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NPR: A year in, landmark U.S. climate policy drives energy transition but hurdles remain

Posted by Rachel Waldholz on Aug 16, 2023

NPR reflects on the first anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, quoting Advanced Energy United's President & CEO Heather O'Neill on how the landmark legislation and related policy reforms are driving the transition to 100% clean energy.

A year ago, Sonia Aggarwal watched from home as the votes came in on the U.S. Senate floor. Aggarwal was working as a White House aide, advising the Biden administration on climate policy. She'd been up all night, listening as senators debated legislation she and many others had spent more than a year trying to pass.

With that vote, the country's most significant climate legislation made it through the U.S. Senate, a body that had stymied previous efforts for decades. The bill went on to clear the U.S. House, and made its way to President Biden for his signature on Aug. 16, 2022.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) may have a bureaucratic name, but it sets expansive goals. The policy aims to dramatically decrease the U.S. contribution to climate change, slashing greenhouse gas emissions by shifting the economy away from fossil fuels.

The law directs at least $369 billion — and potentially much more — toward incentives for nearly every sector of the economy to adopt renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies.

"The IRA really has acted like rocket fuel across every segment and corner of our industry," Heather O'Neill, head of the trade group Advanced Energy United, told reporters Monday.

The Inflation Reduction Act makes billions of dollars available to help households switch to electric vehicles, replace fossil fuel-powered heating and cooling systems with more efficient electric heat pumps, install solar panels and insulate homes.

Some benefits for low- and moderate-income households may not become available for months or years. The law creates a rebate program to reduce the up-front cost of electric appliances and home retrofits for households making up to a certain amount. Those programs will be administered by states, which have indicated it will take some time to staff up. Virginia's state department of energy has said it could take one or two years before the program is up and running.

Read the full article here.

Topics: Federal Policy, United In The News, Heather O'Neill