Clean energy tax incentives have chance of resurrection

If reauthorized, the Production Tax Credit could provide 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour of produced wind energy.

Photo by Joshua Winchell, USFWS

April 3rd is an important day for clean energy –  the date a congressional committee will consider reinstating a host of wind and solar tax incentives that have lapsed. Losing these incentives could be bad news for the growing wind and solar power industries that America needs as we work to fight climate change.

Tax incentives for energy development have a long history in the United States. Oil, gas and coal have seen help from tax payers for over a century. Those tax credits for fossil fuels are still around today, even as we transition to a clean energy future. Clean energy should stand on equal footing with old energy sources and tax incentives are a solid way to create that balance.

The Senate Finance Committee has a real chance to make a statement that clean energy is a priority for the country.

Already more than 50 projects have been approved by the Obama Administration since 2009, so keeping the tax incentives alive and well is critical to keeping this momentum going.  The industry hit a speed bump late last year when the tax credits expired.

As we see solar and wind energy being sited on public lands throughout the West, making sure that the industry has the support it needs to be successful is vital. Adequate funding and financial stability will help ensure companies are funding the research and evaluations needed to ensure they are smart in their development—avoiding sensitive wildlands and finding the most appropriate places for their projects.

The clean energy tax credits set to be debated in the Finance Committee are a big part of the support needed and we hope that Chairman Wyden and the rest of the committee support them and help pass them into law.