US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm speaks during the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation Ministerial forum in Zagreb, Croatia, March 1, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday said the Biden administration makes no apologies for the IRA, and challenged EU allies to follow the US lead by providing more subsidies of their own.

"We don't want to stoke trade wars or anything like that," said Granholm. "We keep saying 'have at it – you should do the same thing' – a little friendly competition is all."

"But we are serious about bringing supply chains back into this country," she said.

European energy companies echoed the call for Europe to come up with its own new incentives

She called the US incentives "10 years of IRA carrots you can take to the bank" and said more than 100 companies in the electric vehicle supply chain had announced investments in the United States since the law passed.

European energy companies echoed the call for Europe to come up with its own new incentives.

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"It would be great to see the European Union policy move from stick to carrot," said Josu Jon Imaz, chief executive officer of Spanish energy provider Repsol SA . "We don't need banning technologies, we don't need restrictions, we need to be attractive."

Repsol this year expects to spend almost 40 percent of its project budget in the United States, including $1.5 billion in oil and gas and $1 billion in renewables, compared with 25 percent going into the Iberian peninsula, Imaz told Reuters.

"Simplicity is from my point of view one of the main features of the IRA and that is very important for investors… you have a broad possibility to invest in many areas in the United States," he said.

Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of French energy giant TotalEnergies told the conference the IRA was an "invitation to accelerate green infrastructure."

ALSO READ: EU wants changes to US Inflation Reduction Act

"Fundamentally, you see it as an opportunity when you put incentives. In Europe, you begin to regulate," he said, adding that Europe and the United States should consider forming a free trade agreement on renewable energy infrastructure.

"We like the IRA," said Sanjiv Lamba, CEO of hydrogen producer Linde Plc. It is simpler and easier to understand than the EU's lengthy policy statements, he said.

Takajiro Ishikawa, chief executive of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Americas, also said the IRA is an investment magnet.

"All of the capital from advanced countries and even developing countries is flooding to America to take part of the investment that stems from the IRA," Ishikawa said

He cited a direct pay component of the Act, which allows foreign entities to benefit directly from its incentives.

ALSO READ: EU gives guarded welcome to US guidance on EV tax credits

"You have Uncle Sam paying you for that tax incentive… it's earth-shattering," said Ishikawa, whose firm is involved in hydrogen development and carbon capture and sequestration.

Ken Gilmartin, CEO of British engineering firm Wood Plc, said the IRA would put the United States in first place in the decarbonization race.

"That is not a sentence I thought would say five years ago," he said, noting that former President Donald Trump had withdrawn the US from global efforts to fight climate change.

US executives offered more tempered enthusiasm for the incentives, saying permitting obstacles can add years to development of pipelines or carbon sequestration sites.

White House energy adviser John Podesta said during the week that the Biden administration was working to reduce complexity and timelines for permitting and hoped the US Congress could pass comprehensive reform of the process.