December 10, 2014

Senate Still Has Opportunity to Provide Certainty to Clean Energy Job Creators

Statement by Steve Clemmer, Director of Energy Research and Analysis

WASHINGTON (December 10, 2014) – The Senate is expected to vote on a tax extender bill that once again leaves clean energy job creators in limbo. Under this bill, already passed in the House, the Production Tax Credit (PTC)—an effective federal incentive that supports business development of wind and other renewable energy sources—would only be retroactively renewed through 2014.

Below is a statement by Steve Clemmer, director of energy research and analysis with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“Passing a bill that effectively extends the PTC for three weeks is laughable. It doesn’t provide the certainty the renewable energy industry needs to develop projects, secure financing and sign power purchase agreements, which can often take up to two years.

“The last time Congress allowed the PTC to expire and retroactively extended it for one year, U.S. wind installations dropped by more than 90 percent, investment in state and local economies fell by $24 billion, and wind manufacturers cut thousands of good, high-paying jobs. To prevent this from happening again, we’re calling on the Senate to do the right thing and extend the PTC for at least two years, as proposed in the bipartisan EXPIRE Act, which the Senate passed in April.

“Science confirms climate change is real and the impacts will keep getting worse and more costly until we make a wholesale shift to clean energy. Because renewable energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaics do not use any water to generate electricity, they make the grid more resilient to drought and heat waves that are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. Until Congress passes a meaningful climate policy, federal tax credits for renewables are one of the best tools in our arsenal to reduce carbon emissions and save water.

“Continuing to reward permanent subsidies to industries, which have cost the nation billions of dollars in health care costs and climate change damages, while simultaneously cutting incentives for clean energy alternatives, defies logic. Any efforts to eliminate clean energy tax incentives like the PTC should be accompanied by a phase-out of subsidies for the mature fossil fuel and nuclear power industries. The time has come for Congress to move past the rhetoric and achieve true parity in the tax code.”

Information about disparities between subsidies available to the fossil fuel and clean energy industries can be found at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s Web site, and are linked here:
http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43994
http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43032

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.