Clean Energy and the Inflation Reduction Act
When the U.S. Senate passed my Clean Energy for America Act last year as the centerpiece of the Inflation Reduction Act, I had to pinch myself after the floor vote.
After all, Big Oil and other powerful special interests zealously guarding their precious and outmoded privileges don’t get defeated so resoundingly and deservedly every day back in Washington, D.C.
The victory for this landmark legislation stands out as a tribute to how young Americans and their allies of all ages came together successfully in one powerful and unified voice to demand action before it’s too late on the climate crisis.
While there’s yet more to achieve, what this clean energy alliance achieved was historic on a global and national stage – with significant local gains here in Oregon.
The Inflation Reduction Act will invest nearly $369 billion to increase clean energy production, lower energy costs, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030.
For the first time, the tax code will reward emissions reductions, and encourage the development of new clean energy technologies as soon as they come online.
In other words, Congress will no longer need to undertake the laborious task of legislating technology by technology, making it easier to bring new technologies to market.
And here’s just some of how the Inflation Reduction Act lives up to its name for our state with the green energy provisions I worked to enshrine into law:
· Oregonians wanting to avoid being held hostage at the pump to the price swings of Big Oil by buying an electric car can now get up to $7,500 in tax credits for that electric car purchase. And if that electric car is bought as used instead of new, the law now includes a new tax credit of up to $4,000 – which can make a big difference for young Oregonians buying their first car. Oregon businesses can get up to 30 percent off the cost of buying new electric or hydrogen fuel cell cars for their commercial fleets – up to $7,500 for each light-duty vehicle or up to $40,000 for each medium or heavy duty vehicle.
· Similarly, Oregonians wanting to drive down their energy bills can now receive new tax credits of up to $3,200 for home upgrades such as installing a heat pump and insulation. Installing rooftop solar panels can qualify for a 30 percent tax credit – which based on current prices for solar panels in Oregon, can mean more than $4,000 for the average Oregon homeowner.
· Farmers and ranchers in Oregon and nationwide can apply from a pool of more than $20 billion in available investments under the Inflation Reduction Act to modernize their agricultural practices so they’re employing the most modern practices vital to combat the climate crisis.
· Rural electric cooperatives in our state and around the country can apply from a pool of $14 billion to support the transition to cleaner energy.
· And with the climate crisis driving wildfires and drought in so many Oregon communities, there’s a combined $9 billion available in our state and nationwide for investments in wildfire prevention and drought reduction.
A generational challenge like the climate crisis means there are more steps ahead on the path to a clean energy future. But I’m proud to have worked with Oregonians all across our state to take these monumental steps forward in the Inflation Reduction Act.
And I very much look forward to building on these major milestones with even more accomplishments in the years ahead to fight the climate crisis and its devastating impacts in Oregon and across the globe.
For even more information about how the Inflation Reduction Act as well as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law can help Oregonians, go here.
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