U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visits Athens and Atlanta, Georgia
- On Wednesday, June 28, 2023, Secretary Granholm travels to Georgia to highlight how weatherization improvements can help homeowners take control of their energy costs with help from President Biden’s existing and forthcoming tax credits and rebates.
- During the visit, Secretary Granholm meets with local labor leaders on efforts to strengthen America’s energy workforce, including in the electric vehicle workforce in which jobs are booming, and engage with groups working to increase inclusion and access also the clean energy sector.
Strengthening Georgia’s Economy
- In 2021, there were already 194,908 Georgia workers employed in the energy sector.
- In the Atlanta area, 57% of the electric power generation workforce was in wind, solar, and hydroelectric, and almost 38,000 workers were employed in energy efficiency. In the Athens area, 94% of the electric power generation workforce was in wind, solar, and hydroelectric, and almost 600 workers were employed in energy efficiency. The Inflation Reduction Act will expand these opportunities, bringing an estimated $180 million of investment in large-scale clean power generation and storage to Georgia between now and 2030.
- Georgia is home to 1.2 million small businesses, representing 99.6% of all businesses and employing 42% of all workers in the state, and the Inflation Reduction Act will help them save money. Commercial building owners can receive a tax credit up to $5 per square foot to support energy efficiency improvements that deliver lower utility bills. Other programs that will benefit small businesses include tax credits covering 30% of the costs of installing low-cost solar power and of purchasing clean trucks and vans for commercial fleets.
Clean Energy Investment
- Atlanta and Athens both have ambitious citywide clean energy goals. In Atlanta, plans are being developed to reach 100% clean energy by 2035. In Athens, the city has committed to run on 100% clean electricity by 2035 and economy-wide clean energy by 2050.
- Currently, Georgia has over 3.6 GW of solar, wind, and storage capacity. There is almost 1.1 GW of additional planned clean energy capacity in the works in the state, which will power more than 155,000 homes.
- Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits that encourage investment in wind and solar will help reduce energy costs, as the costs of solar and wind power are projected to drop by 22% and 34%, respectively, over the next 30 years in Georgia.
- Since the start of the Biden Administration, DOE has tracked more than $100 billion in new battery supply chain investments, including a whopping 19 facilities in Georgia, adding up to over $26 billion and over 23,000 jobs.
- In the same period, DOE has tracked more than $5 billion in new solar manufacturing investments, including over $2.8 billion in Georgia. These new facilities will add over 4,100 new jobs to the state.
- Georgia currently has over 4,200 EV charging ports. The state will also receive over $28.7 million in federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help build out more EV charging stations.
- In 2022, Georgia had 70,400 registered electric vehicles, a 48% increase from the 47,600 vehicles in 2021. Drivers switching to an electric pickup truck could save over $1700 per year in fuel and maintenance costs compared to a gasoline-powered truck. Drivers of smaller electric cars could save over $1200 per year. The Inflation Reduction Act will make it easier and cheaper for many to purchase an electric vehicle, with upfront discounts up to $7,500 for new EVs and up to $4,000 for used EVs, helping many Americans skip the gas pump and save on fuel costs.
Investing In Georgia’s Communities
- Thanks to funding from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy has made available more than $121 million in the past year to Georgia’s state and local governments to invest in energy efficiency and grid resilience.
- Solvay Specialty Polymers in Augusta, GA received $178 million from DOE to build a new battery manufacturing plant for support the electric vehicle and grid storage markers. This facility will supply materials for more than 5 million EV batteries per year.
- The Southern States Energy Board, based in Peachtree Corners, GA, received $21 million to study and build carbon dioxide transport and storage solutions across the American southeast.
- A partnership between Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, Georgia Tech University, and Kennesaw State University received $3.75 million from DOE to set up a Southeastern Center of Excellence as part of the Industrial Assessment Centers program. The center will draw on these universities’ internationally renowned expertise in energy management and industrial electrification.
- Georgia Tech University has been named an Industrial Assessment Center, receiving $1.4 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers save energy, improve productivity, and reduce waste.
- Georgia Tech received $1.5 million to research improvements to solar panel recycling.
Saving Georgians Money on Home Energy Bills
- DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program and State Energy Program have invested more than $38.1 million in Georgia since 2015, leading to 713 jobs and over 4,400 homes with reduced energy costs and improved health and safety.
- Upgrading appliances and improving home energy efficiency could save a total of 12,500 GWh of energy in Georgia, enough to power 578,000 Georgia homes.
- Georgia will receive almost $219 million to implement a Home Energy Rebate program in the state. Low-income households in Atlanta could save an average of 41% on their home energy bills when they upgrade their appliances and improve energy efficiency through this program, and those in Athens could save an average of 34%.
- IRA includes grants to help state and local governments adopt the latest building energy codes, which would save the average new homeowner in Georgia 15.1% on utility bills. That amounts to $327 per year.
Prioritizing Georgia’s Rural and Underserved Communities
- Georgia has three Community Networks part of the Rural Partners Network, representing Georgia’s agriculture industry which employs 1 in 7 Georgians.
- The Biden Administration has committed to advancing equity for all communities, including through the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure Federal agencies deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities. DOE has more than 140 programs covered by this initiative.
- City Schools of Decatur, GA won $100,000 in the first round of the Energy Champions Leading the Advancement of Sustainable Schools Prize (Energy CLASS Prize), which will help them lower energy costs and improve indoor air quality.
- Ayika Solutions is partnering with DOE and organizations in Atlanta and Savannah to evaluate how solar and storage can support economic mobility for communities with high energy burden.
- Groundswell Community Power, Partnership for Southern Equity, the Atlanta University Center Consortium, and Spelman College worked with DOE to develop plans for microgrids at the Atlanta University Center and in a neighboring energy-burdened community. This project improved community resilience and helped engage local communities and HBCU students about renewable energy and community resilience.
For current DOE funding opportunities, visit: www.energy.gov/infrastructure