• Thomas Enzendorfer

The 25% Economy Boost & Job Creation Initiative That Congress Doesn't Support

Updated: Apr 21, 2019

Over 100 house Democrats have recently introduced a letter into Congress introducing tax credits for renewables and storage for an upcoming infrastructure package. It’s an incentive created to support job growth, protect our infrastructure from climate change and natural disasters, and ensure that our economic growth is sustainable in the long run. Backed by scientific facts and economic reports, sustainable initiatives such as this should be a no brainer for all parties in Congress. Here are 4 reasons to support their recent initiative for supporting tax credits for renewable energy efforts:

1) Bipartisan Support to Improve infrastructure

The IPCC and NCA have released consistent dire reports of the effects of climate change and we have already seen the effects of natural disasters on our infrastructure. The cost of inaction has already been estimated- “IPCC stated that a 1.5 degree increase could cost $54 trillion and even the Trump administration’s NCA estimates that climate change could slash up to 10% of the GPD, more than double the losses of the Great Recession.” It doesn’t make sense to keep building onto a shaky structure built to fall- the only way forward is sustainable development through clean energy infrastructure.

Jobs are going green, even in red states. Republican-led Texas has the most wind generation. Indeed, four rural Republican states — Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and South Dakota — generate more than 30 percent of their electricity from wind, and employ together more than 9,000 people in that industry.

2) Planning for Natural Disasters

Clean energy means reducing carbon pollution, which reduces risk of natural disaster. Seeing as how the US contributes 15% of global emissions, it could greatly reduce carbon pollution and prevent further disasters. Already in the past year, record-breaking wildfires and historic levels of rain hit the U.S. Increase of air and water temperatures leads to rising sea levels, supercharged storms and higher wind speeds, more intense and prolonged droughts, heavier precipitation and flooding. All of this affects the vulnerable, our food system, and creates storms that affect our infrastructure, as seen this past year with Hurricane Florence, where Carolina was left without power, except for wind and solar.

3) Solar vs Coal, Oil, and Gas Job Creation

It’s a myth that renewable energy will create a job loss, in fact, it will only create more jobs. Solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians are the two fastest growing occupations in America, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. Renewable energy investment and development tends to create more jobs than fossil fuel energy because a larger share of renewable energy expenditures go to manufacturing equipment, installation, and maintenance, all of which are typically more labor-intensive than extracting and transporting fossil fuels. According to the Energy Policy Project, in addition to creating jobs, a 25 percent by 2025 national standard would boost the U.S. economy in the following ways:

• $263.4 billion in new capital investment for renewable energy technologies

• $13.5 billion in new income for farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners who produce biomass energy and/or lease their land to wind developers

• $11.5 billion in new property tax revenue for local communities

4) The Huge Cost of Subsidizing Oil and Gas

While many Republicans speak on less dependence from foreign countries, they keep supporting the coal, oil, and gas industry that keeps us dependent on those foreign countries. Creating clean energy and cutting off dependence is an issue of security. Becoming energy independent is pro-American and keeps us safe in terms of our energy security. While we have continued to give tax credits to polluting industries, it has been 10 years since we have enacted tax legislation for clean energy. According to a 2015 study, the US oil industry has benefited from subsidies of about $4.6 billion per year. What’s wrong with fossil fuel subsidies? As Price of Oil puts it, “One of the most urgent reasons to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies is the rapidly dwindling carbon budget – the remaining amount of greenhouse gases we are able to emit while having a hope of staying below the temperature warming limits agreed to by world leaders. But, there is enough carbon in the fossil fuel resources already under development, globally, to surpass those limits. Simply put, we can not develop any new oil, gas, and coal resources and hope to stay on target. In this context, putting public money towards finding and burning more fossil fuels just doesn’t make sense.” Basically we are throwing away millions of dollars of taxpayer money into a bad investment.

The end of the letter makes things very clear:

“Right now the U.S. tax system has over forty provisions that provide billions in subsidies, which are overly complex and provide different subsidies to similar technologies, many with no discernible rationale. It continues to provide permanent subsidies to polluting industries while leaving clean, renewable energy companies in the lurch, year after year. It has been over ten years since either tax-writing Committee has enacted legislation to in the clean energy area. We should examine the existing provisions and explore ways to streamline them to be simpler and encourage increased efficiency and performance. These changes would drive investment and innovation in clean electricity, clean transportation, and energy efficiency – growing the economy and keeping costs low for consumers while accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels and improving our chances of seriously addressing climate change.”

These 4 reasons make up the bases as to why Congress needs to support tax credits for a clean future. It makes economic, environmental, and social sense to create sustainable infrastructure in order to have sustainable economic growth, job creation, improve the nation’s health, ensure energy independence, and protect against natural disasters. If you support this and believe taxpayers’ money should be going towards sustainable growth, reach out to your local congressman or woman to lend your voice and demand better.

Written by: Thomas Enzendorfer, CEO of American Home Energy, former President of oligent and Board Member of Fronius. American Home Energy is the first ever white-label pure-play solar EPC company helping people succeed in the climate industry.

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