Another set of incentives will encourage businesses to build and use cleaner energy. Similar credits have existed in the past, but they often expired after one or two years — producing unpredictable boom-and-bust cycles for investors and businesses. This time, Congress is establishing the credits for at least a decade, helping create more certainty. And the credits will for the first time apply to publicly owned utilities and nonprofits, a large segment of U.S. electricity providers.
The bill does include a compromise: It requires more leasing of federal lands and waters for oil and gas projects. Senator Joe Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, demanded this provision.
But experts say that it will have only a modest impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, the bill will subtract at least 24 tons of carbon emissions for each ton of emissions that the oil and gas provision adds, according to Energy Innovation, a think tank.
“It’s a trade-off,” my colleague Coral Davenport, who covers energy and environmental policy, told me. “But in terms of emissions impact, it’s a good deal.”
The bottom line
The bill will make cleaner energy and electric vehicles much cheaper for many Americans. Over time, it will also likely make them more affordable for the rest of the world, as more competition and innovation in the U.S. lead to cheaper, better products that can be shipped worldwide.