ABC contractors less likely to bid on clean energy jobs: survey

Oct. 27, 2023
ABC says 98% of its members responding to its survey will be "less likely" to bid on projects.
Associated Builders & Contractors
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A survey of members of the Associated Builders and Contractors reveals that policies imposed by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will make them less likely to bid on clean energy projects.

In the October survey conducted by ABC, 98% of respondents said they would be less likely to bid on such projects.

“The concerns expressed by the overwhelming majority of respondents indicate that the proposed rule fails to provide much-needed regulatory certainty and will ultimately cause unnecessary cost increases and delays to America’s clean energy projects,” said Ben Brubeck, VP of regulatory, labor, and state affairs, in a statement. “Stakeholders seeking enhanced IRA tax incentives conditioned on meeting controversial prevailing wage and government-registered apprenticeship programs are sending a clear message that more clarity is required for the IRA to deliver on promised benefits.

“ABC members expressed a wide range of concerns, from a shortage of government-registered apprenticeship programs and participants in this competitive labor market to opaque prevailing wage regulations that will increase compliance burdens and discourage competition from small businesses,” said Brubeck. “The IRS must provide additional information and promote policies that encourage competition as implementation of the IRA moves forward.”

According to the survey:

  • 96% of respondents agreed the IRA’s mandates would decrease competition among contractors on clean-energy projects.
  • 98% of respondents indicated that the proposed rule’s incentives for union-favoring project labor agreements would make them less likely to bid on these IRA projects.
  • 85% of respondents stated that the necessary GRAPs for IRA projects had not been established in their geographic area, and 90% said that they do not believe sufficient apprentices are available to meet the IRA’s labor hour requirements.
  • 98% of respondents agreed that complying with union work rules where collectively bargained union wage rates prevail would increase the burden of complying with IRA prevailing wage requirements.

Of respondents that self-identified as small businesses under the Small Business Administration’s size standards, 97% said they would be less likely to bid on IRA projects due to the proposed rule’s requirements, 98% expressed concerns regarding unclear union work rules for prevailing wage classifications, and 89% said sufficient apprentices to meet IRA GRAP requirements are unlikely to be available.

“ABC members work on a wide array of projects eligible for enhanced IRA tax incentives, including solar and wind energy, electric vehicle charging stations, carbon capture, and more,” said Brubeck. “Unfortunately, many ABC contractors will be needlessly disincentivized from bidding on these projects because of the Biden administration’s lack of regulatory clarity in implementing the IRA and its schemes pushing clean energy developers to mandate anti-competitive and inflationary project labor agreements, which increase costs by 12% to 20% and reduce competition from more than 88% of the U.S. construction industry workforce.”

Source: Associated Builders and Contractors

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Rod Sutton

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