Incentives for Smart Development

Solar system in Colorado
Dave Parsons, NREL
Transitioning our economy toward more sustainable energy sources requires consistent investment in renewable energy technologies.

Financial incentives for renewable energy are essential to realizing a cleaner and more efficient energy future. Incentives for low impact solutions, including energy efficiency and brownfield redevelopment, can help take the pressure off our wild places.

The United States has historically used financial incentives to encourage progress and innovation through technology. Clean energy incentive programs help level the playing field with oil, natural gas and coal, and provide companies with greater financial certainty to make smart long-term decisions.

Clean energy incentives

Financial tools must be consistent to spur investments in clean energy that can lead to reduced global warming pollution. Start-and-stop incentives not only stall progress toward putting renewable energy on an equal footing with fossil fuels; they can also lead to rushed permitting processes that fail to address environmental impacts of renewable energy projects.

Recycling contaminated lands

Lands already disturbed by human use—like brownfields—can make some of the best sites for renewable energy development. These degraded lands have low ecological value and are usually wired for electrical transmission. With nearly half a million sites inventoried, they are unlikely to be cleaned up without some incentive. Renewable energy developers and utilities should be encouraged to choose these sites for their projects.

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