Private investment in clean technology like hydrogen, carbon capture and energy storage has increased between 50 and 200 percent from initial estimates, according to the Brookings Institution and the Rhodium group. (Rufous/Adobestock)

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August 16, 2023

By Suzanne Potter

The Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act turns one year old today, directing $370 billion to clean energy efforts through tax incentives, grants, and loan guarantees.

The public money has in turn spurred private investment to decarbonize the economy.

Stephan Nicoleau, an investor in the Full Cycle Fund, which finances climate critical technologies, talked about the ripple effect of the funding.

“This is a chance for us to level up our American economy. That multiplier effect is massive,” Nicoleau explained. “We’re talking about millions of jobs that are now part of the clean energy future of our country, and allows us to think about a world where we are no longer on an economic basis or on an energy basis, reliant on fossil fuels.”

Republican opponents of the Inflation Reduction Act have cited concerns about the deficit and the effect on jobs in the oil and gas sector. So far, private companies have announced plans for 96 gigawatts of clean power, enough for almost 20 million homes. U.S. battery manufacturers have ramped up projects supporting the production of 10 million electric vehicles per year.

Meghan Salhi-Wells, former mayor of Culver City and California director of the group Elected Officials to Protect America, said it is a big opportunity to build offshore wind infrastructure coast to coast.

“We’re rewriting the energy paradigm,” Salhi-Wells emphasized. “From a paradigm that harmed communities into ones that lift us all up together.”

Ahmad Zahra, a city council member in Fullerton, said his city has invested in urban forestry and clean water and is helping create a community choice energy agency for Orange County.

“We were having a hard time finding the funding to really accelerate this type of investment,” Zahra pointed out. “This act is going to revolutionize all our policies on a local level because we will have now the funds to be able to provide the tools of investment.”