March 5, 2010
The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner
Secretary of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
Dear Secretary Geithner:
The purpose of my letter is to voice concern about the letter dated March 2, 2010 from Senators Schumer, Casey, Brown and Tester regarding the Section 1603 cash grants for qualifying renewable energy projects in the United States.
The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), a Washington DC-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with 750 organizational members in all fields of renewable energy, respectfully objects to the Senator SchumersâEUR(TM) proposed solution but fully endorses the underlying intent of the SenatorâEUR(TM)s proposal.
Senator Schumer is absolutely correct in expressing âEURoeWe are deeply concerned that the United States is falling behind our trading partners in wind and other clean energy investment.âEUR But then he goes on to say that the solution is to shut down the U.S. market! This would be a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
We submit that the very reason the United States is falling behind the rest of the world is because the Congress has created on-again, off-again public policy regarding renewable energy. The Congress did this for years with a two-year sunset on the wind power Production Tax Credit and the solar energy Investment Tax Credit. Congress has provided short-term public policy to a market that requires long-term, stable policy. And now, here is the Congress suggesting that we do it again!
The problem is not sourcing renewable energy equipment in China. After all, U.S. companies like General Electric, First Solar, and Sunpower all manufacture in Asia. The problem is that the United States has not given them sufficient reason to build their factories here, in the context of a globally competitive market in which other governments are ahead of the U.S. on renewable energy commitments and policy.
We urge you to decline the request in Senator SchumerâEUR(TM)s letter, and do all things necessary to maintain the commitment in the Stimulus Package to renewable energy markets, companies and jobs, by maintaining the stability of the Section 1603 Cash Grants program.
We urge you to join us in applauding Senator SchumerâEUR(TM)s drawing of attention to the matter.
We urge Senator Schumer to maintain the underlying intent of his action, but to change his strategy to one that will be a positive force on the market.
The solution is to build a viable industry as fast as possible here. To do this, we recommend five actions:
- Lift the budgetary ceiling on Section 48C manufacturing tax credits;
- Extend the end-dates of Stimulus provisions;
- Pass the National Renewable Energy Standard at meaningful levels like 20% by 2020;
- Give the FERC sufficient powers to build out modern energy infrastructure;
- Create the CEDA/Green Bank for long-term scale-up of renewable energy financing to the levels of $30 billion - $50 Billion per year, levels that will be needed to reach those goals.
These five actions will create millions of good jobs in the United States. Taken together, these actions will comprise a coherent national strategy of internally consistent and mutually-reinforcing initiatives that will lead to economic prosperity and success for all Americans while acting to address climate change, environmental protection, and national security.
Michael T. Eckhart
Cc: Senator Charles E. Schumer
Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Jon Tester