What Midwest cleantech industry experts say about the Inflation Reduction Act

President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law this week. Responses to the measure are mixed, although cleantech and climate tech entrepreneurs and advocates largely applaud the boost it will bring to the industries. 

The legislation is thick and includes support for a variety of clean energy technologies, including electric vehicles, batteries, solar, wind, carbon capture, and biofuels. The Midwest is predicted to experience a notable impact, especially considering its significant automotive, agricultural/biofuel, and battery technology development and manufacturing footprints. 

Reuters points out potential benefits to the three companies that proposed carbon capture pipelines in the Midwest to carry ethanol plant emissions — Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions, Wolf Carbon Solutions, and Navigator CO2 Ventures. The Star Tribune explains that rebates and tax credits will make it cheaper for Minnesotans to retrofit their home with heat pumps and other electric appliances that cut fossil fuel use. The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting notes some funding goes toward energy efficiency and renewable energy infrastructure programs for farmers and other rural businesses.

Here’s what some Midwest entities are saying about the IRA’s impact:

  • Howard Learner, executive director of Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, says: “The $370 billion package will accelerate deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency, boost electric vehicle markets, and provide more vital support for Great Lakes coastal resilience. It provides $2 billion for the Rural Energy for America Program boosting clean energy opportunities for small and medium-sized farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses.
  • Executives at Missouri-based OrangeEV and Indiana-based North American Council for Freight Efficiency told Canary Media the IRA incentives will accelerate the vehicle electrification transition and build-out of charging infrastructure, in addition to scaling regional production of these products.
  • Illinois power company Exelon says the law “will provide historically significant new resources for our industry, customers, and other stakeholders to leverage in the pursuit of a cleaner grid.”
  • Missouri-based Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the law “represents the most significant federal commitment to low-carbon biofuels since the Renewable Fuel Standard was expanded by Congress in 2007” and lets “American families have greater access to lower-cost, American-made renewable fuels that are good for the environment, the economy, and energy security.”
  • Richard Rood, University of Michigan professor of climate and space sciences and engineering, notes the legislation “is an interesting set of political compromises that should establish renewable energy and electrification of transportation as mainstream. … There is investment in carbon capture and storage, which will be an important part of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”
  • Clean Fuels Alliance America Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik says, “As our industry looks to continue growing and sustainably meeting America’s need for affordable, clean energy, these grants will help our industry deliver cleaner, better fuels directly to consumers.”