Both political conventions included a lot of talk about energy policy. Despite significant differences on issues like fossil fuels and nuclear energy, both candidates have been heavily pushing for renewable energy sources.
So why is this news story falling through the cracks? Since the early 1990s, Congress has granted tax credits to the renewable energy projects of both individuals and businesses, refunding 30 percent of expenses. In the last decade or so, this program has been renewed on a yearly basis, but this year Congress—mired in the political slog of an election year—is set to possibly let it expire, as described in this CNN article.
This could be a huge blow to renewable energy projects as the economic incentive to build them dries up. Already, the one-year renewal increments have had an effect on long-term investment in large projects:
“People putting solar panels on their roof usually are able to take advantage of the tax credit because they should be able to have the panels up and running in less than a year But finding someone to pony up the money to build a massive utility-sized solar project – which can take three to six years to build – is a lot harder if the long-term availability of the tax credit is uncertain.”
And it may affect the supply of domestic green-collar jobs (another thing that candidates all agree they want):
“Solar panels are heavy and expensive to ship, so in many cases in makes sense to build them in the country where they will be used. But if the market in this country is uncertain, it makes it likely the companies that make solar panels will build their factories somewhere else.”
The news in the last couple weeks has detailed more renewableenergyprojectsthan I cancount, many of them racing to get them in before the tax credit deadline. As the CNN article suggests, “lawmakers from both sides of the aisle want the nation to move away from fossil fuels and become more energy independent.” But with the credits set to expire soon, we may be missing out.