A Discussion on Unleashing the Promise of the Inflation Reduction Act

Posted by Harry Godfrey & Joey Paolino on Jul 27, 2023 1:31:54 PM

Blog Clean Energy Permitting Reform The Path Ahead 2Yesterday, we had the privilege of sponsoring The Hill’s event Clean Energy Permitting Reform: The Path Ahead, which convened members of Congress, policy leaders, and United member company representatives at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to discuss permitting reform for clean energy manufacturing, transmission, and the production and recycling of critical minerals. 

When President Biden approved the latest debt ceiling bill to avert default, he also signed into law a handful of compromise permitting reforms, focused largely on amendments to the decades-old National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 
This bipartisan “mini-deal” included provisions to speed up infrastructure permitting for fossil fuel and clean energy projects but left out a number of important reforms on critical minerals and electric transmission that many in the clean energy industry, including United, hoped might fully unleash the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure law. 

During the event, moderated by The Hill’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusak, panelists explored where we go from here and what a deal would mean for the clean energy and electric transportation industries. The conversations included debates about what further comprehensive permitting reform could look like, and what can be done by the states and the Biden Administration in the absence of further congressional action. 

Pictured left to right, Kyle Davis (Enel North America), Maria Robinson (Department of Energy), and Xan Fishman (Bipartisan Policy Center) with event moderator Bob Cusack (The Hill). (Photo credit: The Hill)

The event opened with a dialogue between Maria Robinson, Director of the Grid Deployment Office at the Department of Energy, Kyle Davis, Senior Director of U.S. Federal Policy at Enel North America (Advanced Energy United member), and Xan Fishman, Director of Energy Policy & Carbon Management at Bipartisan Policy Center. Their conversation focused on the major Congressional transmission proposals, what's being done in the states to move forward on transmission even without Congressional reform, and what the private sector is doing to address these challenges. 

Pictured left to right, Jesse Simons (SOLARCYCLE), Shannon Baker-Branstetter (Center for American Progress), Heather Reams (Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions), and Chay English (Ford Motor Co.) with event moderator Bob Cusack (The Hill). (Photo credit: The Hill)

Chay English, Policy Strategist and Managing Counsel of Ford Motor Co. (Advanced Energy United member), Heather Reams, President of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Jesse Simons, Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer of SOLARCYCLE (Advanced Energy United member), and Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Senior Director of Domestic Climate & Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress, then took the stage for a conversation about what the “mini-deal” encompasses, what still needs to be done to address critical mineral constraints, and the role of that ‘reuse and recycling’ of critical minerals should play. 

Joe Ruffalo (The Hill), pictured right, with Harry Godfrey (Advanced Energy United). (Photo credit: The Hill)

Advanced Energy United Managing Director Harry Godfrey then spoke on stage with Joe Ruffalo, General Manager of The Hill, to share United’s perspective on permitting reform. Godfrey summed up the urgency of permitting reform in one word that should speak to policymakers on both sides of the aisle: resilience. Permitting reform to accelerate transmission build-out is about building a grid bigger than the weather, so that generation in one part of the country can flow to demand in another, ensuring extreme heat, winter storms, and more don’t shut down the US economy or cause a loss of life. Permitting reform to increase the production, processing, and recycling of critical minerals will allow America to diversify away from a reliance on Chinese processing and manufacturing, strengthening supply chains and making the growth of domestic clean energy manufacturing more sustainable. Moreover, by building a robust, U.S.-based recycling industry we can capture and reuse the critical minerals we do import, further improving our domestic economic resilience. 

Keynote speakers Rep. John Curtis, pictured left, and Sen. John Hickenlooper, pictured center, with event moderator Bob Cusack (The Hill). (Photo credit: The Hill)

Keynote speakers Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Member of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, and Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), Vice Chair of the Energy, Climate & Grid Security Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the Federal Lands Subcommittee, concluded the event with a discussion about the Congressional agenda surrounding permitting reform. Despite standing on different sides of the political aisle, and coming from different Chambers of Congress, Hickenlooper and Curtis sent a unified message: we need to move with a greater sense of urgency and work together to achieve affordable, reliable, and clean energy. 

Advanced Energy United chose to be part of this conversation because we recognize that, while the Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law have supercharged the advanced energy industry, America will not be able to fully realize this opportunity without additional permitting reform for clean energy projects, critical mineral mining, and transmission buildout. Representing a cross-section of the clean energy industry, United not only engages with the Biden Administration, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and Democrats and Republicans in Washington, but with governors, utility commissions, and state legislators within 18+ states across the U.S. We know this multi-faceted approach is necessary to build clean energy infrastructure and will continue, alongside our members, to push for permitting reform solutions at both the federal and state levels. 

If you missed the opportunity to attend the event live or to watch along online, you can view the event recording here. 

Topics: Federal Policy, Event, Manufacturing and Infrastructure



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