A Worthy Clean Energy Investment

Posted on December 7, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

By Scott Orr

It’s hard not to love the 1603 program, it seems to have everything.

The clean energy tax credit program creates jobs, it advances technology, it’s good for the environment and it lessons our dependence on foreign energy sources. By any measure, the program is as green as can be. The question now is will the federal government come up with the green it will take to keep it going.

Unless Congress acts — and despite the rumblings of some Democrats, there has been little indication it will –the two year old program will laps at the end of the year. Facing a budget crisis of generational proportions, lawmakers have been reluctant to line up behind a program that gives tax breaks to big companies.

The program is costly to be sure, paying out $3.3 billion last year. But that investment leveraged about $34 billion in clean energy spending in the U.S. and according to Treasury Department estimates, the program helped fund 22,747 projects to date, including solar, wind and other alternative energy initiatives.

In a recent letter to congressional leaders, more than 760 smaller alternative energy companies pleaded for a continuation of the program saying it will “create jobs, spur economic growth and promote private sector development of energy technologies.”

The letter said allowing the program to lapse would half the financing available for energy projects, stifle job creation and severely cut back on investment in new domestic energy projects.

“The 1603 Treasury Program is an efficient finance mechanism that allows taxpayers and small businesses to maximize the return and value of existing energy tax incentives, and is technology neutral so it encourages the development of a wide variety of domestic energy technologies,” the companies wrote.

While small companies like those that signed the letter are the ultimate clean and green beneficiaries of the program, it also gives benefits to some of America’s biggest and richest companies. Search engine giant Google, for example, got a significant tax break which enabled it to invest more than $820 million in renewable energy projects and companies.

According to an independent study by EuPD Research for the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), extending the grant program through 2012 would result in the creation of an additional 37,000 jobs in the solar energy industry alone next year.

Ok, we get it, cutting the budget deficit is job one in Washington. But, at the same time, policymakers have to take a holistic look at spending programs to see if they are a net winner or loser across economic sectors.
We think 1603 is a winner and should be renewed before it expires. Let’s let our lawmakers know before it’s too late.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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One Response to “A Worthy Clean Energy Investment”

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I do not think any of you know how much we are paying for each of these ridiculous green jobs and how innefficient this enrgy is…Has anyone really researched how much of our subsidy dollars are going to offshore beficiaries or the health and quality of life issues they create for the poor people that live near them…The entire wind energy effort is one big boondoggle lining the pockets of a few big foreign companies that then sell their projects with no concern for the long term benefit of those involved. And don’t believe the jobs BS–I am suing two wind farms currently that at best may provide 5 jobs each for investments that are over a half a billion dollars..Please contact me if you want facts–after all I have spent the last three years learning…and if you want to check my credentials google me…Larry Gerdes…404-240-8585 Atlanta, Georgia

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