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Opinion

The US clean energy boom: What might stop it?

Discussing barriers that need to be addressed in the wake of the Inflation Reduction Act

1 minute read

The US Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden last August, has transformed the outlook for low-carbon energy in the US, because of the array of tax credits and other policy support that has been put in place. 

Over at Wood Mackenzie we do regular forecasts for the outlook for renewable energy investment in the US and as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act, we have raised our forecast of new solar capacity installations in the US over the coming decade by 50%, and our forecast for wind power installations by 84%. 

So, things looks really good for low-carbon energy in the US. Arguably better than they have ever looked, in fact. But we can’t just leave it there, with everything seeming right with the world. We need to talk about the barriers that could stop or slow down that boom in low-carbon energy investment. 

Robbie Orvis, Senior Director of Modelling and Analysis at Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC and Amy Myers-Jaffe, Director of the Energy, Climate Justice & Sustainability Lab, and research professor at NYU, join Ed Crooks on today’s episode to discuss those obstacles, and try to answer the question of whether all this expected extra investment from the Inflation Reduction Act might not happen. 

The gang also discuss topics including critical minerals — could they be as problematic as fossil fuels — and the issue of energy security. The US is just about self-sufficient in oil and a net exporter of gas. But in battery raw materials it is going to have to be an importer, and mineral processing and cell manufacture are largely concentrated in China. How much of a worry is that? 

Finally, they discuss low-carbon energy and economic nationalism. Countries are competing to develop their own low-carbon industries, and a little healthy competition is a good thing, right? It’s stimulating ever-more generous support for low-carbon energy. But could it also be causing some problems? 

As always, let us know your thoughts or any topics you’d like us to cover in future by getting in touch on Twitter. We’re @TheEnergyGang.  

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