NEW ENERGY WILL LEAD RECOVERY (WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM THE FEDS)
Coal to Newcastle. Water to a drowning man. Fire in the sun. Kidding a kidder.
Pointless exercises. Add a new one to the list: Using federal tax credits to get financing for a wind installation from a bank that can’t remember how to spell profit.
Without profit, a bank has no use for credits to offset taxes. Without use for tax credits, banks have no need to invest in New Energy projects that earn them.
A joint statement from a panel of New Energy leaders outlining how the New Energy industries can, with the right federal policies, lead the U.S. economic recovery called first and foremost for a revision to the tax credits passed in October so as to restore their value to investors and make them work the way Congress intended for them to work when it passed them.
The panel stressed this is a matter of keeping the thriving New Energy sector on track and should not be put off until the 111th Congress convenes next year but requires attention in the upcoming lame-duck session.
Going on to applaud President-elect Obama’s election campaign energy plan calling for big investment in New Energy and Energy Efficiency, the leaders (Randall Swisher, Executive Director of the American Wind Energy Association, Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association, Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director of the National Hydropower Association and Rhone Resch, President of the Solar Energy Industries Association) described how the incoming President can have an immediate effect on New Energy.
First, put solar panels on the White House. President Carter pointed the way by having them installed and President Reagan ended the hope when he had them taken down. Now is the time to bring back hope.
Solar panels are just the first step. How about a small wind system (like the one former President George H.W. Bush put up at his house in Kennebunkport BUSH 41 BUYS WIND or the one at Logan Airport BOSTON FLIES ARCHITECTURAL WIND)? How about digging a geothermal system like the one at Al Gore's Tennessee home? How about making sure the lightbulbs and the windows and the insulation are up to date? Making sure all the appliances are Energy Star-approved? And the habits of use in the White House are appropriately efficient?
Then the new President can make sure the houses of Congress are the same, by issuing an Executive Order for them to switch over to solar and wind and geothermal and be efficiently retrofitted and programmed for habits of efficiency.
The Executive Order can and should cover all federal buildings all over the country, requiring a large-scale shift toward federally-funded New Energy installations and energy efficient-retrofits. It can also cover federal vehicles and require them to be battery-powered and/or biofueled.
What about the talk of a coordinating committee with a White House liaison especially for New Energy? The New Energy industry leaders like the idea.
Rhone Resch, President, Solar Energy Industries Association: "It's absolutely necessary to coordinate the different agencies within the federal government…"
In his campaign platform, President-elect Obama committed to policies to grow New Energy to create millions of new jobs. The New Energy leaders put forward 5 other ideas they said are in line with the Obama plan and needed by their sector from the 111th Congress:
(1) A national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring all U.S. utilities to obtain 10% of their power from New Energy sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025. (Not so coincidentally, this is the exact same RES called for in Obama’s campaign plan.)
(2) A minimum 5-year extension of the federal New Energy production tax credit (PTC) and additional funding for the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) program. (Both would boost private sector investing in New Energy.)
(3) A major investment to renew the interstate electrical transmission grid and install smart-grid capacity so (a) New Energy can be carried from the remote regions where it is generated to population centers, (b) distributed generation from business and home solar, wind and geothermal systems can be integrated into the power supply, (c) the businesses and homes on the grid can use the delivered power intelligently and efficiently, and (d) electricity generated by hydrokinetic energy systems in oceans, lakes and rivers can be transmittted to users.
(4) Invest $30 billion in 2009 (of the $150 billion over 10 years called for in the Obama energy plan) to finance New Energy projects right away, even if the credit crunch is stalling them.
(5) Put through global climate change legislation with a mandatory national cap-and-trade system to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions and incentivize investments by the private sector in New Energy.
Investment in New Energy is one of the best ways to finance economic stimulus because projects are all set to go, awaiting only financing to put people to work building infrastructure. The stimulus money will go directly into the economy and will affect everybody that purchases power.
Over time, stimulus investment in New Energy will also make it possible to replace energy now being purchased abroad by hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars with emissions-free, secure energy generated domestically. And the money will build sustaining infrastructure that will endure and serve for generations.
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Renewable Energy Industries Ready To Lead U.S. Economic Recovery; Trade Association Leaders Outline Key Policies Required
Julie Clendenin, November 13, 2008 (Wind, Solar, Geothermal & Hydropower Associations via American Wind Energy Association)
Clean tech industry drawing up wish list for Obama administration
Matt Nauman, November 12, 2008 (San Jose Mercury News)
President-elect Barack Obama; the 111th Congress; American Wind Energy Association (Randall Swisher, Executive Director); Geothermal Energy Association (Karl Gawell, Executive Director); National Hydropower Association (Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director); Solar Energy Industries Association (Rhone Resch, President)
Leaders of the New Energy industries applauded President-elect Obama’s energy plan, described the economic power of their sector and set out a program of federal action that will allow New Energy to lead the U.S. and worldwide economic recovery.
Congress must pick a climate change bill and make it workable. (click to enlarge)
- New Energy leaders have one item that they want handled in the lame duck Congress convening November 17, a revision of the laws governing the federal tax credits.
- They set out a 6-point program, 1 for the new President after he takes over the Oval Office on January 20, 2009, and 5 for the 111th Congress that will convene the next day.
The plans call for national action. Examples: The RES would apply to all U.S. utilities. The Executive Order would apply to all U.S. federal facilities. Upgrading of transmission and funding of new projects would be nationwide. The cap-and-trade mandatory emissions-trading system would apply to all U.S. power producers and other businesses.
- Immediate action: Adjust the New Energy tax credits passed in the October 3 stimulus package so they can work in an economy in financial crisis with credit stuck.
- 6-point plan:
(1) A national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)
(2) A 5-year extension of the New Energy PTC and added funding for the CREBs
(3) An Executive Order requiring federal installation of New Energy
(4) New transmission
(5) Put $30 billion of the promised $150 investment in New Energy to work in 2009
(6) Climate change legislation including a mandatory national cap-and-trade system
One national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) would simplify and streamline a crazy quilt of standards. (click to enlarge)
- Joint statement: The fast-growing renewable energy sector is poised to help lead the U.S. economic recovery with millions of new jobs and billions of private investment dollars. However, the new Administration and Congress need to take action to ensure that the renewable industries’ growth continues, given the current economic realities.
- Julie Blunden, Vice President, SunPower: "President-elect Obama clearly sees the job growth and economic development opportunities as we transition our energy industry toward solar and other new resources…In my perspective, our country had a real opportunity back 35 years ago with Arab oil embargo. We've been in a coma for 35 years, but it looks like we're finally waking up…"
- Nancy Rader, Executive Director, California Wind Energy Association: "Long-term stability of the production tax credit would be of enormous benefit…It would enable manufacturers to plan and invest in facilities, to buy turbines and blades…Right now, it is taking years to get a land-use application through the process…We need this administration to do for renewables what the Bush administration did for oil and gas."