It’s been one year since the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law, and Americans have already reaped its benefits. We reduced health care costs, invested in climate policies, and closed tax loopholes for the ultra-wealthy. We made significant strides in impacting the lives of Americans across the country, drawing private sector investments, boosting wages, benefiting consumers, and protecting the environment. Thanks to Senator John Hickenlooper’s work keeping key negotiators at the table and the negotiations on track, we’re seeing results here in Colorado.
The Inflation Reduction Act is the largest effort yet to combat climate change and does so while also easing the pressures of rising consumer prices. It makes green options convenient and affordable for individuals and families. That’s real savings for working families across our state.
Thanks to this law, energy-efficient appliances, repairs, and utility bills are now more accessible and manageable through rebates, tax credits, and grants for green energy projects. These economic policies incentivize Coloradans to choose cleaner options, boosting the economy and protecting the environment, all while easing the pressure on Americans’ wallets.
And we are already witnessing specific, tangible changes in our state. The IRA drove critical investments such as CS Wind’s plans to expand their Pueblo wind turbine factory, which is currently the largest in the world. Vestas invested $40 million to expand its blades and nacelles manufacturing facilities and expects to hire 800 new employees. Meyer Burger announced a $400 million investment in a manufacturing facility in Colorado Springs, thanks to the IRA’s tax credits. This new solar cell plant will create over 350 jobs, each paying, on average, $77,000.
These ripples of individual impacts will form economic waves. Since its passage, the IRA has spurred $1.76 billion in clean energy investments, leading to over 3,500 new clean energy jobs across Colorado. These investments will expand to an estimated $13.2 billion for clean power storage and generation in the state between now and 2030. This trend is clear not only in Colorado but also across the US. More than 170,600 new clean energy jobs were created nationwide in one year, thanks to the IRA.
The fundamental benefits of the IRA to our state and nation don’t stop there. To address the ongoing crisis surrounding water resources in Western states, the law includes $4 billion in funding for water management in the Colorado River Basin and $500 million set aside for the Upper Basin states, like Colorado. This funding has been utilized and made available through the newly-created Lower Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program.
A legislative achievement as ambitious as the IRA doesn’t happen by chance. Senator Hickenlooper fought hard to keep the negotiations on track and secure the passage of this important law. He has been credited with keeping lines of communication open when agreement appeared hopeless and forging ahead when compromise was hard to find, insisting that there was no alternative. He even suggested a key solution during an apparent gridlock in the negotiation process, bringing holdout lawmakers to a point of agreement. His ability to chart a path forward through conflicting interests delivered us the benefits we feel across Colorado today.
The results the IRA drove to Colorado over this past year clearly uplifted our workers, reduced costs for consumers, and protected our environment. However, we can’t let our guard down now. This historic investment in America’s potential hinges on our successful implementation.
To fight the long-term aridification of the West, transition our economy to a clean one, and train our workforce for the next generation of jobs, we’ll need to continue working together and fighting tooth and nail for Colorado. And, thanks to Senator John Hickenlooper, the IRA will be a welcome tool in the fight.
Tom Glass is a former Democratic CO state senator.