Climate change’s impacts are being seen all across our country and pollution from dirty energy sources is the primary cause. Fortunately, the U.S. has abundant renewable energy resources like wind and solar which are providing an increasingly affordable, efficient, and profitable way to reduce the harmful pollution fueling climate change. We must drive innovations in clean energy technologies and provide the necessary incentives to make the move towards a clean energy future. Investing in clean energy and energy efficiency will drive job growth at home while lowering energy costs for consumers and reducing harmful pollution.
Tax incentives can help level the playing field in order to build a clean energy economy for the future. Fossil fuels have been subsidized for decades and their pollution imposes high costs on society not captured by their current price. The Production Tax Credit (PTC) provides a per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for electricity and makes renewable energies cost competitive with the dirtier alternatives. The extension of the PTC has become a yearly fight in Congress, creating uncertainty in the wind industry and forcing plants to shut down and lay off workers. LCV is fighting to extend the PTC and other incentives that benefit renewable energies, to provide the certainty that the renewable energy industry needs to expand production and installation.
An additional approach to spur renewable energy is through passage of a federal Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), which would require that a certain percentage of the nation’s electricity come from zero-carbon sources of energy. Over half of the fifty states and the District of Columbia have adopted their own state-level RES policies, and LCV is working to advance clean energy policies with our state LCV partners in three ways: 1) defending standards in states where they have come under attack; 2) strengthening standards in favorable states; and 3) enacting new RES’s in states where none currently exist. While national comprehensive legislation on clean energy is unlikely in the currently divided Congress, LCV is devoting resources at the state level to promote policies that foster the growth of the renewable energy sector.
Clean energy and energy efficiency have been high priorities for the Obama administration. With President Obama’s announcement of the Climate Action Plan, the Department of Energy has broadened its mandate to provide financing options and other technical and marketing assistance to accelerate innovations for clean energies and energy efficiency. LCV advocates on behalf of renewable energy and efficiency programs to ensure they receive the necessary funding, especially in these times of tight fiscal constraints and in the face of attacks from polluters’ allies in Congress.