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Renewable Energy’s $16 billion weekend

This weekend’s news: “The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday passed a Democratic rewrite of U.S. energy policy that strips $16 billion in tax incentives away from Big Oil and puts it toward renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.”

In a time when it’s standard to see overall clean tech and renewable energy funding or incentives barely put a dent into what’s going into fossil fuels, it’s a big moment when $16 billion is in the same sentence as renewable energy. David Roberts at Grist talked yesterday morning about the need for a national renewable energy standard, highlighting a new 150-page report, “Renewing America: The Case for Federal Leadership on a National RES.” I’m curious what David and the report’s authors think about yesterday evening’s news.

Many states have enforced similar measures but we’ve yet to see big action at a federal level. Reuters sums up how the skeptics feel… House Republican leader John Boehner said the bill “cuts the lifeblood of our economy off at the knees by increasing taxes to pay for green pork projects.” Green pork?

Clean tech, clean energy and whatever else you call them are new industries that need new infrastructure and new innovation. Aside from the often talked about reduced reliance on fossil fuels and global warming benefits of cleaner energy, what gets me excited about this “green pork” are the jobs already being created around the country. The same people talking about green pork are raising red flags about losing U.S. jobs and our ability to compete in a global market. The same way Silicon Valley become a global hub for technology innovation (and helped boost Calif. to become the world’s sixth largest economy), clean energy can do it again for the U.S. It’s a nice goal, right?

Century-old incentives and subsidies are what got fossil fuels to where they are today. Let’s not forget that when we try to compare the real cost of our energy. Those coal plants have had some help along the way (understatement).

How a bill like this could impact the clean tech industry is a good topic for a policy communications expert like Sean Garrett at 463 Communications. Maybe he’ll have something to add…

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August 5, 2007 Posted by | clean energy, environment, global warming, policy | 4 Comments