Since the U.S. Congress passed historic climate legislation in August, both the American government and the private sector have built on that progress with further commitments and actions toward clean energy.
“Nobody can any longer doubt that the climate crisis is real, and we’re beginning to respond to it,” President Biden said September 13. “This law will create good-paying union jobs, increase energy security.”
In the past month, U.S. companies have announced plans to open new clean energy production facilities and ramp up pre-existing manufacturing plants. First Solar, one of the largest U.S. solar panel manufacturers, is committing $1 billion to build a new facility in the southeast.
The company expects to directly and indirectly support over 18,000 jobs across the country by 2025. First Solar is also committing funds to expand its Ohio solar power manufacturing plant to meet increasing demand across the country.
“Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration has entrusted our industry with the responsibility of enabling America’s clean energy future and we must meet the moment in a manner that is both timely and sustainable,” said First Solar Chief Executive Officer Mark Widmar. American battery company Piedmont Lithium is building a factory in Tennessee to scale up its manufacturing of the rechargeable batteries used for electric vehicles (EV). Their goal is to create 30,000 metric tons per year of lithium hydroxide used in those batteries.
On August 31, Toyota announced a $2.5 billion investment to boost production at its battery manufacturing facility in North Carolina. The company says the investment will accelerate electric vehicle battery production and create 350 new jobs.
While Toyota already planned to announce this facility before the climate legislation was passed, the company says the legislation will help them increase EV production. In addition to the climate legislation:
· The White House launched a formal partnership with 11 East Coast governors to boost the offshore wind industry, with a goal of distributing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. That’s enough to power 10 million homes.
· The Department of the Interior is surveying over 700,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico for possible offshore wind power sites that could power over 3 million homes.
· Biden is directing the Secretary of the Interior to advance clean energy development in federal waters around Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina to ensure southeast states benefit from good-paying offshore wind jobs.
“We’re going to make sure that the ocean is open for the clean energy of our future,” Biden said. “Let’s clear the way for clean energy and connect these projects to the grid.”