From Arizona to Georgia and Kansas, dozens of new factories are being built across the country to reach President Joe Biden’s goal of establishing a domestic supply chain for everything from electric vehicle batteries to computer chips to solar modules.

The boom, driven in part by incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS and Science Act, is expected to add tens of thousands of new manufacturing jobs and deliver something not seen in two decades: growth in industrial power demand. That comes on top of billions of dollars in carbon-free power to replace aging fossil fuel plants and growing electricity needs from new data centers and an ever-larger fleet of electric vehicles.

In response, utilities are planning record investments in renewable energy and battery storage. But an increasing number are also proposing thousands of megawatts of new natural-gas-fired generation that works against their plans to achieve net-zero goals.

The intersection of trends begs the question: Can the country green its grid and grow it at the same time?

“There’s no question there’s a challenge,” said Eric Gimon, a senior fellow at Energy Innovation, an energy and climate policy think tank, who has studied the dilemma. “It was already going to be hard enough to get to an 80-percent clean [grid] by 2030. Now we need to build more” electric infrastructure.

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Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
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Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Electric Power
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Electric Power
As the electric power system faces new pressures and opportunities, EPIC research is working to identify the mix of policies needed to accelerate the global transition to clean, reliable, affordable...
Renewable Energy
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Renewable Energy
Lower technology costs and supportive public policies are driving an increase in renewable energy in markets around the world. EPIC research is assessing the costs, benefits, and efficiency of policies...