Savannah leaders celebrating federal clean energy push

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Leaders in the Coastal Empire are celebrating the money they expect to receive from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Those leaders say coastal communities like ours could feel the biggest impact from the legislation since it targets issues like climate change.

Chris Carnevale, Climate Advocacy Director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said “The provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act will save thousands of lives annually, and improve our health to reduce pollution, lower our energy bills and create economic opportunity and more than a million new jobs by the end of this decade.”

Carnevale said that’ll happen in part through financial incentives to boost manufacturing of clean energy systems and transportation.

The City of Savannah has already put the wheels in motion to shift toward green energy for city facilities and vehicles.

For example, earlier this year City Council approved a contract to invest in solar energy systems for some city-run facilities, an investment they say will save taxpayers money over the long haul.

At a news conference Wednesday, Savannah City Councilman Nick Palumbo said the federal dollars that will come to Georgia through the Inflation Reduction Act will allow the City to give money to people who shift to green energy.

“We frankly can’t do it without our federal partners. They’re the big dogs out there, they have a lot more funds out there to access into, and capital to be able to do it. And this unlocks the possibility, not just for cities like Savannah, but all over Georgia’s coast and all over our country to be able to utilize the same programs we’re utilizing today,” Alderman Nick Palumbo said. Palumbo added Georgia families stand to save $300 to $1,800 a year in energy savings thanks to the IRA.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, who said he’ll be attending the signing of the federal legislation in about two weeks, said “We’re well poised for lower costs and growth opportunities that are presented by this historic piece of legislation.”

And Chatham County Commissioner, Aaron “Adot” Whitely, said he doesn’t believe the efforts are political. “Climate change is real, it’s a real thing,” Whitely said. “I haven’t seen a MAGA hat or a Harris-Biden bumper sticker on a hurricane yet. Climate change is something that is causing our sea levels to rise at a rapid pace. Our world is experiencing unprecedented weather events. We all have to pitch in to fight climate change.”

They expect the Inflation Reduction Act will bring around 180 million dollars of investment in large-scale clean power generation and storage to Georgia by 2030.