Congress has passed a spending bill this month has the potential to continue America’s path toward a sustainable energy future!
The bill extends tax credits for the development of renewable energy. These credits will make it easier for companies to continue pursuing renewable energy options, with solar and wind power research being the largest beneficiaries.
The hyrdo-energy sector received the 30 percent tax break extensions for a year, as did the geo-thermal sector. Wind and solar, though, will see the same credits extended through 2019, at which point Congress has the option to renew or deny further extensions.
It’s likely that the tax credits will continue for the foreseeable future, though. Wind and solar energy resources, as well as other renewables, will see a surge of economic growth and research spending under the bill. With this surge in economic growth will come more spending power to lobby Congress, and from there the industry will fight to keep its profitable subsidies at all costs.
For an indication of how this will play out, look no further than the oil industry. Irrespective of the industry’s viability in the short or long term, Congress has continued to subsidize fossil fuels in the face of record-breaking profits. Why? Lobbying power.
The power of the fossil fuel industry to push Congress and politicians to do their bidding is well known. Now, if the renewable energy sector has the chance to grow and become viable, political influence will follow.
Since 2008, wind power usage in America has increased by 300 percent. The solar power industry is expected to double its level of employment and see an additional $40 billion in investment between now and 2020.
On the other hand, the fossil fuel industry is hemorrhaging profits in the face of low prices.
The future of energy is now.
Featured image is by Tafe Sa Tonsley, and is available under a Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-Sharealike license.