This Week in Climate & Clean Energy Wins: Week of 10/7

DATE: October 7, 2022
CONTACT: Erik Mebust, [email protected]

The Biden administration and private sector announced billions of dollars more in new clean energy programs and facilities this week. A series of new reports found that the transition to clean energy is proceeding even faster than expected because of the Inflation Reduction Act’s historic investments. Credit Suisse said the bill would power a total of $1.7 trillion in private and public sector clean energy spending, leaving the U.S. “poised to become the world’s leading energy provider.”

A series of electric vehicles announcements this week demonstrated the speed of the transformation. Battleground states like Michigan saw a sweep of new factories, including a $1.6 billion investment in a new battery factory. GM announced it would nearly double production of the Chevy Bolt in expectation that it will qualify for IRA consumer tax credits, and Rivian announced it was on track to more than double its EV production from Q2 to Q4 in order to meet their yearly goal. 

Supporting this incredible private sector growth was a series of new program announcements from the Biden administration. The Department of Energy announced $400 million in funding for basic research to advance clean energy and environmental goals. They also advanced the process of boosting domestic clean energy production by invoking the Defense Production Act for clean energy manufacturing, a key priority for President Biden as gas prices begin to rise again.

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. 


Private sector wins:


Michigan Lures $1.6 Billion Battery Factory in Fight for EV Jobs [Bloomberg, 10/5/2022]

  • Our Next Energy (ONE) announced a $1.6 billion cell factory in southeast Michigan that will make lithium-iron phosphate batteries and eventually hire 2,112 people.
  • ONE founder and Apple alum credited the Inflation Reduction Act with boosting the company’s plans for the factory: “while we’ve been working on the factory for the past 11 months, the passage of the IRA has solidified our sources of capital as well as our interest in the customer market to help us build this factory.”

Rivian reports progress resolving logistics issues, on track to more than double its production to meet its yearly EV production goal. [Bloomberg, 10/4/2022]

  • After a slow Q2 production of 4,401, the EV company built 7,363 EVs in 3Q and announced it is on track to build another 10,000 in Q4 to meet its goal of 25,000 for the year.
    • That’s 2.5x production growth from Q2 to Q4.

EV charging company launches its first US manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan. [CBS Detroit, 10/4/2022]

  • The factory is expected to bring 133 jobs in 2023. 
  • The company plans to establish more than 250,000 EV chargers for American drivers and create 730 direct, indirect and induced jobs by 2028.

GM to boost EV Chevrolet Bolt production. [Reuters, 10/3/2022]

  • GM will nearly double production of their EV offering to take advantage of the $7500per vehicle tax credit created by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Opening of new Oregon facility shows future of wind-solar-storage facilities powered by the Inflation Reduction Act. [UtilityDive, 10/5/2022]

  • Portland Gas and Electric and NextEra opened the first utility-scale project combining wind and solar generation with energy storage in a glimpse of future IRA-funded projects.


New reports:


Credit Suisse report predicts Inflation Reduction Act will ensure exponential growth of clean energy and drive climate action across the American economy. [The Atlantic, 10/5/2022]

  • Uncapped tax credits for electric vehicles and renewable energy could catalyze about $1.7 trillion in total (public & private) climate spending in the next decade.
  • Because of the IRA’s investments, the U.S. is “poised to become the world’s leading energy provider,” with U.S. wind and solar costing less than $5 per megawatt-hour by 2029. That would be the cheapest energy in the world.
  • They found that the IRA would fundamentally reshape the politics of clean energy because “Republican-leaning states are likely to see the most investment, job, and economic benefits from the IRA.”
  • Clean energy will become the safe choice for investors because of strong government backing, with increased investment one of the most certain economic trends in the coming years. 

The Inflation Reduction Act will drive increased investment in wind energy around the world. [Wood Mackenzie, 10/3/2022]

  • The IRA’s unprecedented investment in decarbonization provides long-term stability for wind energy, driving a 21 GW increase in wind across the Americas and Europe. 

A new report says Solar Is Now 33% Cheaper Than Gas Power in the US, Wind is 44% Cheaper. [Bloomberg, 10/3/2022]

  • Guggenheim Securities reports that utility scale solar is now 33% cheaper than natural gas for new electricity generation facilities, and onshore wind is about 44% less expensive.
  • They report that with rising gas prices, clean energy is the obvious economic option.

A new report finds Manhattan’s EV-Charging Sites Now Outnumber Gas Stations 10 to 1. [Bloomberg, 10/3/2022]

  • New Department of Energy data show that Manhattan now boasts 320 publicly accessible charging locations, compared to just 29 gas stations.


Administration announcements:


Treasury Issued Six Notices Requesting Public Input On Climate,Clean Energy Tax Incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. [Department of the Treasury, 10/5/2022]

  • Notices released cover energy generation incentives, home and building incentives, and consumer vehicle credits.
  • According to comments from John Podesta, senior advisor to President Joe Biden, areas of interest include ease of identifying used electric vehicles that qualify for tax credits and ensuring credit enhancements incentivize developers to pay prevailing wages. 

DOE Announces $400 Million in Research Funding To Advance Frontiers of Energy And Environmental Science. [Department of Energy press release, 10/4/2022]

  • The funding is for basic research in support of DOE’s clean energy, economic, and national security goals

DOE advances Defense Production Act use for clean energy. [The Hill, 10/3/2022]

  • The move kicks off the process of public input on how to implement such an action from industry, labor, environmental, energy justice, and state, local and Tribal stakeholders.
  • The move executes June guidance from President Biden. 


State and local announcements:


Hawaiian Electric Battery Bonus Program keeps grid running, demonstrates viability of distributed energy resources as a grid service. [Canary, 10/5/22]

  • Hawaiian Electric will receive 10 megawatts of committed capacity six months after announcing an experiment to pay households for sharing clean power from home batteries, demonstrating the ability of distributed energy resources to replace legacy fossil fuel plants. 
  • The program covers a portion of upfront costs for battery investments, which will now be eligible for tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Michigan awarded incentives to two new battery projects. [Bloomberg, 10/5/2022]

  • Michigan awarded nearly $400 million in grants to two battery makers, who will invest $4 billion in manufacturing facilities.
  • Our Next Energy, one of the companies receiving a grant, said the IRA helped solidify their capital sources and interest in the consumer market.