For the second time this year, Nevada’s energy leaders are convening to discuss the future of Nevada’s transmission system. Born from bipartisan (and AEE-supported) Senate Bill 448 (2021), the Regional Transmission Coordination (RTC) Task Force is charged with studying issues and policies related to transmission development and regional electricity markets for the Silver State. At the meeting today, the Task Force will hear about several competing efforts to create a more efficient and affordable western grid. There will be presentations from the California Independent System Operator, the Southwest Power Pool, and the Western Power Pool – each vying for Nevada’s attention and consideration. And while the exact contours of the West’s “Grid of the Future” remain to be determined, the benefits of a west-wide power system are becoming increasingly clear.
Labor Day 2022 is like none other for the advanced energy industry. It arrives after two years of COVID-related retrenchment and recovery and nearly a year of policy upheaval at the federal level, with threats of solar trade restrictions and climate and clean energy legislation seemingly stalled. Then, last month, came the Inflation Reduction Act which, when combined with the smaller but, in retrospect, complementary Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act a year earlier, provides $444 billion for investment in advanced energy. That direct investment of federal dollars will, we estimate, attract $1.2 trillion in private investment, for a total boost of $2.8 trillion for the U.S. economy. And that means one more big thing: jobs.
On Tuesday, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the most significant legislation ever enacted to advance clean energy, electrify transportation, and combat climate change. That much has been well established. What’s been underappreciated is just how transformational the IRA could be. Akin to the industrial policies of earlier eras, it has the potential to reshape the U.S. economy. Employing tax incentives, grants, loans, and innovative financial tools, the IRA, when combined with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year, will leverage billions in public capital to catalyze trillions in private investment and total economic impact. In so doing, it is poised to rapidly expand domestic markets for advanced energy and transportation technologies, revitalize American manufacturing, and reshape how we produce and use electricity. In other words, as industrial policy for an advanced energy economy, the whole of IRA is greater than the sum of its parts.
As the West deals with a record-setting heat wave that is fueling catastrophic droughts and wildfires and is testing the limits of America's aging power grid, our team at AEE is focused on how we can improve grid resilience and connect more clean energy by establishing a regional transmission organization (RTO) to operate the power grid for Western states. Now, we can say with certainty just what the West would gain in savings, jobs, and economic growth - and it’s a lot.
All eyes were focused on energy negotiations in Washington for the better part of 2021, but with less fanfare, advanced energy companies powered a record-breaking year for investment in the energy transition. BloombergNEF and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy’s 10th annual Sustainable Energy in America 2022 Factbook released last week quantifies the industry’s progress with year-over-year data and insights on energy efficiency and renewables. The Factbook records new highs in the deployment of renewable power, battery storage, and electric transportation, despite lingering COVID setbacks and supply chain bottlenecks economy wide.