Industry Executives Tout Job Creation Potential, Urge Congress to Support Renewable Energy

Top executives in the renewable energy sector recently gathered to applaud 2009’s strong renewable energy development but emphasized the need for Congress to swiftly enact key policies to continue accelerated growth across the entire sector in order to add jobs and boost economic growth in 2010.

Executives stressed that if these policies are not enacted, the renewable energy sector could face a downturn in investment and jobs in 2010. Participants in a press conference represented the full scope of the renewables sector, including Denise Bode, CEO, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA); Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director, National Hydropower Association (NHA); Robert Cleaves, President and CEO, Biomass Power Association (BPA); Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA); and Rhone Resch, President and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

The renewable energy leaders called for Congress to pass a strong national renewable energy standard (RES) with clear near- and long- term goals, along with expansion and extension of credit incentives, and comprehensive legislation. These policies will maintain American competitiveness and attract tens of billions of dollars of investment in clean energy production and manufacturing facilities. A new study conducted by Navigant Consulting, Inc. reveals that a 25% by 2025 national RES would result in 274,000 more renewable energy jobs than a no-national RES policy scenario.

“The RES is the best way to provide the certainty that companies need to expand wind manufacturing nationwide,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “The importance of building a strong renewable energy manufacturing base in the U.S. cannot be overstated. The U.S. has a historic opportunity to fortify the clean energy economy but is committing unilateral economic disarmament by not giving itself the policy tools to do so.”

“Policy matters in tapping hydropower’s tremendous growth potential in every state, which will lead to the creation of well-paying, family- supporting jobs,” said Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director, NHA. “We need a strong RES, tax incentives and other support policy if we are to double hydropower’s contribution to America’s energy portfolio.”

“Thousands of jobs in the biomass power industry could be lost if Congress fails to extend the production tax credit for biomass power that recently expired late last year. These tax credits are literally the life-line to many biomass power facilities that provide long-term high paying jobs in rural areas currently facing unemployment levels as high as 15 percent,” said Robert Cleaves, President of the Biomass Power Association. “Congress should support all American sources of renewable energy by renewing the production tax credit for biomass power and passing an aggressive national renewable electricity standard. Policies that promote the growth of America’s renewable energy sector will move the United States closer towards energy independence, create thousands of long-term clean energy jobs, and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy.”

“The United States has been the world leader in geothermal energy production and in the past years our industry has seen renewed growth, even despite the recession. This is a testament to the support of federal and state policies and highlights the potential for our country to continue to lead the world in geothermal production and technology,” said Karl Gawell, Executive Director, GEA. “This year Congress enacted stimulus legislation with a historic group of incentives supporting geothermal and other renewable technologies. Now in its 2011 budget, the Administration proposed additional measures, including ramping up incentives for the domestic manufacturing capacity needed to supply a growing geothermal power industry. The keys to sustain this growth will be adopting longer- term measures to support an increase in both new projects and the manufacturing and supply infrastructure. That means extending the stimulus bill’s tax incentives through 2016, adopting a strong renewable electricity standard, and other measures to keep the U.S. a leader in geothermal energy.”

“One of the fastest ways to create jobs in America is to invest in clean energy,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “These are quality jobs and they can’t be outsourced. From plumbers to electricians to construction workers, the solar industry created nearly 20,000 jobs last year with the support of the stimulus bill. We proved that we can create much-needed job growth now with the right policies in place. But we can only keep up that momentum if Congress enacts a jobs bill that promotes deployment of solar and other clean energy technologies.”

Source: Clean Edge News

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