A suite of tax policies that deliver a wide range of benefits to the U.S. clean energy sector and to our environment expired at the end of 2013. The cause? Congressional inaction. These tax incentives include the Production Tax Credit for wind, credits for constructing energy efficient homes, and credits for manufacturing energy efficient appliances that save Americans money on electric bills.
The on-again, off-again implementation of these incentives has in recent years hurt American businesses and their workers. For instance, wind energy companies have laid off thousands of employees while energy efficiency businesses have decided not to make capital investments in their operations.
But with the Senate Finance Committee expected to begin considering a tax extender bill as early as next week, influential business leaders across the country are speaking out. They’re letting Congress know tax policies that grow America’s clean energy sector and cut dangerous pollution need to be extended — now.
Here’s a sampling of what business leaders are saying:
- In Colorado, Joel Serface, managing director of Brightman Energy, says: “It’s simply inconceivable….that Congress sat back and let critical tax policies for wind energy and energy efficiency expire at the end of last year. Congress needs to reinstate these critical federal tax policies — and do so now.”
- In Michigan, energy efficiency entrepreneur Amanda Godward says Congress is inflicting real harm in the heartland: “By letting clean energy tax incentives expire, Congress turns its back on Michigan residents still seeking work. Congressional inaction also breeds market uncertainty, robs consumers of potential energy savings, and negatively impacts our health and our climate by failing to lower carbon and mercury emissions.”
- In Iowa, which generates about a quarter of its electricity from wind power, Mark Albenze, CEO of Siemens Energy Wind Power Americas, says: “Extending the production tax credit is critical to giving the wind industry the certainty needed to continue to make investments. These projects demonstrate that wind power is a viable and sustainable part of the U.S. energy mix. This industry has arrived. Let’s ensure it will thrive.”
- In Forbes, Boston-based Geoff Chapin, CEO of an energy efficiency company, says: “Ongoing regulatory uncertainty takes a serious toll. Elected officials shouldn’t be holding back economic growth – they should be encouraging it.”
- In Fox Business, E2 executive director Judith Albert says: “Policy is an important element in the creation of clean energy jobs. The most notable example is the production tax credit for wind energy. Numbers jump up and down because the policy is on-again, off-again.”
Restoring the suite of expired clean energy provisions that give growing businesses the support they need to hire new workers, scale up operations, invest in innovation, and cut harmful pollution should be a top priority for Congress. The country cannot afford to wait. We need every wind turbine, every solar panel, and every energy efficient product possible to grow our economy and cut dangerous pollution.
— Environmental Entrepreneurs
A freight train transports more than 40 Siemens wind turbine rotor blades. (Courtesy of Siemens)