Earlier this month, Congress demonstrated its inability to enact commonsense policy that would have had a substantial impact on America’s clean energy industry. The Senate failed to renew the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), which would have bolstered the burgeoning clean energy sector, lessened America’s dependence on dirty energy, and nurtured a cleaner environment.
PTC promotes further wind energy development by providing the wind industry with billions in tax incentives. This vote came at a critical juncture for wind energy development because the PTC, which is now in limbo, has helped level the playing field with fossil fuels that have permanent subsidies written into the tax code. Another tax credit that incentivizes the production of wind and particularly solar energy is the investment tax credit (ITC); unfortunately, the ITC for renewable energy is set to expire in December 2016. These tax credits for wind energy have spurred innovation and development, helping reduce costs by 43 percent in the past four years, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Increased wind energy production also cut carbon emissions by 126.8 million tons in 2013, the equivalent of taking 20 million cars off of American roads. To continue the momentum of wind energy production, Congress must renew vital tax credits like the PTC for the long-term. Click here to see how your Senators voted on these critical clean energy tax credits.
We should also look to solar energy as a sustainable, environmentally sound alternative to fossil fuels. Like wind energy, solar energy has also become more competitive with the oil, gas, and coal industries. Capacity grew by an astounding 418 percent over the last few years, and the price for solar panels has also decreased by 60 percent since 2011. Solar energy is a wise investment for our economy and environment and will help herald a cleaner, brighter future. Click here to see what renewable energy resources your state is investing in and how we all stand to benefit from them.
Wind and solar energy have put our nation on the right path to become a leader in clean energy and eventually will help to break our dependence on dirty and dangerous fossil fuels. Congress should rethink its decision not to support the development of America’s abundant wind and solar resources and the opportunities these industries provide to grow our clean energy economy and create high-paying jobs right here at home.
(Photograph was found on Flickr taken by Travis)