production and night time demand for electricity.
  • The project is possible in part because of the Inflation Reduction Act’s 40% tax credit since ESS, the battery company, manufactures the batteries in the U.S. with prevailing wages. ESS is one of the only manufacturers that meet those requirements today.
  • Republicans love to claim that solar energy is not viable because the sun doesn’t shine at night. In reality, a myriad of solutions exist for this problem, and this project could add another.

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The Inflation Reduction Law Is Already Having An Impact

President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law just weeks ago, but there’s already plenty to celebrate. The legislation is delivering tax credits to consumers and turbocharging private sector investments in clean energy manufacturing and renewable projects nationwide. 

Consumers can already take advantage of tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Homeowners undergoing clean energy installations are taking advantage of the law’s residential clean energy credits, which are retroactive to the start of 2022. This means existing projects both completed this year and under construction qualify for a 30% tax credit to help homeowners offset the cost of installing solar panels and any other renewable energy equipment. It’s not just those installing renewable equipment that are benefitting from the law, but homeowners with energy efficiency installations in the works that will be completed after January 2023 are also eligible for tax credits. The law provides rebates of up to $1,200 to help offset the cost of energy efficient features including insulation, external doors and windows. Homeowners looking to save even more on their energy bills can by installing heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and biomass stoves and boilers which are eligible for a $2,000 tax credit.

The Inflation Reduction Act is turbocharging investments in clean energy projects. 

From EV batteries to solar panels, private companies have already attributed their new investments in America’s clean energy industry to the law’s passage. As the New York Times reports, in the weeks since President Biden signed the bill into law, “corporations have announced a series of big-ticket projects to produce the kind of technology the legislation aims to promote.” Toyota and Panasonic Holdings, Tesla’s battery supplier, will build new manufacturing facilities for electric vehicle batteries in North Carolina and Oklahoma, respectively. Honda recently announced a joint venture with LG Energy Solutions to build a $4.4 billion battery factory. Solar manufacturer First Solar plans to invest $1 billion for a new factory in the Southeast and spend $185 million in their existing Ohio factory, which will expand the company’s solar production capacity to 10 gigawatts in the next three years. Companies also announced plans to increase production of key inputs for clean energy projects, such as silicon wafers and processed lithium, in the US. These are just the beginning of a period of massive clean energy investment. 

 

Five Things To Know About What’s In The Inflation Reduction Act

Everybody’s talking about this new Inflation Reduction Act, but what will it do? This new law will cut climate change emissions, create millions of jobs, and invest in environmental justice, all while reducing inflation. 

Here are 5 things you need to know about the Inflation Reduction Act:

  1. First, it will tackle climate change by investing nearly $369 billion in clean energy while also holding oil and gas companies accountable for polluting our communities. These investments will create 9 million jobs in the next 10 years.
  2. This law directly helps disadvantaged communities that have been on the front lines of environmental health hazards for decades, with a historic $60 billion going to Environmental Justice priorities. 
  3. Families will save money to power their homes and cars with emission-free energy like solar and wind, cutting energy costs by more than $1,000 for the average family through cheaper energy, tax credits, and energy efficiency. 
  4. And economists agree that the bill directly reduces inflation, lowering costs for American families on everything from energy to healthcare. 
  5. This law is not the end of the climate fight, but it is our last opportunity to have a fighting chance at stopping the worst effects of climate change. 

Start Your Energy Savings Now!

These energy-saving provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act take effect immediately

With the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law, some sections of the new law that expand tax incentives and rebates for making homes more energy efficient take effect immediately. 

The residential energy efficiency tax credit has been tripled from 10% to 30% for qualified energy efficiency improvements, and the previous lifetime cap on how much you savings can claim through this tax credit has been replaced with an annual limit depending on what items are installed. For big purchases like heat pumps, the annual limit is the lesser of $2,000 or 30% of the cost.

With the lifetime cap on the residential energy efficiency tax credit now scrapped, the annual limit resets every year, so you can incrementally make improvements to your home’s energy efficiency every year.

One good way to get started is by bringing in an expert to conduct a home energy audit to find out where you can make improvements in energy efficiency.  Under the new rules, the cost of this audit is now eligible for a tax credit. You can get started on your home energy audit and maybe some smaller weatherization work this fall using your 2022 tax credit, and then you can come back next year with a list of projects to use your 2023 tax credit.

This bill also extends residential clean energy tax credits that were set to phase out. Investments in home solar systems, solar hot water heaters, fuel cells, small wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps are now eligible for a 30% tax credit instead of the 26% rate that was in the process of being phased out. That 30% rate will now continue through the end of 2032.

With the Inflation Reduction Act, these newly-expanded tax credits are ready to start helping more homeowners save money on energy bills right away.