Summary:

The positive impacts of the IRA’s historic investment in America’s rural economic growth and resilience are transformative. In its first year, the IRA incentives have spurred 52 major rural manufacturing projects that are projected to create 67,000 rural jobs and nearly $2 billion in worker income, creating viable new career opportunities and revenues to sustain rural communities. In addition to spurring growth, these IRA funds are essential to ensuring that rural America has access to the benefits of the clean economy transition and that our farms and farming communities are more profitable and more resilient. Farmers and rural workers across multiple industries, as well as rural consumers, strongly favor these investments in clean energy, infrastructure, and agricultural resilience. The federal clean economy investments in the IRA position rural communities as leaders in building a thriving 21st century American economy. 

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KEY FINDINGS:

The report includes new data and on-the-ground perspectives across three areas of economic outcomes:

I. Section 1 presents new data from E2 and BW Research Partnership on how the IRA clean energy tax incentives are driving a revitalization of rural manufacturing. Findings include:

// One of every four large-scale clean energy projects announced in the first year of the IRA is located in demographically rural areas—more than 50 total projects in 21 states

//$20 billion in investments in rural areas

//More than 67,000 new jobs in rural counties—including more than 21,000 permanent jobs that will pay nearly $2 billion to workers each year

// Almost $5 billion in new tax revenues in the near term, with an additional $700 million in revenue every year of operation, that can help support schools, first responders, and other essential public services provided by federal, state, county, and local governments

//Nearly $3 billion to the nation’s GDP in every year that the projects are operational

II. Section 2 shows that $12 billion in clean energy loan and grant programs made possible by the IRA significantly accelerates access for rural Americans to the economic benefits of renewable energy, and is an important step in ensuring that rural America is not left behind in the global transition to a clean energy economy. These IRA funds:

// Help the nation’s more than 900 rural electricity co-ops supply cleaner, more efficient, and more affordable energy to their members

// Make clean energy and energy efficiency projects more accessible for local businesses, community organizations, farms, ranches, and municipal buildings and facilities that want them

III. Section 3 details the benefits of the IRA investment of $20 billion over five years through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s popular and over-subscribed voluntary conservation programs for farmers and ranchers. These IRA funds:

// Help farmers in their efforts to cut input costs, improve crop resilience and soil health, and boost their bottom lines

//Invest in programs and solutions that are overwhelmingly supported by Americans regardless of political affiliation

// Represent only a small part of the need to meet the demand for this support in rural America

Methodology

The following applies to Section 1 of the report and APPENDIX IV: Details by Clean Energy Sector. 

In November 2023, E2 and BW Research Partnership produced an analysis of the economic benefits of 210 major clean energy projects announced in the first year of the IRA. 

This report includes a more detailed analysis of the 52 announced in rural counties as defined by the USDA. 

As with the national analysis, this rural analysis required filling in the gaps of publicly announced information. Modeled impacts differ from initial estimates offered by companies announcing new projects tracked by E2. Some of the announcements provided no capital investment estimate and others provided no job creation estimate. Additionally, those estimates were inconsistently defined, lacking clarity on whether they are direct jobs only or direct, indirect, and induced jobs, and if they were for construction or permanent positions.

For more information on methodology, including investment extrapolation methods and impact modeling assumptions, see Appendix III in the report. For the list of all 52 projects in rural areas tracked by E2 in the first year of the IRA, see Appendix I.

For the latest full list of clean energy job announcements tracked by E2, visit https://e2.org/announcements.

About E2

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. E2 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. Our members and supporters include farmers and other rural business leaders, professionals in rural clean energy and leaders in Ag-tech.

For additional insight into E2’s other reports, visit e2.org/reports.

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