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Treasury Secretary Yellen touts Biden’s clean energy tax incentives

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaking at a news conference on July 14.

Made Nagi | Reuters

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen touted tax credits and other private sector incentives contained within the Inflation Reduction Act on Tuesday in North Carolina, saying they may help lower energy costs for consumers and greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S.

The act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in August, represents the biggest climate spending package in U.S. history, with $369 billion earmarked for domestic energy initiatives and to combat climate change. Yellen said Biden secured over $430 billion to modernize the U.S. energy system.

“These investments will speed up the transition to our green energy future and lower energy costs for American households and businesses,” Yellen said on the Cypress Creek Renewables plant in Durham. “They’ll secure our energy supply against global price shocks. And they’re going to provide good-paying, high-quality jobs across America — particularly in non-coastal communities which have suffered from disinvestment.”

Yellen’s visit to the plant is the third in a series of tours this month to debate the importance of Biden’s economic agenda ahead of the November midterm elections.

The climate plan dedicated $50 billion to securing infrastructure against extreme weather events related to global warming. Yellen said the investment will help protect farmers, homeowners and communities against droughts, floods and extreme heat.

1000’s of dollars in tax breaks and rebates for electric vehicles and residential efficiency upgrades — akin to energy-efficient skylights, water heaters and solar panel installation — are also money-saving features in the brand new law expected to translate to lower energy costs for families.

But Yellen said the federal government may even depend on the private sector to assist meet its climate goals by reducing emissions to no less than half of 2005 levels by 2030. All goals will work toward reducing supply chain disruptions amid increasingly unpredictable weather events.

“Specifically, government must provide the fundamental foundations and long-term certainty that companies need to take a position at scale and drive the transition toward a clean energy future,” Yellen said.

The Biden administration has outlined plans within the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to enhance and expand transmission lines, potentially tripling the dimensions of electronic transmission systems by 2050. Half one million chargers shall be made available across the country under the primary national EV charging system, Yellen said.

The Treasury Secretary also spoke of Biden’s Justice40 initiative, established days after he took office. Forty percent of the general advantages of federal climate and environmental remediation investments shall be delivered to disadvantaged communities under the initiative. Yellen said the plan has already funded clean-up and revitalization efforts for communities affected by hazardous waste and pollution.

The investments will capitalize on the worldwide demand for low-carbon products and create good-paying, high-quality domestic jobs while boosting “our global effort to directly combat climate change and avoid its worst economic, social, and health fallouts,” the Treasury secretary said.

Treasury will hold roundtable discussions on efficient and effective implementation of tax credits, Yellen added.

“We’re working expeditiously to offer clarity and certainty so the law’s climate and economic advantages might be felt as quickly as possible, while providing effective guardrails to be certain that the advantages are delivered as intended,” she said.

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