Republicans in the US ‘battery belt’ embrace Biden’s climate spending

(The Guardian, 23 Feb 2023) Southern states led by Republicans did not vote for climate spending, but now embrace clean energy dollars like never before.

Georgia, a state once known for its peaches and peanuts, is rapidly becoming a crucible of clean energy technology in the US, leading a pack of Republican-led states enjoying a boom in renewables investment that has been accelerated by Joe Biden’s climate agenda.

Since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August, billions of dollars of new clean energy investment has been announced for solar, electric vehicle and battery manufacturing in Georgia, pushing it to the forefront of a swathe of southern states that are becoming a so-called “battery belt” in the economic transition away from fossil fuels.

“It seems like all roads are currently leading to Georgia, it’s really benefiting disproportionately from the Inflation Reduction Act right now,” said Aaron Brickman, senior principal at energy research nonprofit RMI. Brickman said the $370bn in clean energy incentives and tax credits in the bill are a “complete game changer. We’ve just frankly never had that before in this country. The IRA has transformed the landscape in a staggering way.”

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The Guardian, 23 Feb 2023: Republicans in the US ‘battery belt’ embrace Biden’s climate spending