Aug. 16 will mark one year since President Joe Biden signed one of the most significant pieces of climate legislation in U.S. history. But without a concerted effort between conservationists and clean energy developers, the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will fall short.
The IRA has already led to historic investments in renewable energy and clean energy technology, but despite its commitments to lowering emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030, greenhouse gases are still on the rise — up 1.3 percent in 2022 from the previous year. Costs for solar and wind are dropping, and domestic clean energy manufacturing investment is soaring.
But the existing grid is not set up for a clean energy future, and a longstanding bottleneck with transmission deployment poses serious challenges as the infrastructure for delivering this energy must be increased.
Analysis shows that if the pace of transmission deployment remains unchanged, the IRA’s emissions reduction potential could fall by as much as 80 percent. It’s clear that urgent action is needed, but this action must be mindful of the surrounding environment and wildlife. Clean energy developers, conservation organizations, and other stakeholders must work together to rapidly upgrade the grid in ways that help stabilize climate while also protecting bird habitat.