The Office of Energy & Climate Change had the opportunity to join some of our friends and allies to celebrate the first anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Faith in Place, Climate Action Campaign, Healthy Climate Wisconsin, and National Wildlife Federation hosted an IRA Birthday celebration on the Capitol Square on August 16. County Executive Joe Parisi spoke along with:
• US Representative Marc Pocan
• Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway
• Sustain Dane Executive Director Claire Schaefer Oleksiak
• Elevate Associated Director of Policy for Wisconsin Heather Allen
• Accurate-Airtight Exteriors President Torrance Kramer
• Faith in Place Wisconsin Policy Coordinator Alexander Malchow
The event was an opportunity to celebrate the IRA and to highlight the local Sustain Dane-Elevate Efficiency Navigator Program that works to make multifamily housing more affordable and more resilient. The Efficiency Navigator is a good example of a local program that can expand to serve more households with IRA funding.
In addition to our local birthday bash, there were numerous events (including one in Milwaukee), analyses and takeaways of the IRA across the country. As US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a short video celebrating the IRA birthday, the IRA “is a BFD.”
Anyone following OECC knows that we are VERY enthusiastic about the IRA. As County Executive Parisi said at the IRA birthday event, the federal government has done their job—they created incentives that make clean energy projects cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives. Now it is up to us to pursue projects—renewable energy installations, energy efficiency improvements, electrification of buildings and fleet—that take advantage of these federal incentives.
OECC staff created webpages to make it easier for you to understand how to take advantage of the IRA. We update the pages frequently, offer fact sheets on specific IRA opportunities and email alerts around specific IRA opportunities that are designed for people to share with their networks. I do frequent talks about the IRA to every group that will host me. And most recently we have amped up our social media communications around the IRA to increase awareness.
We are always assessing the effectiveness of these efforts and looking for better ways to reach more people faster. The reality is that the IRA offers unprecedented opportunities for individuals, businesses, nonprofits and local governments to reduce their energy costs and emissions. And, like any big initiative, it can feel complicated if you try to take it all in at once. That is why we are working hard to break down the IRA into manageable pieces, giving you the information you need to act.
You can help us be effective by staying engaged. Subscribe to our IRA email alerts. Invite us to speak at your event. Identify ways you can take advantage of IRA incentives at home or work. Talk to your friends and family about the IRA, encouraging them to learn more. And if you have feedback for us about how we are doing or about what else you need, please let me know.
Together, Dane County, we can maximize the opportunities under the IRA to accelerate our progress toward a clean energy future. So let’s do it.
Kathy is the Director of the Dane County’s Office of Energy and Climate Change. In that role she's leading efforts to implement the Climate Action Plan. Prior to coming to Dane County, Kathy led Cool Choices and, prior to that, she led Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program.
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