Wednesday, August 16 (Washington, D.C.) — ACEG Executive Director Christina Hayes shared the following statement on the one year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act:
One of the few things that made the isolation of 2020 bearable was memories of the improbable 2019 Nationals World Series run. Who can forget the Brewers’ missed catch in the 8th inning of the Wild Card game, Howie Kendrick’s grand slam in the 10th inning of the final game of the divisional series, and Kendrick’s two-run homer off the foul pole in game 7 of the World Series to put the Nats on the path to victory?
The catchphrase going into that last night, when 13,000 of us sat in an empty ballpark in the D.C. rain to watch the game on the Jumbotron, was “Finish the Fight.” As we prepare to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act — the largest energy bill in nearly 20 years and the most consequential climate legislation ever passed — that mantra continues to echo.
It would be unimaginable if, despite, the IRA’s unprecedented investment in clean energy, our greenhouse gas emissions went up. But according to researchers at Princeton, that could happen if we do not dramatically accelerate the buildout of high-capacity electric transmission. Without the transmission to bring backlogged renewable resources online, fossil fuel plants will need to produce more to meet rising demand from the electrification of cars and appliances. In fact, the authors of the study found that “[t]o unlock the full emissions reduction potential of the Inflation Reduction Act, the pace of transmission expansion must more than double.”
In just a year, the IRA has unleashed a surge in renewable energy development, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and lowering energy costs for Americans struggling with inflation. Transmission is the key to unlocking even greater savings by ensuring low cost domestic resources can come online. Building a modern, interconnected grid will also allow us to move energy across longer distances and make sure the lights stay on during extreme weather.
But Congress has repeatedly struck out on measures that would facilitate additional transmission. This includes failure to pass a transmission tax credit (which has already independently passed both chambers), or a siting law that would treat transmission lines like other energy infrastructure, among others.
One year after the IRA, these important reforms remain in limbo. But unlike baseball, this is not a game. July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded, and the impacts of climate change on our daily lives — from 31 days of 110-degree heat in Phoenix to 100-degree oceans in Florida — are increasingly dire and undeniable. We need a grid that is bigger than the weather to power America’s future. C’mon Congress: Finish the fight.