Axne says Inflation Reduction Act will help Iowa green energy businesses

By: - September 8, 2022 3:00 pm

U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne speaks with Todd Miller, President of 1 Source Solar, on the floor of his company’s building about the Inflation Reduction Act’s impact on solar energy in Iowa. (Photo by Robin Opsahl/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

The Inflation Reduction Act will help Iowa fight climate change, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne said Thursday at an event with advocates and green energy companies in Ankeny.

The congresswoman met with 1 Source Solar, an Ankeny company that installs solar panels at homes, farms and businesses in central Iowa, to talk about how the act could help similar local businesses and their customers.

Axne was the only member of Iowa’s congressional delegation to vote for the roughly $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in August. The wide-ranging legislation included measures supporting a shift to renewable energy sources, lowering prescription drug prices and hiring more IRS agents.

The green energy measures will not just help America fight climate change, advocates said at the press conference, but create new jobs for Iowans and lower energy costs. Charlie Wishman, Iowa AFL-CIO president, said that this act, alongside the infrastructure bill and the CHIPS and Science Act, will improve economic opportunities for Iowa workers while fighting climate change.

“We have to do something about climate change,” Wishman said. “But if we’re going to do this, it needs to be not just better for the environment but better for workers as well.”

The measure is predicted to create 900,000 jobs in green energy fields, according to Axne, and reduce household energy costs up to $200 annually. Some of Axne’s proposals made it into the signed draft of the Inflation Reduction Act, including steps to advocate for biofuels and wind energy. Giving tax benefits and credits to help Iowans who embrace green energy is not just good for the environment, she said, but will help Iowa’s economy.

The act will also help young Iowans, she said. The younger generation wants meaningful work, she said, and the jobs created in renewable energy fit that description.

“We also know that what we do right now will determine kids’ futures,” Axne said. “… This piece of legislation is a monumental piece of legislation to help us, in a positive way, impact that.”

Republicans have criticized the act’s green energy measures, saying that the spending bill will increase costs for middle- and low-income taxpayers. At the Iowa State Fair, Iowa Sen. Zach Nunn, who is running against Axne in the November election, told a crowd at the Des Moines Register Soapbox in August that provisions in the act like the credit for purchasing an electric vehicle would be inaccessible for many rural Iowans.

Former Vice President Mike Pence also released an ad airing in Iowa’s 3rd District criticizing President Joe Biden and Axne for the bill where an Iowan calls the administration’s push for electric vehicles “out of touch.”

Axne said Thursday that the act’s green energy focus was necessary, saying climate change is “the issue of our time.” High temperatures and storms like the 2020 derecho show the importance of policies that encourage sustainability, she said. She and other legislators are also focusing on green energy in negotiations on the upcoming farm bill, she said.

“I’m so proud to say I’m part of an organization and an administration that’s decided that it’s time to really make things here in America again, and it starts by producing clean energy,” she said.

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. They have experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald.