The Inflation Reduction Act and New England's Energy: Panel Discussion

The Inflation Reduction Act and New England's Energy: Panel Discussion

Mike Sherman Energy
On October 28, 2022, I attended a special panel discussion on “The Impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on the Region’s Energy Landscape,” hosted by the New England Council, a regional organization of public, private and not-for-profit organizations that come together around a variety of policy issues including energy and the environment. The event's five featured speakers consisted of those involved in energy generation and development, wind energy, environmental activists, and Washington DC firms representing energy and environmental interests.

A primary feature of the IRA is its long-term focus on development in generation, transmission and related energy development issues, such as alternative fuel developments, and energy storage. Matching and integrating all the components of the electric grid is a complex task. For example, offshore wind generation needs adequate onshore facilities to build and maintain adequate, and often new transmission to get electricity to customers. Energy development now can be a long and costly process, involving multiple public and private community groups and a range of stakeholders.

These processes are likely to increase in complexity to accommodate a world with even more renewable energy. Developers ask for eased permitting to speed processes. Environmental and community groups are concerned with conserving the natural environment, minimizing impacts on communities. There are mutual large goals, but multiple perceived needs to make this all work. 

The IRA and other related legislation should offer increased industry and job opportunities.  The combination of long-term support and US content requirements should spur manufacturing in New England and in other parts of the US with strong industrial histories. There is much detail to be worked out, such as more definition about what local content requirements apply to and how they will be implemented. Permitting processes will also be an area for intensive discussion.  A substantial question to be determined is how the next Congress with expected different leadership will view the IRA, and what sorts of actions Congress will take to further IRA goals or inhibit them.     

Tags: #Energy