February 15, 2012

U.S. Senator Bingaman pushes to renew renewable energy tax credits

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is trying to get the renewable energy tax credits renewed as part of the payroll tax cut bill.

He also wants the energy efficiency incentives for homeowners renewed which expired at the end of 2011.

In an editorial on The Hill, Bingaman says:

On Renewable Energy tax credits:
Failure to extend tax incentives for clean energy now will result in jobs lost, reduced U.S. manufacturing competitiveness in a growing, multitrillion-dollar market and a blow to our economic recovery. Despite recent years of solid growth, several industries - including the wind, biofuels and energy efficiency sectors - have already begun cutting workers. Unless Congress acts immediately, more layoffs are inevitable.

Recent economic data confirm how manufacturing is driving America's economic recovery. The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the economy gaining 243,000 jobs last month - 50,000 of them in the manufacturing sector. Clean energy plays an mportant role in creating new jobs and greater energy production.

U.S. wind capacity has reached 42,000 megawatts - enough to power 10 million homes. Over the last four years, wind has accounted for more than 35 percent of all new generating capacity, second only to natural gas. 

These clean-energy jobs are made in America. As a recent Congressional Research Service report detailed, the United States now has more than 420 wind-component manufacturing facilities in 43 states. The domestic content of wind turbines installed in the United States is now greater than 65 percent. This means more U.S. manufacturing jobs today and a robust domestic supply chain that will keep the industry here for years to come.

On Energy Efficiency Credits
Incentives promoting energy efficiency have profoundly positive effects. Energy efficiency improvements, from homes to buildings to industrial sites, provide steady construction jobs that save Americans money and that cannot be exported.

Read his full editorial.

In another editorial on The Hill, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) urges the Senate to bring her national energy efficiency bill to the floor for discussion.

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 1000) passed by a strong margin in committee, 18-3 last year.

She says: 

Efficiency is the cheapest and fastest way to start addressing our energy needs. Through widespread adoption of stronger efficiency standards that rely on commercially available technology, we can reduce energy use while creating jobs at the same time. 

Our broad-based bill has strong backing from the business community. 

First, it creates immediate jobs for construction trades. Businesses and homeowners alike need experts in heating and cooling systems, window replacement and computer-controlled thermostats. The demand for these building improvements will support manufacturers of heating systems, windows, computers and thermostats, as well as the experts it takes to install them. 

Second, the bill helps manufacturers save money and stay competitive with overseas producers. Along with targeted financing, our proposal provides technical support and training for producers to improve the efficiency of their supply chains. 

Third, the bill encourages updating national model building codes through incentives to states.  

Read her editorial here


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