Today is historic for the very best reason. The 2022 Budget Reconciliation Bill, also known as the Inflation Reduction Act, passed Congress with $369 billion included for energy security and climate solutions—the single biggest climate investment in US history! This puts our country on the path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40% by 2030.   

This is a time to celebrate significant progress. While investing in the social and economic transformations necessary to address the climate crisis benefits everyone who calls our planet home, there are vast economic and societal benefits that will make a world of difference right where Southface is headquartered, in Georgia. (If you haven’t already, sign up for Southface’s newsletter now for upcoming advocacy workshops and sustainability news and analysis you won’t want to miss.) 

The far-reaching impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act for our state, nation, and global community cannot be overstated. An influx of funding, jobs, and economic growth of this magnitude will accelerate Georgia’s rise to prominence as a national and global leader in solar, energy storage, and electric transportation and mobility. Southface’s Advocacy Team shares the three biggest opportunities Georgians can look forward to: 

 

1) A $60 billion investment in clean energy manufacturing will create jobs in Georgia.   

  • $10 billion in manufacturing incentives will bring down the cost of efficient appliances like heat pumps, electric vehicles, and solar rooftop systems for Georgia households by relieving supply chain bottlenecks. Georgia has become a hub of clean tech manufacturing. Manufacturers like Hanwha Q Cells, which chose Dalton for the largest North American solar assembly plant, will funnel these federal dollars to the state. 
  • One in seven Georgians works in agriculture, forestry, or related fields, according to the 2020 Census of Agriculture. Agriculture alone is a $69.4 billion industry in Georgia. With $20 billion allocated to climate-smart agriculture and forestry, many of Georgia’s top industries will be top beneficiaries for these funds.  
  • The bill takes aim at the largest industrial emitters of greenhouse gases with $6 billion for the Advanced Industrial Facilities Deployment Program. The program will create jobs while ensuring Georgia’s biggest climate offenders make much needed reductions. The popular 45Q tax incentive for industrial facilities to capture and store carbon has also been expanded and extended. 

 

2) Significant consumer incentives will put home energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and rooftop solar within reach for many Georgians. 

  • $9 billion in consumer home energy rebate programs focused on low-income households will make it more affordable to electrify home appliances and make energy-efficient retrofits that yield long-term savings. For instance, using a rebate to switch baseboard electric heat and window air conditioners to a heat pump may cut a resident’s utility bill by about 20%. The US Energy Information Administration notes that almost two of every five Georgia households use natural gas for home heating, so the switch can also lessen our collective reliance on this hazardous fuel source. 
  • Home energy rebate programs will be paired with 10 years of consumer tax credits for efficiency and clean energy technology to bring Georgians’ costs down even further. A $1 billion grant program for more efficient affordable housing will help builders and developers make healthy, efficient housing the standard. 
  • Low- and middle-income individuals will gain a $4,000 tax credit to buy used clean vehicles and a tax credit for new clean vehicles of up to $7,500. Income caps on the credits increase equity, so that Georgians who benefit most from improved mobility receive the assistance. 

 

3) Allocating $60 billion to environmental justice will help combat barriers to the clean energy transition that people of color, rural communities, and those with less financial security disproportionately face.  

  • Climate justice block grants will be bolstered by $3 billion, providing funding to Georgia’s communities to address local environmental and public health issues that arise from racist housing practices like redlining and myriad other forms of systemic discrimination and disinvestment. 
  • Savannah has the fourth largest cargo port in the US, and nearby residents are impacted by the resulting air pollution. Georgia’s coastal communities will benefit from $3 billion allocated to reduce air pollution at ports.  
  • Many of the bill’s investments are made to support communities with fewer financial resources, including $27 billion for the recently established “green bank”—the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. This fund supports bringing zero-emissions technologies to low-income communities in Georgia and across the nation.  
  • Member-owned nonprofit electric membership cooperatives serve approximately 4.4 million people in Georgia, many in rural areas. In addition to 0% loans provided to these cooperatives through the Rural Energy Savings Program, they will now have direct access to renewable energy tax incentives that were previously targeted to for-profit companies. 

 

Overall, with 3.2% of the US population living in Georgia, policy experts expect our state to receive at least $14.3 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act’s historic climate investments. Southface’s Advocacy Team is encouraged by how closely the bill aligns with the market-ready high-impact climate solutions outlined by our partners at Drawdown Georgia.  

Our state is ready to build the future we urgently need, and Southface has the tools to help Georgians get the job done. Stay tuned for our federal funding workshop on September 14 and more opportunities to engage by signing up for our newsletter today. We have all waited a long time for this win! Let’s make the most of it. 

 

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