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Solar Austin Event – The Inflation Reduction Act & the Texas Energy Sector

September 27 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Come learn about the most significant climate bill to pass in the USA, and what effects and impacts this may have on local decarbonization!

*NEW September event date!*

Nicknamed the “Gigaton Bill,” among many things, the IRA promises a $369M investment in strategies for the US to reduce nearly a gigaton (100 million tons) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030! Although this is 1/7th of the US’ yearly gas emissions, it’s significant progress to a dense bill with a dozen climate and energy provisions (among tax and healthcare reform). Yet how do these energy provisions affect our solar industry? The average consumer? Innovation in America’s future? Our communities?

In brief, it will supercharge our GHG emissions from 40% to 27% below 2005 levels by 2030. To dive deep into its effects, Solar Austin invites non-partisan and technology-inclusive energy policy experts from Washington DC and Austin to summarize the bill’s commitments to manufacturing, energy development, low-income communities, and electric vehicles. We aim to bring it closer to home and see how it impacts Texan industries, new technologies, workforce development, fossil fuels, and our needed transition to a more efficient energy future.

We will be joined by Nicholas Montoni, a senior policy advisor for Third Way, a national think tank championing solutions to the most challenging problems in public policy, national security, social policy and climate. Locally, Ellie Barmish an advocacy consultant with McGuire Woods will hone into some examples of the impacts Austinites and Texans will notice with this new law.

The Zoom event will be as follows:

5:30 -5:45: Virtual Networking

5:45 – 6:00: Solar Austin Updates

6:00 – 6:35: Presentation by Nicholas and Ellie

6:35 – 6:45: Guided questions

6:45 – 7:00: Audience Q&A*

*Questions will be vetted beforehand, so please submit your questions to juan.afanador@solaraustin.org before the event.

History is in the making, and it’s an event you don’t want to miss!

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About our speakers:

Nicholas Montoni, Ph. D.: From an early age, Nick was obsessed with light—the way spotlights catch the dust in dark movie theaters, the way rainbows form after storms, and the way the spot under a magnifying glass heats up. It wasn’t until college at the University of North Carolina that Nick got to put that interest in light to use. As a chemistry student and undergraduate researcher, Nick studied how molecules interact with light and sought to understand what happens to light energy after it is absorbed by a molecule. The broader purpose of this research was to discover new materials for solar energy harvesting.

In 2018, Nick graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a Ph.D. in chemistry. Their research again focused on light, this time studying how small metal particles absorb and transfer light energy. Scientific research is fun and enlightening, but Nick wanted to be in a line of work with more societal impact, so they took on translating science for policymakers at the Washington State Academy of Sciences and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Following their work on Washington State policy, Nick moved to the other Washington for a fellowship in Congress, where they worked for Congressman David Price of North Carolina. It was here that Nick discovered a love beyond light: the federal appropriations process. Science has always benefited from robust federal investment, and as a scientist and a member of society, Nick is excited to be at Third Way supporting federal investments in research and development programs for a diverse set of clean energy technologies.

When not working, Nick runs long-distance (two marathons down, many more to go), plays too many video games, and makes embarrassing attempts to do stand-up comedy.

Ellie Barmish: Ellie joined McGuireWoods Consulting in 2021 and serves as an assistant vice president on the MWCAdvocacy team. She has a background in graphic design, social media content development and management, and communications. Additionally, she possesses experience with legislative advocacy and nonprofit work.

Prior to joining the firm, Ellie led the communications and operations efforts for a local nonprofit in Austin that focuses on civic engagement, leadership development, and community education.

Ellie is a native Austinite and earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science & International Studies and Spanish from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. During her time at Rhodes, she worked on several state and local campaigns, interned for her Congressman, and spent a semester interning in Washington, D.C.