More than 60 organisations from across the US clean energy sector have written to congressional leaders urging them to enact the climate and clean energy provisions in the Build Back Better (BBB) Act before President Biden’s State of the Union Address on 1 March.
It comes after more than 260 companies in the US demanded urgent action on the US$1.75 trillion BBB Act in January, claiming that US$2 billion is being lost in economic activity every month the long-awaited bill is delayed.
The latest letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, called for “demonstrable progress” towards enactment of the climate section of the bill, which President Biden said he can pass by splitting the original bill into parts.
“I think it’s clear that we would be able to get support for the US$500-plus billion for energy and the environmental issues that are there,” said Biden in an address on 20 January.
Featuring clean energy and climate investments totalling US$555 billion, BBB includes expanded and extended solar investment tax credits (ITC) and support for domestic PV manufacturers, among a host of other green initiatives.
Passing of the bill in full has been blocked by Democrat Senator Joe Manchin who said he would not support the legislation, claiming it would “risk the reliability” of the US’s electric grid.
With all 50 Republican Senators opposing the package, the White House needs to secure the support of Manchin to get the legislation passed in the Senate. It would also then need to be approved by the House, where the Democrats have a narrow majority.
Signatories of the letter – that includes the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) as well solar companies and environmental campaigners – said immediate action was necessary to transition the US economy to a clean energy future.
“This need has only grown more urgent with the passing of time. Failure is not an option; we simply cannot afford to watch any more years, months, or legislative opportunities go by without enacting bold climate action into law,” said the letter.
“One recent estimate by Deloitte finds that the economic costs of inaction could reach US$14.5 trillion of lost GDP for the US by 2070,” it said.
“The climate and clean energy provisions in the Build Back Better Act will enable the renewable energy deployment that Americans want and scientists say we need to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” said ACORE.
PV Tech Premium has examined what impact BBB could have on the US solar sector.
BloombergNEF predicts that the levelised cost of electricity for new US solar projects would decline by almost half in the next decade thanks to generous policy support in BBB, while Wood Mackenzie estimates that an extension of the ITC would boost solar installs 31% in the next five years.