FOCUS: The Great American EV Road Trip

This summer, more Americans are hitting the open road in an electric vehicle (EV) than ever before. For evidence of the EV market’s expansion, look to two places.

The first is the lane next to you. About 1 million new EVs are expected to be sold in the U.S. this year, a record. In the second quarter alone, Americans bought 300,000 new EVs, led by Tesla, Chevrolet and Ford. That’s nearly 50 percent more than the second quarter a year ago. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans drove 19 billion miles in light-duty plug-in EVs in 2021, 57 percent higher than the previous year. In 2023, those miles are certain to increase by billions more.

Another good place to look for EV market growth is the list of more than 200 projects E2 has tracked since the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law last summer. Of those announcements, more than 90 are related to EVs, amounting to some 43,000 new jobs and more than $51.5 billion in investments across 18 states. Twelve announcements came from the UAW stronghold of Michigan alone – more than any other state, suggesting many jobs we’ve tracked provide good union wages that can sustain growing families.

In July, Kia announced a project in West Point, Ga., where it will manufacture a three-row SUV called the EV9. It’s one of more than 90 EV-related projects E2 has tracked since last summer, amounting to more than 43,000 jobs and $51.5 billion in investments. (Photo courtesy of Kia)

Last month, six of the 10 projects E2 tracked were related to EV manufacturing. For example, Kia said it will soon start production of its three-row, plug-in electric SUV in Georgia, creating nearly 200 jobs and generating about $200 million in private investments. In Tennessee, meanwhile, a major hub for Ford suppliers – the so-called “BlueOval City,” after the carmaker’s iconic nameplate – will add another 1,050 American jobs. The governors of Georgia and Tennessee, both Republicans, lauded the clean economy projects in their respective states, calling them “generational” job creators that will provide “new opportunities for families to thrive.”

With all these new EVs hitting the road, where will they charge? Currently, there are 62,700 public EV charging stations across the U.S. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $7.5 billion to help expand that network, especially along the interstates and other major highways where most long-distance trips occur. Earlier this year, the White House said it wants 500,000 charging stations nationwide by 2030 – about eight times what’s currently available.

SPOTLIGHT

DREW GRAVITT

Director, Strategic Partnerships
Schneider Electric
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

You work on microgrids at Schneider Electric. What are some trends you’re seeing?

I’ve been with Schneider about 15 years. One industry challenge is that a lot of the technology that a homeowner or a commercial industrial business uses to install renewables or microgrids has been heavily customized and engineered. That’s starting to change. Now, you’re seeing a lot of standardization, a lot of products and solutions coming in a more packaged format. This evolution is making microgrids, and the renewables that power them, more accessible to all of us. It does this by driving down manufacturing, installation and service costs allowing consumers and utilities see meaningful financial returns while lowering their carbon footprint.

A big focus of this newsletter is how federal clean energy policies and investments are benefiting the economy. How is Schneider benefiting from the Inflation Reduction Act?

This pre-dates the IRA, but we worked closely with Duke Energy to set up a microgrid for Montgomery County, Md. The county had been hit by major storms in recent years that kept knocking out power, and it wanted to enhance resiliency for critical infrastructure like a correctional facility and the county’s public safety headquarters. We came up with a concept that relied on technologies like solar and CHP, developed the project, validated the system and brought together the various renewable energy generation technologies so they could work in sync. We already see the IRA bringing more projects like this to fruition.

You live further south, down in South Carolina. What kinds of impacts have federal clean energy policies had on your state?

I live in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., which is just outside Charleston. Clean energy projects are popping up all over the place, including EV charging stations. It really feels like South Carolina has a great opportunity to lead one of the biggest economic transitions our country has ever seen.

Specifically, what kinds of projects have you been reading about?

There have been plenty. I know E2 tracked a big EV announcement this month outside of Columbia, but that’s just the latest one in my state. BMW is also investing $1.7 billion to expand its Spartanburg factory to build electric cars. Albemarle Corp. is building a new $1.3 billion lithium processing plant in Chester County. Volkswagen is planning a new electric vehicle factory in Blythewood employing about 2,000 workers. Cirba Solutions is constructing a new $300 million battery materials company in Orangeburg that will create another 300 jobs.

What has struck you about these projects?

I’m not particularly interested in politics, but witnessing the transformative impact of recent federal climate and clean energy legislation on my industry and our state, I have to say I have come to appreciate the power of good policy.  These are lighthouse projects that will demonstrate what’s possible and draw more businesses, and people, into the growing clean energy economy.

Do you feel this progress could be at risk?

In the spring, it was disheartening to watch House Republicans vote to undermine clean energy investments as part of Speaker McCarthy’s federal debt ceiling bill, plus a separate solar panel policy provision that led to layoffs in solar and could result in retroactive fines for completed projects. These were shortsighted partisan games. In South Carolina, it was pretty clear our federal lawmakers were sending the wrong market signals to American companies and workers. The last thing we need is another lawmaker in South Carolina to turn their back on the jobs, cost savings and economic resiliency that clean energy delivers to our state. We have a massive economic opportunity, and we can’t let it slip away. Lawmakers need to put aside partisan politics and prioritize their constituents. In South Carolina, that means prioritizing our economy and our environment by standing behind policies like the IRA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

TOTAL PROJECTS BY STATE

Alabama (5)
Arizona (8)
Arkansas (2)
California (8)
Colorado (7)
Connecticut (3)
Florida (2)
Georgia (20)
Illinois (3)
Indiana (6)
Iowa (2)
Kansas (1)
Kentucky (5)
Louisiana (3)
Maine (1)
Maryland (1)
Massachusetts (5)
Michigan (18)
Minnesota (3)
Mississippi (2)
Missouri (1)
Nevada (5)
New Hampshire (1)
New Jersey (1)
New Mexico (2)
New York (11)
North Carolina (9)
Ohio (13)
Oklahoma (4)
Oregon (1)
Pennsylvania (2)
South Carolina (18)
Tennessee (12)
Texas (12)
Vermont (1)
Virginia (3)
West Virginia (2)
Wisconsin (4)

OPPORTUNITIES

Biden-Harris administration launches historic $20 billion in grant competitions to create national clean financing network

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched two Notices of Funding Opportunity for $20 billion across two grant competitions under the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, an Inflation Reduction Act program central to President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda and environmental justice goals. Together, these competitive grant opportunities will mobilize private capital into clean technology projects to create good-paying jobs and lower energy costs for American families, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities, while cutting harmful pollution to protect people’s health and tackle the climate crisis. Read more.

Biden-Harris administration to jumpstart clean hydrogen economy with new initiative to provide market certainty, unlock private investment

The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) released a Notice of Intent, which includes a Request for Information, to invest up to $1 billion in a demand-side initiative to support the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs, or H2Hubs. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the H2Hubs program will help form the foundation of a national clean hydrogen network vital to reducing emissions from some of the most energy-intensive sectors of our economy, including industrial and chemical processes and heavy-duty transportation. Read more.

USDA announces new investments to improve measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture will invest $300 million to improve measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration in climate-smart agriculture and forestry. Read more.

DOE announces $150 million for states to train residential energy efficiency contractors

The DOE announced funding for states to begin training a new generation of residential energy contractors. The State-Based Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training Grants Program will provide $150 million in grants for states to reduce the cost of training, testing and certifying residential energy efficiency and electrification contractors. This funding will attract and educate new workers in the industry, train and empower existing workers, and support business owners to make homes healthier and more energy efficient. Read more.

JULY CLEAN ENERGY ANNOUNCEMENTS

In July, E2 tracked 16 project announcements across ten states that are expected to drive at least $2.2 billion in private-sector investments and create at a minimum nearly 3,600 jobs.

CALIFORNIA (Ontario): Cenntro announces new assembly plant in California; July 11

  • Industry: EVs

COLORADO (Brighton): Vestas Announces $40 Million Investment to Manufacture the Industry-Leading Turbine in Colorado Factories; July 18

  • Industry: Wind Manufacturing
  • Jobs: 800 (total)
  • Investment: $40 million (total)

COLORADO (Windsor):  Vestas Announces $40 Million Investment to Manufacture the Industry-Leading Turbine in Colorado Factories s; July 18

  • Industry: Wind Manufacturing
  • Jobs: 800 (total)
  • Investment: $40 million (total)

COLORADO (Windsor): Microvast announces energy division expansion in Colorado; July 11

  • Industry: Battery/Storage

COLORADO (Colorado Springs): Swiss company plans solar cell manufacturing facility in Colorado Springs with more than 350 jobs; July 28

  • Industry: Solar Manufacturing
  • Jobs: 350
  • Investment: $400 million

GEORGIA (West Point): Kia to invest more than $200 million in EV9 production expansion; July 12

  • Industry: EVs
  • Investment: $200 million

KENTUCKY (Berea): Auto manufacturer announces $153 million expansion in Berea; July 11

  • Industry: EVs
  • Jobs: 167
  • Investment: $153 million

MICHIGAN  (Livonia): Bollinger Motors gets $3M grant to expand Michigan facilities, add jobs; July 25

  • Industry: EVs
  • Jobs: 237 (total)
  • Investment: $44 million (total)

MICHIGAN (Oak Park): Bollinger Motors gets $3M grant to expand Michigan facilities, add jobs; July 25

  • Industry: EVs
  • Jobs: 237 (total)
  • Investment: $44 million (total)

MINNESOTA (Minneapolis-St. Paul): Canada’s Heliene plans new U.S. solar panel and cell factory; July 24

  • Industry: Solar Manufacturing
  • Investment: $145 million

OHIO (Perrysburg): First Solar secures $1 billion revolving credit facility; July 6

  • Industry: Solar
  • Investment: $370 million

SOUTH CAROLINA (West Columbia): $20 million, 600 new jobs: President Biden talks economy, jobs at Flex LTD in West Columbia; July 5

  • Industry: Solar Manufacturing
  • Jobs: 600
  • Investment: $20 million

TENNESSEE (Lawrenceburg): Gov. Lee, Commissioner McWhorter announce Magna to be first supplier at Ford’s BlueOval City supplier park; July 20

  • Industry: EVs
  • Jobs: 250

TENNESSEE (Stanton): Gov. Lee, Commissioner McWhorter announce Magna to be first supplier at Ford’s BlueOval City supplier park; July 20

  • Industry: EVs
  • Jobs: 750

TENNESSEE (Stanton): Gov. Lee, Commissioner McWhorter announce Magna to be first supplier at Ford’s BlueOval City supplier park; July 20

  • Industry: EVs
  • Jobs: 300

Texas (Fort Worth): Electric vehicle component supplier plans to add 120 jobs, invest $21M in Fort Worth plant; July 25

  • Industry: EVs
  • Jobs: 120
  • Investment: $21 million

ABOUT THIS ANALYSIS

This analysis is based on publicly available information for new clean energy projects, expansions, and renewed productions only announced since the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed on August 16, 2022. Projects that began development, were proposed, or applied for local and state approval before the passage of the IRA are not included. For more information on other projects that stand to benefit to benefit from clean energy investments in different ways, see other resources below from the White House, Climate Power, the Climate Action Campaign, American Clean Power, and Energy Innovation.

OTHER RESOURCES

Investing in America | Invest.gov | Interactive map that illustrates the impact of these record-breaking levels of public and private investment across states and territories under the Biden Administration.

Clean Energy Projects Tracker | ClimatePower.us | Climate Power’s analysis includes public announcements of clean energy developments that have been proposed, launched or advanced since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Climate Wins Here Map | ActOnClimate.com | Interactive map off federal investments made in nationwide through the IRA and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Clean Energy Investing in America | CleanPower.org | Analysis of utility-scale  clean energy investments announced since August 16, 2022.

Federal Clean Energy Tax Credit Benefits By State | EnergyInnovation.org | Analysis of potential state-level benefits from the IRA on economic growth, jobs, and public health in the 48 contiguous states, focusing on clean electricity and clean vehicle tax credits.

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