Analysis highlights soaring rural demand for additional IRA loans and grants on the way, if congress doesn’t undermine funding

WASHINGTON – Large-scale clean energy and clean vehicle projects in the first year of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are projected to drive $20 billion in private-sector investments and create more than 67,000 new, good paying direct and indirect jobs to rural U.S. counties often bypassed by previous economic transitions, according to a new economic analysis by BW Research Partnership released today by the national nonpartisan business group E2.

E2’s “Benefits to Rural America from the Inflation Reduction Actreport, released as Congress debates the Farm Bill and Agriculture and FDA spending bill for the 2024 fiscal year, also shows how the IRA is expected to invest an additional $20 billion in badly needed conservation funds to farmers and rural communities. Another $12 billion in IRA funds is expected to go to rural utilities and electric co-ops wanting to switch to more renewable energy.

According to BW and E2’s analysis, in addition to new tax revenues, the 52 new large-scale clean energy projects would add:

  • 46,000 jobs for 5 years during construction and more than 21,000 jobs annually over the operational life of the projects;
  • $24 billion to U.S. GDP and $2.7 billion annually over the life of the projects; and
  • $17 billion in wages during construction and $1.8 billion during the life of the projects.

Nationally, rural areas accounted for nearly 25 percent of the 210 major clean energy projects announced between August 2022 and August 2023. A full list of the projects across is available in the report.

Rural areas of Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee attracted the largest number of investments that have been announced. These projects range from Kia’s $200 million investment in an electric vehicle plant in West Point, Georgia to Air Products and AES Corp.’s  $4 billion investment in North Texas in what is expected to be the largest green hydrogen facility in the country.

Georgia leads the country in private sector investment announcements in rural areas with six announcements made in EV manufacturing and battery storage totaling over $1.5 billion since the IRA legislation was signed into law. Ohio, with five rural projects announced, leads the nation in rural investment dollars spurred by the IRA with nearly $4 billion.

E2 federal advocacy director Sandra Purohit, who co-authored the report, said:

“The fruits of the most important climate and economic policy in generations are now beginning to sprout in rural communities nationwide, many of which were bypassed by previous American economic transitions. The only thing that can kill this bumper crop of economic benefits is if we choose to go backward on these game-changing policies in the months ahead. That’s something America can’t afford to do.”

The new report from E2 also details the huge opportunity – and demand – for clean energy in rural America.

While $12 billion in IRA funds are expected to flow to rural electric co-ops and utilities to help them shift to renewable energy, it’s only a fraction of what’s needed. Rural electric cooperatives have requested more than $43 billion to help pay for 800 clean energy projects across nearly every state and Puerto Rico—nearly four times the $9.7 billion in available funding for co-ops.

Beyond the clean energy funding, the IRA includes $20 billion to help farmers and ranchers improve soil and crop resilience. The report details how these funds are helping farmers reduce costs and better withstand extreme weather events and highlights the support across party lines for these programs and how demand among farmers continues to outstrip available funds.

Additional Resources:

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E2 is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.

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