The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, passed on August 12, by the U.S. Congress, is considered by many to be the largest investment in the fight against climate change ever made by the federal government. The legislation commits $369 billion to programs in energy security and climate change mitigation over the next 10 years—all with the goal of reducing carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels). The bill also provides substantial funding for environmental justice efforts to give vulnerable communities the resources to develop and implement the clean energy technologies supported by the legislation.
Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute affiliate Yury Dvorkin, an incoming associate research professor in the departments of Civil and Systems Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, says the bill’s broad approach has the potential to reach and impact households of various income levels.
“It makes a strong push across a wide range of clean energy technologies—wind, solar, batteries, electric vehicles, heat pumps and wind—which should provide flexibility in technological and financial choices in how every household could contribute to cutting emissions,” said Dvorkin, whose research focuses on developing models and that will help society accommodate emerging smart grid technologies, such as such intermittent generation, demand response, storage, smart appliances, and cyber infrastructure. “In addition to this flexibility, the bill promotes energy justice by prioritizing structural efficiency of emissions reduction at the national level over placing a relatively undue burden of curtailing energy use on low-income households.”
Read more reactions from experts on carbon, the power grid, energy storage, and wind energy from the Whiting School of Engineering’s Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute.