Written by Brionté McCorkle

July delivered the world’s hottest day on record, and Georgians are feeling the impacts of the climate crisis more than ever before — it’s clearly at our doorstep.

But despite the alarm prompted by an unbearably hot summer, this August, we celebrate a new wave of hope. One year ago today, Congress passed the most significant action we have ever taken to tackle the climate crisis. Georgians are already reaping the benefits.

This month, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) turns one year old and coupled with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the CHIPS and Science Act, the Affordable Clean Energy Plan provides the largest climate investments in our country’s history. This federal funding has kickstarted a transformation of the clean energy industry and promises relief on the horizon, both nationwide and here in Georgia.

Let’s start with what the Affordable Clean Energy Plan has already accomplished.

By creating more than 170,000 new jobs nationally and paving the way for almost $280 billion in new investments in clean energy projects nationally, the funding is supercharging our national economy.

Here at home, the Peach State has created almost 17,000 jobs and invested almost $20 billion in clean energy projects – ultimately ranking second in the nation for clean energy investments.

There’s no denying that these numbers are an incredible starting point. But these programs are just getting started and our local leaders must prioritize programs that make Affordable Clean Energy Plan initiatives available to everyday Georgians.

To start, Georgia families could see thousands of dollars in savings on upfront costs and utility bills per year. With an incoming $15 million for programs that provide energy audits and retrofits statewide, these incentives will offer homeowners the opportunity to lower their power bills significantly. And considering Georgia Power’s recent rate hikes, it’s not a moment too soon.

For those living in low-income communities and communities of color that have historically experienced environmental injustices, there’s specific funding available to address both clean air and climate pollution in disadvantaged communities and new opportunities for low-income communities to finally access rooftop solar.

These incentives can be a pathway to helping our neighbors disproportionately affected by climate change not just survive but thrive.

We know that these investments have already cut pollution, created quality jobs, and are working to protect those who are most at risk from climate change. In fact, 75% of Americans think it’s important for the country to increase its use of clean energy, including 55% of Republicans.

While Georgia has seen a statewide boost in the economy through a wave of new jobs and clean energy investments, this landmark anniversary brings a new challenge — to work with lawmakers, community members, and advocates across the state to ensure that these investments are realized in communities all over Georgia.

Let’s celebrate this anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act by recognizing all it’s already accomplished — and embracing the opportunity to claim funding still available to allow us to do so much more.


Brionté McCorkle lives in Atlanta and serves as the Director of Georgia Conservation Voters.