Will Environmental Purists Kill Needed Permitting Reform Simply Because Senator Manchin Supports It?

What’s the issue?

Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act has put the U.S. on a path projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 40% by 2030. But the act’s primary method for making those predictions a reality is through tax incentives for developers of cleaner energy facilities.

Why does it matter?

The projections can only be met if the developers are able to permit and put into service a substantial increase in renewable energy projects between now and 2030. One study estimates that the annual additions in wind and solar must increase from the current levels of 15 GW of wind and 10 GW of utility-scale solar PV in 2020 to an average of 39 GW/year of wind additions in 2025-2026 and 49 GW/year of solar, with solar growth rates increasing thereafter.

What’s our view?

The four main parties to the agreement that resulted in the Inflation Reduction Act seemed to understand this as they also agreed to pass permitting reform legislation by the end of September. But both Republicans and progressive Democrats have come out strongly opposed to such legislation. If reforms are not enacted, though, data and anecdotal evidence would indicate such accelerated deployment by 2025 and continuing through 2030 will be difficult to obtain.


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