Some of the states with the greatest potential for wind and solar energy production are red states, some of which are already exploiting it to the benefit of their citizens. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the biggest federal investment made yet in green energy, will only increase that production, and with it will come more clean energy jobs and lower costs for ratepayers. But every single Republican in Congress voted against that bill, and Republican governors in those states opposed it as well.
Take Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who said of the bill: “What you’re doing is you’re taking taxpayer dollars and you’re trying to figure out a way to appease some policy of a constituent group or a lobbyist group. […] And I just believe that you should let the free market work.” Right now Oklahoma is the third-largest producer—after Texas and Iowa—of wind energy, which provides 40% of the state’s electricity, not to mention more than 20,000 jobs. According to a White House fact sheet, there were actually 21,602 Oklahomans in the clean energy industry as of last year, and the infusion of an estimated $20.2 billion in investment in that state alone will result in many more new jobs.
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Stitt, along with 22 other GOP governors, signed a statement in early August opposing the IRA, claiming: “With sky high prices at the pump, the last thing Americans need is for Democrats to punish energy producers, which will ultimately hurt working families struggling to pay for gas, goods, food, and utilities.” The statement also was signed by Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Greg Abbott of Texas, and Spencer Cox of Utah. Each of those states is among the top handful in the country in either solar or wind potential as well as current production, and in some cases both.
All of them could see huge growth in the industry. Take Texas, which is the highest wind producer, second-highest solar producer, and has more than a quarter of a million jobs already in clean energy. It has the potential to produce 1.3 million megawatts just with wind alone, and has the highest capacity for building up solar facilities in terms of land mass. It’s expected to see $66.5 billion in investment in the next eight years thanks to the IRA.
Arizona has the highest average annual sunlight of any state in the country and has 59,383 clean energy industry workers. It’s poised to receive $4.1 billion in power generation and storage funds between now and 2030. Iowa has 30,393 workers in clean energy jobs already and will get an estimated $24.6 billion of investment by 2030. There are 158,467 Florida workers employed in the industry now; it will take in an estimated $62.7 billion from the law.
That’s not even accounting for the thousands of dollars in savings the people in these states will have in utility rates, and in energy upgrades to their homes.
You can bet that when it comes time for the ground-breaking ceremonies for the new manufacturing facilities and renewable energy farms, these governors will be on hand to boast about all the jobs being created and all the savings for their citizens. They’ll be thrilled to take credit for it, because that’s what Republicans do.
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