Breaking Down the Inflation Reduction Act
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law on August 16, 2022, is a budget reconciliation bill aimed at addressing climate change, lowering energy costs, and investing in America’s energy security. It is the most comprehensive climate and energy bill ever passed in the United States, with $50 billion in clean energy, climate, and decarbonization provisions for states.
Why is the IRA important to Alabama?
With the right state and local action, $490 million of this funding could end up in Alabama, and Energy Alabama wants to make sure that the entities that are eligible are prepared to receive it.
Who can receive funding through the IRA?
- State and local governments
- Federally Recognized Tribes
- Electric cooperatives
- Qualifying individuals and homeowners
If you are wondering if you or your community might be eligible, Contact Us!
Check out our overview below of some of the programs within the Inflation Reduction Act! You can also download the presentation.
For additional information on the programs described above, you can check out selected listings in the IRA Guidebook.
Would you like us to present on the IRA to your group? Let us know!
Defining Terms in the the Inflation Reduction Act
Adders refer to stackable tax credit incentives within the IRA and are most often associated with energy communities and low-income communities. The base investment tax credit/production tax credit (ITC/PTC) is increased by 10 percent if an IRA-funded project is built in either of these areas. If a project is built in an area that is both an energy and a low-income community, the credits can be stacked for a total tax credit increase of 20 percent.
Direct pay is a new IRA funding format. It is a cash payment in the form of a federal tax refund for eligible nontaxable entities.
A community is categorized as disadvantaged by the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality if it is in a census tract that is (1) at or above the threshold for one or more environmental, climate, or other burdens, and (2) at or above the threshold for an associated socioeconomic burden. Communities within the boundaries of Federally Recognized Tribes are designated as disadvantaged.
- Categories of burdens: Climate change, Energy, Health, Housing, Legacy pollution, Transportation, Waste and Wastewater, Workforce development
Disadvantaged communities can be identified by census tract on the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool.
This requires IRA-funded projects to use 100% domestic steel and iron, as well as a certain percentage of domestic components. Tax credits outlined by Section 45 of the IRA will be reduced to 2 percent if the project does not meet domestic content requirements.
Energy communities include three types of geographic areas: (1) Brownfield sites, (2) Areas with previously significant employment related to the extraction, processing, transport, or storage of coal, oil, or natural gas, (3) Census tracts where a coal mine has closed, coal-fired generators have been retired, and adjacent census tracts.
A green bank is a mission-driven institution established to provide innovative financing to accelerate the transition to clean energy and combat climate change.
Renewable tax credits extended by the IRA for projects beginning construction before 2025 and phase out in 2032. The ITC and PTC have a base tax credit rate of 30 percent but can be increased by stacking/IRA “adders”.
- PTCs are available for producers of certain categories of renewable energy: Solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, municipal solid waste, marine and hydrokinetic
- Under IRA, the amount of PTC for renewables placed in service after 12/31/22 will be $27.50 per MWh, provided the “prevailing wage” and apprenticeship requirements are met.
A low-income community is represented as a Census tract where the poverty rate is at least 20 percent, or the median family income for the tract is less than 80 percent of the statewide (or metro area) median family income as defined under Tax Code Section 45D(e) by the U.S. Treasury.
To see if your community meets these qualifications, you can use this map of the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Under Section 45 of the IRA, PTCs are available for producers of certain categories of renewable energy who have projects underway by December 31, 2024 and meet the “prevailing wage” and apprenticeship requirements. If service is placed in an “energy community” and meets domestic content requirements, these can be stacked with the initial PTC for a 20 percent adder onto the initial tax credit for renewable energy producers.