What a difference a year makes. Millions of Americans are back to work in good-paying jobs, including tens of thousands in the clean energy sector. Hundreds of new domestic manufacturing projects in Maryland and around the country are set to create even more opportunity for Americans, thanks to compounding investments from the Inflation Reduction Act, the infrastructure modernization bill, the CHIPS and Science Act and the American Rescue Plan.
More than $85 billion is flowing into the clean energy sector from private investments. And we are working to make clean energy more affordable and accessible to aid the transition away from fossil fuels. As more of the provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act are implemented, the economic benefits to American families will continue to grow.
When the Inflation Reduction Act was passed in August of last year, it was hailed as “the most significant climate action in our nation’s history,” and the skeptics wondered if it could really live up to such a lofty claim. But it has: One need only look at the numbers.
Maryland has already received $3.4 billion in public infrastructure and clean energy investments, and 1,500 clean energy jobs have been created across our state. In just a year, we have made historic investments in our climate goals for the future and created more shared prosperity and opportunity today.
Addressing the climate emergency is not just an urgent challenge — it’s also an opportunity to save Americans money and create jobs. That’s why we fought for provisions from the HOPE for HOMES Act in the Inflation Reduction Act, which creates a Home Efficiency Rebate program at the Department of Energy to provide substantial rebates for families to make their homes more energy efficient.
This program covers much of the costs of everything from better insulation to high-performance appliances such as heating, ventilation and cooling systems and water heaters, lowering energy bills for Maryland households. Evidence shows that these kinds of retrofits can ultimately save consumers up to $750 every year on their heating and cooling bills. On top of that, this provision invests in programs to train more workers to install these energy-efficient retrofits — and creates an estimated 80,000 jobs over the next few years.
The Inflation Reduction Act also fosters investments in clean energy technologies by creating the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to establish a national green bank network, a program that together we fought for more than a decade to create — and now is finally happening.
Green banks finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and initiatives and will ensure that underserved communities are fully included in the clean energy revolution. By attracting private sector capital, they also generate a multiplier effect that will ensure clean energy projects will have an ongoing sustainable source of capital and financing.
Maryland has long led the way on green banks, from the Maryland Clean Energy Center to the Climate Access Fund to the Montgomery County Green Bank — and our state is home to several community development financial institutions whose focus on localized wealth building is essential to the success of this enterprise. Just this past month, we joined Vice President Kamala Harris at Coppin State University to announce that the EPA would start taking proposals to launch this national program.
One year ago, we achieved what many thought would never happen: We took a major national step forward in the fight to confront the climate crisis. This breakthrough doesn’t only help the planet, it will also help the pocketbooks of every Marylander, cutting energy costs and creating jobs and investment across our state.
Every new wind turbine built, every solar panel installed, and every electric car and truck that rolls off the line will power a better future for all. And we will continue to work together to ensure that Maryland’s future keeps getting brighter.
Chris Van Hollen has represented Marylanders in the U.S. Senate since 2017 and was the author of the HOPE for HOMES Act and the original green bank legislation. Kim Coble is the executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.