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Government Programs That Drive Sales: A Guide
Jim Creevy Vice President, U.S. Government Relations & Public Affairs, ABB
David Henkelmann U.S. Government Compliance Officer, ABB
Ed Orlet Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Strategic Projects, NAED
Abigail Campbell Singer Head of Climate and Infrastructure Policy, Siemens USA Government Affairs

Industry experts help demystify several recently enacted and landmark pieces of federal legislation that will significantly impact the electrical products industry for generations to come

In the realm of American history, the past few years have been an incredibly active time for legislation impacting the nation’s infrastructure and the electrical distributors and contractors who support it. But with all of their various components and rules of engagement, it can also be confusing to understand what these key pieces of legislation involve, who they target and when their impact will actually be felt at the channel level.

Below, several industry experts help clear up some of that confusion with an overview of the key legislative acts making headlines in the electrical products industry as well as insights into how these initiatives are and will continue to be felt across the electrical manufacturing, distribution and contracting industries.

Just the Facts: What You Need to Know

Below are details on four recently enacted pieces of federal legislation that stand to positively impact the electrical products industry and its various channel members:

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (also known as The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act)

“Signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) allocates roughly $1.2 trillion in funding over eight years,” shared Ed Orlet, NAED’s senior vice president of government affairs and strategic projects. According to Orlet, some of the most important provisions for our industry include:


We haven’t previously seen this level of federal funding across the climate and infrastructure space, and it’s providing us with a strong foundation to shape the future we want.”

  • Water Infrastructure: The law allocates $55 billion for the upgrade of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater management systems.
  • Power and Energy: The law allocates $65 billion to expand the use of renewable energy sources and upgrade power infrastructure (such as the nation’s electric grid) to enhance resilience.
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Infrastructure: The BIL includes $7.5 billion to build out a nationwide EV infrastructure, including a network of fast-charging stations known as the “Nationwide EV Corridor.” The funding will flow through state departments of transportation by a specific formula to offer EVs a reliable and predictable national corridor of fast-charging facilities.

Build America, Buy America

“The BIL (aka, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) included a significant expansion of previous federal ‘Made in America’ procurement provisions through the creation of the ‘Build America, Buy America’ (BABA) Act, which included a wider range of materials and products designed to increase opportunities for domestic material sourcing for infrastructure upgrades,” said Orlet. According to the White House, “by requiring the use of Made in America content, the Build America, Buy America provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help stimulate private sector investments in domestic manufacturing, bolster critical supply chains and support the creation of good-paying union jobs so that America’s workers and firms can compete and lead globally for years to come.” Some of the expanded provisions are as follows:

  • Previously, Buy America provisions focused primarily on iron, steel and manufactured goods. The BIL has now extended these requirements to cover construction materials like aluminum, plastic and polymer-based products, glass, drywall and optical fiber.
  • The BIL worked to make waiver requirements more stringent, including requiring agencies to publicly justify any waivers granted that allow for the use of non-American materials.
  • The BIL tasked relevant federal agencies with providing guidance on the implementation of these expanded requirements. “This includes developing standards and definitions for what qualifies as American-made and ensuring uniform application across different types of infrastructure projects,” Orlet said. “This guidance is still being developed, which isn’t uncommon in federal programs.”

The Inflation Reduction Act

Signed into law in August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) aims to combat inflation by, among other measures, investing in domestic energy production and promoting clean energy. The federal government approached this by expanding or creating more than 20 tax incentives for clean energy, manufacturing and processes that will strengthen the supply chain.

According to Orlet, key electrical and energy-related provisions of the IRA include:

  • Investments in Renewable Energy: The IRA allocates substantial funds for the development and deployment of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, including tax credits for individuals and companies investing in renewable energy projects (including EV charging networks).
  • Electric Vehicles: The IRA provides tax credits for consumers purchasing new and used electric vehicles.
  • The Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit (25C): This provision offers homeowners tax incentives for undertaking electrical service upgrades that accommodate electric appliances and EV charging capabilities. “Make sure your contractor customers are helping homeowners take advantage of this,” Orlet advised distributors.
  • Residential Clean Energy Credit (25D): This provision offers a 30% credit (for systems installed through 2032) for homeowners who install renewable energy systems, including solar panels, solar water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines and biomass fuel systems.
  • Commercial Buildings Deduction (179D): The IRA significantly enhances the existing deduction for businesses that implement energy-efficient improvements to commercial buildings; specifically, the deduction amount has been increased and the standards for qualifying improvements have been updated to encourage deeper energy savings. “This includes upgrades to lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation and hot water systems,” Orlet noted. “The lighting deduction has been an attractive selling tool for distributors for many years, and now it’s even more effective.”

The CHIPS and Science Act

Recent pandemic-era supply chain issues and shipping delays served as an eye-opening reminder of how dependent the United States was on foreign suppliers for key technologies and components. To address this, The CHIPS (“Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors”) and Science Act, enacted in August 2022, dedicated nearly $53 billion for domestic research and manufacturing of semi-conductors in the United States and created a 25% tax credit for capital investments in semiconductor manufacturing. Since then, U.S. companies have committed hundreds of billions of dollars of investments in semiconductor and electronics technology and manufacturing in an effort to boost America’s global competitiveness and make its supply chains more robust and resilient. In one recent headline, the federal government awarded Intel $8.5 billion in CHIPS Act grants, which the semiconductor giant plans to spend on chip factories and research centers in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico and Oregon. According to the White House, it’s hoped that these and other CHIPS-related initiatives will help keep America “in the driver’s seat of innovation.”

Behind the Scenes: Industry Insights on Government Legislation

Considered to be some of the most extensive funding devoted to America’s infrastructure since the historic investments made post-WWII, “this legislation is as consequential for our industry as the enactment of Obamacare was to our health care system,” Orlet said. “The level of federal funding coming into our sector for the foreseeable future is too big to ignore.”

Abigail Campbell Singer, head of climate and infrastructure policy, Siemens USA Government Affairs, agreed.

“This is a historic moment in America—one that sets the stage for decarbonizing the economy, boosting U.S. manufacturing, creating jobs and increasing equity,” Campbell Singer said. “We haven’t previously seen this level of federal funding across the climate and infrastructure space, and it’s providing us with a strong foundation to shape the future we want.”

Jim Creevy, vice president of U.S. government relations & public affairs at ABB, concurred.

“Recent laws enacted by the federal government are significant investments by any measure, and ones that might compare only to the construction of the interstate highway system of the 1950s-1960s in terms of their scale and role in setting the stage for economic transformation,” Creevy said. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law effectively doubled the historical five-year federal investment in infrastructure (totaling $1.2 trillion), and the tax incentives created by the Inflation Reduction Act, primarily for clean energy and advanced manufacturing, along with the CHIPS and Science Act for semiconductors, are estimated to drive well over a trillion dollars of private investment in these segments.”

Takin’ It to the Streets

“Money has started flowing,” Orlet said of the active application of earmarked funds to designated upgrade projects that will ultimately involve electrical distributors and contractors. “So much of the timing depends on states and local governments green lighting projects, as funding typically flows through state energy and transportation offices by a federal formula.”

“Recent federal funding vehicles have made it clear to companies where America’s industrial priorities stand, and the response from the industry has been incredible,” Campbell Singer added. “We’ve seen billions of dollars of private capital being invested here in the U.S. in addition to the ‘down payment’ from the federal government through the BIL, IRA and CHIPS acts, and these investments create opportunities for the industry to innovate, especially in the area of critical infrastructure.”

According to Campbell Singer, the growth in upgrade activity being witnessed across several markets has extended to Siemens’ own footprint as well. “For example, last year Siemens announced that it will soon begin manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) string inverters in Kenosha, Wisconsin in response to the Inflation Reduction Act,” she said. “These utility-scale solar components are specifically designed to serve the U.S. market and our Kenosha facility will help meet increased demand for localized production of critical parts for PV projects while helping customers take advantage of the full value of solar tax credits and domestic content incentives now available as a result of the IRA.” And in response to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, she said, “we opened our second EV Charging Hub in Carrollton, Texas, which is manufacturing Buy America-compliant chargers. We’ve also expanded our low-voltage manufacturing operations in Texas and California to help serve the growing electrical market and ramped up our capabilities to work with local, state and national partners across the U.S. to help them make the most of these investments as well.”

While progress is clearly being made, Creevy nonetheless cautioned that the rollout of funds and subsequent construction activity are both in initial stages.


“We’re in year three of five with regard to the infrastructure law, but that doesn’t mean that 60% of the funding is out on the street yet,” he said. “It takes time for funds to flow from the federal government to the states, the projects and then further down to contractors and subcontractors. It’s even slower on the IRA side because the IRA is largely comprised of tax incentives, many of which are slated to last for a decade. In some cases, the tax guidance isn’t even finalized yet, and investors, project developers and manufacturers must quickly evaluate what tax incentives mean for a particular project’s viability.” As a result, Creevy predicted, “the bulk of the impact to our industry may still be 3-5 years away.”

Lessons Learned

From his experience, David Henkelmann, U.S. government compliance officer at ABB, believes that overly complicated aspects of the legislative acts might serve to impede their actualization.

“Increased U.S. government spending with associated domestic preference requirements has certainly motivated companies to invest in their U.S. manufacturing capabilities and sourcing of domestic components and materials,” Henkelmann said. “Unfortunately, however, the rules are complex and can be very confusing for customers, contractors, distributors and manufacturers.”

For example, he said, “the Build America, Buy America requirement for U.S. infrastructure projects implemented in the BIL imposes very different materials, components, or manufacturing process requirements for each of three types of U.S. products—iron/steel, construction materials and manufactured products—incorporated into projects. Separately, taxpayer domestic content calculations for IRA project-related bonus tax credits aren’t simple and require extensive knowledge of U.S. Manufactured Products and Components data from manufacturers, who are often further removed from the contracting process.”

According to Henkelmann, the ramifications of this confusion can be significant. “Inadvertently misapplying or misinterpreting the rules can create disruption through the entire supply chain,” he said. “This can cause project delays that may require replacement of equipment or lead to contract disputes, possibly fines and penalties or even ineligibility to participate in future government-funded projects.”

As for other lessons learned, Campbell Singer said that Siemens’ efforts to work with general contractor, electrical contractor and distributor partners to navigate the complex federal funding and incentives process have confirmed the importance of aligning on the customers’ needs at the end-user level.

“As a global company, Siemens has long been developing its business in all regions with the goal of establishing value chains as close to customers as possible,” she explained. “This has become increasingly more important as the IRA, BIL and CHIPS Act provide incentives for domestic manufacturing and aim to advance the nation’s clean energy goals while bringing the U.S. economy along with it.” As a result, she said, “clarity on domestic content criteria and country of origin early in the process is critical for project implementation and domestic investments to move forward while also meeting incentive requirements.”


ABB’s Henkelmann fully agreed that understanding and successfully capitalizing on the various legislative acts will require a team effort.

“Close collaboration between electrical contractors, distributors and manufacturers is critical to understanding and leveraging their products’ ability to comply with the different types of domestic preference rules,” Henkelmann said. “It will also be necessary in order to maximize the added value their customers seek and access any type of federal financial assistance available, whether through the BIL, IRA or CHIPS Act. This type of collaboration is also essential for sales to federal agencies for projects requiring Build America, Buy American Act compliance.”

So which industry segments are reaping the rewards of these legislative acts so far?

“We’re seeing wide utilization of federal funding across segments ranging from airports and utility companies to educational institutions—within our ports and among state and local government entities,” Siemens’ Campbell Singer said. “There also remains a significant amount of funding from BIL and CHIPS to come that will support additional electrical infrastructure buildout. We’re in the early stages of the IRA rollout and expect to see the utilization of key credits and deductions across the building and renewable energy space to increase further.”

According to ABB’s Creevy, “I think the numbers speak for themselves—big winners include renewables, energy storage, semiconductors, water and wastewater, electric transportation, clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and building efficiency.”

Creevy contended that a well-known and impactful example of this activity is the EV Ecosystem created by the funds dedicated to the National EV Infrastructure program. “The government has been funding transportation for centuries, but we’re seeing an entirely new type of transportation investment with the National EV Infrastructure program and its build-out of a nationwide network of EV charging,” he said. “This is a notable example where partnership between engineers, contractors, distributors and manufacturers aimed at meeting end-user needs with a pre-configured solution will enable the industry to support the growing demand with faster cycle time.”

Leveraging the Benefits

Overall, industry experts are excited about the opportunities these landmark pieces of legislation represent.

“While ABB has enjoyed a substantial electrical equipment manufacturing presence in the U.S. prior to the enactment of the IRA and BIL, with nearly 40 major manufacturing, assembly, distribution and R&D facilities located domestically, we continue to evaluate various renewable energy projects as part of our ongoing sustainability efforts while leveraging the benefits the IRA offers,” Henkelmann said.

And though Siemens doesn’t leverage federal funding directly, “we’re thrilled to see how these funds are helping our customers grow and meet their goals and we’re ready to partner on this growth,” Campbell Singer confirmed. “We’re expanding our electrical product manufacturing capacities to meet this demand and strengthen supply chains here in the U.S. We see booming demand for the electrification of critical infrastructure—and battery, semiconductor and EV manufacturing is thriving as a result.”

Below, our experts offer top tips for capitalizing on the opportunities presented by recent federal investments in electrical infrastructure:

  • Get Involved: “We’ve seen over a decade of policy passed in the last couple of years, with programs being developed to respond to long-standing infrastructure challenges and others being created to drive competitiveness in emerging markets such as batteries, electric vehicles and semiconductors,” shared Siemens’ Abigail Campbell Singer. “However, a comprehensive process still occurs to implement these bills and ultimately get funding to awardees. Toward that end, it’s important that stakeholders get involved, either by working with partners, local chambers, community organizations or trade associations to be an active participant in the process and help ensure that manufacturing and channel voices are considered and heard.”
  • Seek Projects at Ports: “Distributors and contractors may want to look for projects at ports in their trading areas, as the federal government is scheduled to invest $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports,” suggested the NAED’s Ed Orlet, who noted that some of these projects are already underway.
  • Partner Up for Progress: “I can’t reiterate enough how important it is for distributors and manufacturers to partner in this process—not only to offer the best customer value solutions, but also to ensure that they’re satisfying federal agency requirements with compliant products,” ABB’s David Henkelmann said. “This begins by understanding in advance how each product satisfies each particular government requirement (such as Build America, Buy America), and includes identifying gaps where changes in manufacturing or alternate approaches may expand the available, federally funded marketplace.”
  • Know the Rules: According to Henkelmann, distributors or manufacturers that don’t understand or choose to ignore federal domestic preference rules for any transaction can put everyone in the chain at significant risk. For example, he said, “U.S. infrastructure projects require the incorporation of BABA requirements in all subcontracts—and prudently in all further subcontracts. Not recognizing when these rules apply, including any agency-specific requirements, or failing to ensure that the entire subcontract chain understands their obligations, is a recipe for harmful outcomes. By understanding the domestic preference landscape at the federal, state and municipal levels and how products align with these requirements, the entire value chain will be well positioned to navigate each transaction and help ensure that everyone up through and including the end-user customer succeeds.”
  • Plan for the Future: ABB’s Jim Creevy encourages distributors to prepare for the positive impact of legislation that was designed to stimulate manufacturing, sales, employment and national competitiveness for decades to come. “The long-term nature of these legislative policies is what’s so remarkable about them,” Creevy said, “and we have yet to see their full impact.”