The US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has justifiably been described as a game-changer for America’s clean energy sector, but the euphoria of its passage into law has been followed by some brow-furrowing ripples at home and abroad.
The generous support on offer across a range of key green industries has ruffled the feathers of trading partners such as the EU, which have complained of possible market distortions and prompted a pledge by President Joe Biden to look at “tweaks” to the IRA that could ease their concerns.
Within the US, meanwhile, industry groups gave a lukewarm reception to eagerly awaited first guidance on how developers and equipment suppliers can tap into the IRA’s bounty. Renewables industry advocacy body American Clean Power said initial communication from the US Treasury Department lacked sufficient detail, while concerns were also flagged about targets for offshore wind apprentices.
Apprenticeships will no doubt be one of the issues on the agenda for Turn Forward, a new US offshore wind advocacy body led by sector veteran Stephanie McClellan and reported on first by Recharge.
The globe-trotting legal showdown between GE and Siemens Gamesa over wind turbine intellectual property moved to London this week, where the former hailed victory in the latest court action brought by its rival over alleged patent breaches by the Haliade-X offshore machine.
The UK judge’s decision in GE’s favour over the giant turbines that will be used at the record-sized 3.6GW Dogger Bank project came as a relief to the US group, which suffered setbacks in the US courts over the same issue.
IP expert Philip Totaro explained in an earlier Recharge article why the legal ding-dong has such high stakes for the two turbine giants – and for the wider wind industry.
In a sobering reflection of the geopolitical turmoil of the times, anxiety over how to keep offshore wind arrays safe from attack is higher than at any stage of the industry’s 30-year history.
Explosions at the Nord Stream gas pipeline – heavily tipped as a Russian signal to the west – have put security of all offshore energy infrastructure top of the agenda, and Recharge this week reported a Polish naval expert’s warning that offshore wind farms are “increasingly probable” targets for a strike by terrorists or other malign forces.
The issue has reached the very top of governments in Europe, as shown by joint calls for Nato protection of crucial offshore energy assets by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, who described them as “arteries of the modern economy”.