Deadlock in Congress threatens Georgia’s clean energy progress

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law a year ago, helps companies like ours invest in communities while protecting the environment and saving consumers money. The Inflation Reduction Act is helping to restore “Made in America” manufacturing, with construction spending on manufacturing reaching its highest level in 60 years.

The benefits of the clean energy plan are pervasive in Georgia. I know firsthand that we can create new, good-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree, while reducing pollution and preventing the worst-case scenario of the climate crisis.

I started my career as an electrician and completed training at IBEW. I was the first woman in Local 917 and the first black woman in Mississippi to be a journeyman in a union. I have owned my own electrical business for 23 years. I like to say, “The IRA makes every day feel like Christmas!” Since the IRA came into effect, we have seen a significant increase in sales and interest in clean energy projects, providing us with the revenue to To create jobs and keep people working.

Last year, companies announced more than 270 new clean energy projects, creating more than 170,600 jobs in 44 states. Many of these jobs are in communities of color, which are disproportionately affected by climate change. More than half of these new jobs are in Republican-led congressional districts.

But as bipartisan Republicans pushed the government to the brink of a shutdown, Republicans in the House of Representatives continue to try to kill the inflation-reduction bill — even as some celebrate the new jobs in their districts. A government shutdown means we will lose these new jobs and investments; The “Made in America” movement driving new manufacturing and community development projects would cease.

Since the Inflation Reduction Act was passed a year ago, Georgia has announced investments in clean energy projects and 16,678 jobs totaling $18.83 billion. The company I own, Power Solutions, is a progressive electrical contracting company based in Atlanta. The IRA has given me the opportunity to grow my business like never before and has also helped me launch my project to manufacture electric vehicle chargers, giving a third of female electric vehicle drivers safer places to charge their cars have . It’s a great time to be a leader and pioneer in Georgia.

There are currently approximately 394,600 manufacturing workers in Georgia, and as of 2021, 75,211 Georgians work in the clean energy sector. If we continue to take proactive steps to utilize renewable energy, these numbers will only increase. By 2030, the Inflation Reduction Act is estimated to bring $180 million in investments in large-scale clean electricity generation and storage to Georgia.

Wind and solar energy now cost less than coal, oil and methane gas. As technologies like solar panels, electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries become cheaper, clean energy will become more accessible and widespread. And the easier we breathe: The Inflation Reduction Act is intended to help our country avoid 100,000 asthma attacks by 2030.

Tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act cover 30% of the cost of community solar projects in Georgia and an additional 20% for affordable housing projects, allowing these families to save money on utility bills. New homeowners can also save hundreds of dollars on utility bills through grants that encourage adoption of current energy codes.

The Inflation Reduction Act gains popularity among Georgians once they are informed of the plan’s goals and achievements. Yet Republicans have tried to repeal it no fewer than 17 times. As leaders committed to clean energy, we urge our leaders not to let this happen.

The transition to a clean energy economy will not happen overnight. The IRA funds that go toward workforce development have already been particularly helpful for women and those with lower incomes. I can’t tell you how many women have reached out to me directly and told me that workforce development programs have enabled them to land six-figure jobs. Why would anyone want to stop this progress?

We must continue to move forward – not allow short-sighted politicians to pull us back. If we take the time now to set the right course and make our state and country a welcoming place for new investment and innovation, we will all benefit.