Breaking news in from Business Wire, September 18..."Clean Energy NOW:Diverse Coalition Calls on Congress to Extend Clean Energy Tax Incentives"
Speakers that span the political spectrum, representing the Clean Energy NOW coalition of more than 200 organizations, joined forces today to call for Congressional action to extend the renewable energy and energy efficiency tax credits before the conclusion of the September legislative session. While the credits are set to expire at the end of the year, this week the Senate Finance Committee announced an energy tax deal--agreeing to an $18 billion package which includes clean energy tax incentives. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure in the next several days.
"Today, the wind industry is experiencing record growth, and hiring new workers every day," said Randall Swisher, Executive Director of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
"Unfortunately, many of those newly created jobs are now at risk, and urgent bipartisan action by Congress is needed to sustain the momentum of this growing clean energy industry." According to a recent study by Navigant Consulting, failure to promptly extend the renewable energy tax incentives places at risk 116,000 jobs in the wind and solar industries and more than $19 billion in clean energy investment.
"Congress is in the position now to inject the U.S. economy with hundreds of thousands of domestic jobs and unleash billions of dollars of private investment capital, while at the same time improving our energy security and energy independence," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA),
based in Washington, D.C. "The solar energy industry creates jobs that are the foundation of our economy -- jobs for manufacturers, construction workers, engineers, roofers, electricians, and plumbers. These jobs are needed now and Congress can ensure they are created here in the U.S."
In addition to having a positive effect on America's economy and jobs, the clean energy tax incentives have tremendous environmental benefits. "Investing in clean energy solves so many of the problems facing the nation - it would help end our dependence on oil; stop the drilling and mining off our coasts and in other special places; clean up our air and help stop global warming. And those environmental benefits are on top of putting people to work in good jobs and giving the economy a much needed boost. We can't afford to wait for the next president and new Congress to renew the tax credits for wind and solar power and energy efficiency," said Margie Alt, Executive Director of Environment America.
"Many of the nation's renewable resources -- wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro -- are located in rural electric cooperative territory. Extending the Clean Renewable Energy Bond program will allow cooperatives to develop these critical energy resources," said Glenn English, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. "I urge Congress to renew this expired incentive now as a down payment on the massive public/private investment needed to drive technologies that reduce carbon emissions."
Joseph M. McGuire, President of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
explained how the incentives for manufacturers would make it easier for them to market super-efficient clothes washers, refrigerators and dishwashers. "The incentives will accelerate design, production and market acceptance of highly efficient appliances, potentially saving consumers $33 million per year in electricity, gas and water costs and $360 million over the life of those appliances."
"Home buyers are asking for energy efficiency, and our members build homes that are significantly more energy efficient than those of a generation ago," explained Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders.
"But in today's economic climate, home builders need incentives to spur them to even more action -- to put their money where their hearts are."