US renewables sector hails House approval of US$3.5tn budget bill

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The budget blueprint passed the House of Representatives 220-212. Image: Pixabay.

The US renewables sector has welcomed the House of Representatives’ approval of a budget resolution that provides the framework for a US$3.5 trillion spending package.

In a party-line 220-212 vote, the House approval marks a vital step towards enacting President Joe Biden’s economic agenda, which includes significant investments in areas such as green energy.

The rule passed yesterday (Tuesday 24 July) allows the Democrats, which narrowly control both chambers of Congress, to now move ahead with key policy proposals.

While a group of Democratic moderates had threatened to withhold their votes unless the House also approved the US$1.2 billion infrastructure bill, an agreement was reached that will see the House vote on that bill by 27 September.

The House’s vote to pass the resolution sets the stage for Congress “to finally take decisive action on the climate crisis,” said Gregory Wetstone, CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy. “A stable, long-term, full-value clean energy tax platform is foundational for decarbonising the grid and will create millions of good-paying American jobs.”

Welcoming yesterday’s vote, President Biden said the House has taken a “significant step toward making a historic investment that’s going to transform America”. A memo published last week by the White House said the US’ shift to a carbon pollution-free power sector could see solar provide more than 40% of the country’s electricity by 2030.

It was revealed in a recent memo from the Senate Democrats on the FY2022 budget resolution that the bill would see Democrats look to prioritise areas such as tax incentives for clean energy and manufacturing as well as the creation of a new clean electricity payment programme.

A group of 50 stakeholders, including renewables companies and trade associations, then wrote to the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month requesting the inclusion of an investment tax credit (ITC) for regionally significant transmission in the committee’s budget reconciliation package.

The budget resolution approval comes weeks after the Senate passed the infrastructure bill, which will allocate investment for power infrastructure, roads, railways and high-speed internet. Around US$73 billion has been allocated to energy infrastructure designed to allow for greater quantities of renewables to connect to the grid.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday she is “committing” to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by 27 September, adding: “Passing an infrastructure bill is always exciting for what it means in terms of jobs and commerce in our country. Now more than ever, it also has to be a part of protecting our environment.”

American Clean Power Association CEO Heather Zichal said the House vote advances policies that put the US on a path to a clean energy future. “Over 415,000 Americans already work in the renewable energy industry and action on infrastructure could provide more than 1 million direct clean energy jobs and inject more than $1 trillion of investment into the economy,” she said.

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