Monday, April 09, 2012

Rep. Markey Urges Republicans To Support Renewable Energy

Apr 6: Following the release of a report by the Department of Energy that shows a renewable energy incentive program created tens of thousands of jobs, Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) challenged House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other Republicans to support the development of American clean energy and end unnecessary tax subsidies for the biggest oil companies. Markey said that Speaker Boehner and his colleagues recently questioned the effectiveness of the program, and Congressional Republicans have repeatedly attacked the jobs potential from America's clean energy entrepreneurs.
    The report, Preliminary Analysis of the Jobs and Economic Impacts of Renewable Energy Projects Supported by the §1603 Treasury Grant Program, was conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and analyzed the impact of the Section 1603 Renewable Energy Grant Program. According to the report, through November 10, 2011, the §1603 grant program has provided approximately $9.0 billion in funds to over 23,000 PV and large wind projects, comprising 13.5 GW of electric generating capacity. This represents roughly 50% of total non-hydropower renewable capacity additions in 2009–2011. Total investment in these projects, which includes capital investments from all private, regional, state, and federal sources (including §1603 funds), is estimated to exceed $30 billion. These PV and large wind projects account for approximately 94% of the total generation capacity of projects funded under the §1603 program and represent 92% of total payments. The estimated gross jobs, earnings, and economic output supported by the PV and large wind projects that received §1603 funds are summarized below and in Table ES-1:
  • Construction- and installation-related expenditures are estimated to have supported an average of 52,000–75,000 direct and indirect jobs per year over the program's operational period (2009–20115). This represents a total of 150,000– 220,000 job-years. These expenditures are also estimated to have supported $9 billion–$14 billion in total earnings and $26 billion–$44 billion in economic output over this period. This represents an average of $3.2 billion–$4.9 billion per year in total earnings and $9 billion–$15 billion per year in output.
  • Indirect jobs, or jobs in the manufacturing and associated supply-chain sectors, account for a significantly larger share of the estimated jobs (43,000–66,000 jobs per year) than those directly supporting the design, development, and construction/installation of systems (9,400 per year).
  • The annual operation and maintenance (O&M) of these PV and wind systems are estimated to support between 5,100 and 5,500 direct and indirect jobs per year on an ongoing basis over the 20- to 30-year estimated life of the systems. Similar to the construction phase, the number of jobs directly supporting the O&M of the systems is significantly less than the number of jobs supporting manufacturing and associated supply chains (910 and 4,200–4,600 jobs per year, respectively).
    In his letter to Speaker John Boehner and Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Representative Markey asked the Republicans to stop their attacks on clean energy programs, and to not raise taxes on the wind industry at the end of this year. He said, "Republicans have prevented the extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind energy, which actually supports putting electricity on the grid, creating new jobs." The energy-producing incentive is set to expire at the end of 2012.
    Representative Markey said, "Supporting American clean energy businesses puts power in our homes and will make America an energy and manufacturing powerhouse for decades to come. Many Republicans in Congress have been vocal supporters for continuing wasteful oil company subsidies, while at the same time pushing to raise taxes on wind energy. If that were to happen, upwards of 37,000 clean energy jobs would be eliminated around the country."
    Markey cited one example of "unnecessary oil company subsidies protected by Republicans" is the deduction for "geological and geophysical expenditures", which he said is the most recent tax subsidy that was given to the oil and gas industry in 2005 by a Republican Congress and President George W. Bush. Markey said, "This subsidy allows companies to deduct the costs associated with searching for oil over two years rather than seven years, which costs U.S. taxpayers $1.4 billion over 10 years."
    He also pointed to other subsidies for the oil and gas industry -- like the deduction for "intangible drilling costs" -- are far more costly and have been around far longer. That tax break, which was instituted back in 1916, allows oil companies to write off certain costs immediately rather than over the life of the asset, as is customary for most companies. He said, "Since 1968, it has cost U.S. taxpayer $78 billion." 
    Access the release from Rep. Markey and link to the complete letter and related information (click here). Access the complete NREL report (click here). [#Energy/Renewables, #Energy/OilGas]