The leading trade associations for the development of America’s renewable energy industries wrote to Congressional leaders urging Congress to maintain support and funding for critical loan guarantee programs at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) designed to commercialize a wide range of renewable energy technologies. Those groups signing the letter include the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Biomass Power Association, the Clean Economy Network (CEN), the Geothermal Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
A hearing on federal loan guarantee programs is scheduled for Thursday, March 31, in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water.
“[W]e write today in support of Federal programs implemented to foster the development and expanded use of domestically-produced clean and renewable energy in the United States,” the groups wrote. “Together, our industries account for over half a million jobs in the United States and counting. Existing federal programs continue to foster growth and allow U.S. businesses to lead a worldwide effort to deploy power plants, manufacturing facilities and fuel production facilities across the country.”
The groups noted the economically unsustainable dependence America has on imported energy and especially oil. With oil prices again spiking above $100 per barrel, the U.S. is sending hundreds of billions of dollars to members of OPEC. Continued support of and investment in renewable energy technologies can lessen that dependence and create domestic jobs and economic activity.
“Deployment of next-generation manufacturing and energy production technologies will help address the immediate and pressing need to reduce our nation’s dependence on imported oil and ensure our global edge in developing clean energy technologies,” the groups emphasized. “With crude oil prices again near $100 a barrel and political unrest continuing in oil producing regions of the world, now is not the time to eliminate funding for programs designed to increase our energy security and create jobs here at home.”
The groups acknowledge that fiscal concerns dominate Congressional discussions, but urged members of Congress to a holistic look at the jobs and economic activity that is associated with developing America’s renewable energy economy.
“As Congress moves forward with efforts to cut federal spending, it is important to recognize and retain programs that create American jobs, leverage private sector investment and increase tax revenue. The DOE Loan Guarantee Program is one of these programs. Eliminating funding for this program will disrupt and delay dozens of projects that are seeking a DOE loan guarantee, and will have very real impacts on job creation and energy security efforts currently underway. We strongly support efforts to prevent funding cuts and preserve the DOE Loan Guarantee Program in its current state.”
The full letter can be read here.