This week, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation that would revive some very important clean energy tax credits. It’s welcome progress for a set of measures that Congress has disappointingly allowed to expire. Approval by the Finance Committee is just the beginning though. It’s time for Congress to renew these vitally important incentives—including the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC)—in order to inject market predictability, create jobs, grow renewable energy and reinforce domestic manufacturing.
Without the PTC and ITC, renewable energy growth faces a headwind. These two tax credits alone have helped hundreds of companies and individuals overcome the hurdles they confront during the planning and construction phases of renewable energy projects. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) after Congress failed to renew clean energy tax credits in 2013, installations of new wind farms fell 92 percent and caused a loss of 30,000 jobs that year. Once Congress renewed the PTC, the U.S. wind energy industry added 23,000 jobs the following year.
Energy policies like renewable energy that protect clean air, clean water and maintain and improve environmental standards have bipartisan support, so there is no reason for lawmakers to delay action on renewable energy incentives any longer. According to a bipartisan poll by NRDC, majorities in Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida and Colorado support an agenda of clean water, clean air, health safeguards and action on climate change.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley recently wrote “Wind energy drives economic growth and higher wages.”
Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley recently wrote “Wind energy drives economic growth and higher wages. Iowa is home not only to an inexhaustible wind supply, but it also serves as a national leader of wind-related manufacturing facilities that produce good-paying jobs in construction, operations, maintenance and support services.”
With Congressional approval, clean energy tax credits that grow renewable energy can go far to benefit many more states like Iowa. Renewable energy helps to create local jobs, stimulate domestic manufacturing and limit emissions. State renewable energy mandates are further helping to stimulate demand for renewable energy.
In Michigan for example, the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) has created a demand for renewable energy that’s helping stimulate growth in clean energy and manufacturing facilities across the state. Projects such as the Consumers Energy Lake Winds Energy Park have sprung up over the past few years, providing a boost of nearly $10 million for Mason County and the state of Michigan.
While it is unfortunate clean energy tax credits have been allowed to expire at all, Congress’ renewed interest in putting these incentives back to work creating jobs, increasing efficiency and protecting the environment is an opportunity we must support.