This year’s Personality of the Year award category may bring a sense of déjà vu. In 2021, US President Joe Biden was awarded the same accolade due to his landmark $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – the largest investment in American infrastructure since President Dwight Eisenhower’s Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. This year the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act solidified his spot at the top.

The IIJA allocated $550 billion towards transportation, broadband and utilities; over $100 billion for roads; $66 billion for rail; and $65 billion towards the country’s broadband rollout. In 2022, the Department of Energy pledged to use $3.2 billion of that money to create four regional direct air capture hubs, representing huge moves in carbon capture and sequestration. Other smaller projects are also in the works – as of the start of 2023, the funds have been deployed towards over 20,000 new infrastructure projects across the nation.

The Inflation Reduction Act, the whirlwind passage of which shocked the US last summer, is to energy what the IIJA was to transportation, though on a smaller scale and quicker impact. The Biden administration hopes it will reduce US emissions by about 40 percent by 2030. However, even today, the legislation has proven itself to be a pivotal moment for the energy transition, and its shockwaves are sure to be felt both domestically and internationally.

Biden’s bill is a heavyweight, allotting $385 billion towards climate and energy, including:

  • $130 billion in clean electricity tax credits;
  • $35 billion in clean fuel tax credits and electric vehicle tax credits;
  • $35 billion towards the US’s first green bank;
  • $30 billion in production tax credits for solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and mineral processing;
  • $25 billion in clean manufacturing tax credits;
  • $10 billion in investment tax credits for electric vehicle and renewable energy-related factories.

After battling Republicans (and West Virginia’s Democratic Senator Joe Manchin) in Congress, Biden had to turn to the international stage, defending the subsidy-filled bill from EU-backed complaints that it broke World Trade Organization rules. No formal fight has been seen yet, but in the policy world, the EU has begun to launch green proposals of its own.

Outside of those two legislative acts, Biden has also overseen two landmark offshore wind auctions. The first, taking place last February, brought in a record-breaking $4.37 billion for six plots of land off of the New York Bight. The second, while slightly smaller in financial terms – raking in $757.1 million for five plots off the coast of California – is just as large in its impact, as it represents the beginning of the US’s journey towards inaugurating its first floating offshore wind farm.

What more can be said of the 46th president? Infrastructure was at the heart of his campaign and lives at the heart of his political agenda. Perhaps he said it best in his 2023 State of the Union address: “To maintain the strongest economy in the world, we also need the best infrastructure in the world. We used to be number one in the world in infrastructure, then we fell to 13th. Now, we’re coming back.”

Second place: Natalie Adomait, Brookfield Asset Management
Third place: Marc Ganzi, DigitalBridge