Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Thursday, where she highlighted the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and praised the incubator for being a match for the sweeping legislation that is the largest investment in climate action in United States history.
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), founded in 2011, was the result of a public-private partnership with the city of Los Angeles and has helped 340 clean technology startups raise nearly $680 million over the last 10 years.
Around $370 billion is in the legislation to address climate change, including funding for energy infrastructure, tax incentives to build clean technology manufacturing facilities and grants for environmental justice initiatives.
Pelosi said LACI provided an “intellectual resource” about what to include in the bill, which passed Congress earlier this month without a single Republican vote. The Inflation Reduction Act was the result of a balance between various groups, including the private sector, according to Pelosi. She said while great ideas were important, it was just as pivotal to have the capital to turn ideas into reality and sell them in a marketplace.
“I think that LACI is great example of knowing what the marketplace is, and what the traffic will bear in new ideas as quickly as possible, to lower cost and better paying jobs and safer communities in every way,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi took a tour of the LACI facility on Thursday, and said afterwards there was “stiff” competition for her favorite part.
“Every place was perfect,” she said. “Each section of the tour complemented the other. All of it was fundamentally about justice, about inclusion, about diversity. Not only changing the marketplace, but changing the workforce in a way that was what we had in mind (with the bill).”
Pelosi was joined by Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles at the event. Gomez authored three climate action bills that were included in the legislation, including a bill that creates a tax credit for first-time buyers of used electric vehicles worth up to $4,000 or $30% of the sales price. Gomez called the Inflation Reduction Act a “remarkable bill” that will help transition to a green economy and the jobs of the future.
“We cannot tackle this problem if more and more people don’t participate in the green economy and if we make the green divide exist between the have and the have-nots,” Gomez said.
Brantly Fulton, CEO and co-founder of LAMAR IoT — a startup based in LACI that focuses on smart packaging solutions — said funding through LACI has helped his company hire interns. LAMAR IoT initially started at LACI through its innovators program, before graduating to its incubation cohort where it received $20,000 in funding for a pilot program that helped it create a chip device.
“I want to do good science before running a successful business and making money,” Fulton said to City News Service. “For me, it’s certainly energizing and joyous when you see so many initiatives now, both throughout the state but also throughout the country that are focused on impacting STEM and STEM education.”
Fulton, a Detroit native and whose grandfather worked at General Motors, said it was exciting to be on the forefront as a CEO and able to push innovation in the technology industry, having learned from more traditional methods in the industry. Fulton has seen more lawmakers consulting scientists in helping develop policy.
“It’s galvanizing, both in the state of California and our country as a whole that they see the need, the target and the focus for putting dollars behind that,” Fulton said.
Pelosi said the bill includes the “moral justice of saying, `We’re starting with the community in developing this.’ Not trickling it down. but bringing it up.”
She praised LACI and the city of Los Angeles for serving as an example for areas that the legislation will target.
“Coming here to LACI is just the biggest celebration,” Pelosi said. “Los Angeles is big enough to be globally significant, but small enough to be resilient in trying new and different things, to be a model to the world.”