House Republicans and Democrats joined together last week to co-sign a letter to the House Committee on Ways and Means recommending that renewable energy development receive continued support in any forthcoming comprehensive tax reform debate. The effort was led by Representatives Paul Ruiz (D-CA), Jon Runyan (R-NJ), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and was signed by 60 Representatives.
In a statement released with the letter, Rep. Ruiz commented, “Renewable energy is a critical area of economic growth … We have to work together to advocate for renewable energy jobs, domestic manufacturing and American energy independence.”
The bipartisan letter noted, “While investment in a number of countries has increased in recent years, the United States saw a 34% decrease in renewable energy investment last year due to policy uncertainty. Maintaining policies in the tax code that promote investment in and deployment of renewable energy technologies will help ensure that the American consumer continues to benefit from renewable energy innovations while also reaping the benefits of a diverse energy economy.”
The wind industry has long advocated for the kind of policy certainty that has been enjoyed by other domestically produced energy sources. While the American wind industry has recently grown at a record pace – an average of 30 percent annually over the last five years—almost no new wind farms were built in the first half of 2013 because of Congress’s delay in extending the federal wind energy production tax credit (PTC). This abrupt slowdown vividly demonstrates the importance of consistent long-term policy.
Wind’s growth has been powered by private investment paired with smart tax policy. Last year was our industry’s best ever, as $25 billion in new investment paved the way for a “bumper crop” of new wind projects.
As a result, wind turbine costs continue to decline–more than 50 percent over the last four years alone–and those savings have been passed on to consumers. In fact, newly built wind generation is now cost competitive with all forms of electricity production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Clean, affordable, and homegrown, American wind power is driving economic growth and continuing to earn bipartisan support.
Photo Credit: First Wind – Mars Hill Wind Project, Maine
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