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Solar News

Incentives Continue for Renewables


The American Clean Energy and Security Act

Friday, June 26, the House of Representatives narrowly passed what is generally regarded as landmark legislation directed at curbing greenhouse emissions in the United States, setting the stage for a tough fight in the Senate. The American Clean Energy and Security Act aims to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 through various means.

The bill ties economic recovery and a secure energy future to the creation of green industry. Parts of the bill continue incentives and provide directives for production of renewable energy sources.

An article from earlier in the year highlighted portions of the bills ambitions for renewable energies. "The bill will require 25 percent of electricity generated for retail customers to come from renewable sources by 2025 and reduce global-warming-causing pollution by 83 percent by 2050. Also included is a provision to establish a market-based program for reducing global-warming pollution from electric utilities, oil companies, large industrial sources, and other industries. Other provisions in the draft bill include extending programs for clean fuels, smart grids, and carbon sequestration. Federal and California clean-air and fuel-economy standards and EPA rules would be reconciled. The bill is designed to boost aid to states for clean energy and energy-efficiency projects."

These incentives are making the decisions to buy and invest in solar energy technologies easier and wiser. Furthermore, the cost of producing a kilo-watt hour continues to fall as supplies and production capabilities are increased.

Investments have been up sharply over the past few years report an article on, but the current economic downturn has slowed growth.

"Not surprisingly given market conditions, private sector investment was stalling in late 2008 but government investment looks ready to take up some of the slack in 2009.

"Sustainable energy investments are a core part of key government fiscal stimulus packages announced in recent months, accounting for an estimated $183 billion of commitments to date. With the current stimulus packages now in play, the opportunity to meet this challenge is greater than ever, even seen from the depths of an economic downturn."

President Obama in his weekly radio address talked about the significance of the new legislation for the United States.

"The energy bill that passed the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean-energy transformation in our economy.  It will spur the development of low-carbon sources of energy - everything from wind, solar and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal. 

"It will spur new energy savings, like the efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. And most importantly, it will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs. . .

"The list goes on and on, but the point is this:  this legislation will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. That will lead to the creation of new businesses and entire new industries.  And that will lead to American jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced. I have often talked about the need to build a new foundation for economic growth so that we do not return to the endless cycle of bubble and bust that led us to this recession. Clean energy and the jobs it creates will be absolutely critical to this new foundation." 

There are numerous opponents to the bill and its various aspects. Some argue it is not enough, some argue it will raise costs and taxes, and more argue it doesn't do anything at all. However, certain parts are of no danger to the economic well being of this country and will do something. These particular parts should move forward with great urgency. Renewable energy is the future and we are at the starting line.