This blog is written by Sandra Boone, Communications Associate for the BlueGreen Alliance.
When releasing its new report — Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2011 Edition — Thursday, the Pew Charitable Trusts made an exciting announcement: the United States has regained the lead in the clean energy race, taking back the position as the world’s leader in clean energy investment.
Now to the real question: now that we are number one again — something we haven’t been since 2009 — what are we going to do to stay there? If you use current congressional action as your predictor, the answer appears to be not much. While countries like China and the United Kingdom are working to continue to encourage clean energy investment and development, Congress has already allowed the 1603 Treasury Grant Program— a program the Department of Energy says created between 52,000 and 75,000 construction and installation jobs during its three-year period— to expire and there hasn’t been progress on keeping the U.S. Production Tax Credits from reaching the same fate at the end of this year.
A recent study from Navigant Consulting found that allowing the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit could put 54,000 American jobs in danger, and industry experts— like Art Wittemore, chief financial officer for Gamesa Technology Corp.’s North America Unit — say Congress’s delay in passing an extension has already hurt U.S. renewable energy development in 2013.
America’s renewable energy industry is currently moving in the right direction, with U.S. wind capacity growing by 31 percent last year to a total capacity of 46.9 gigawatts. Do we really give up our number one spot and fall behind again?