Heinrich: Congress Must Take Energy Innovation Seriously

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Joint Economic Committee Democrats today released a report on the barriers to clean energy innovation that are preventing the U.S. economy from fully capitalizing on clean energy’s economic potential.
Instead of prioritizing energy innovation to position the United States as the global leader, Congressional Republicans often cite federal funding in climate change as government waste, and President Trump’s budget proposes deep cuts to energy innovation programs at the Department of Energy.
The report, “Overcoming Barriers to Clean Energy Innovation,” finds that an uneven playing field with traditional energy sources, incentive problems leading to underinvestment in innovation, lack of access to capital, energy systems that were built for older technologies, fierce international competition, and policy uncertainty are all holding back clean energy in America.
The report details what Congress must do overcome these barriers. Congress can advance clean energy innovation through financing assistance and tax credits that support developing and deploying new technologies. Federal tax credits for solar and wind research and production have helped renewable energy expand at a rapid pace in recent years. Streamlining existing tax credits and expanding them to technologies like energy storage could also spur innovation and deployment of new technology. Further, pricing in carbon through a tax on carbon pollution or an emissions trading system would level the playing field with fossil fuels.
“We have a great opportunity in Congress to spur innovation in the clean energy economy, which not only addresses climate change—but also boosts the overall U.S. economy, creates millions of jobs, and establishes the United States as a global technology leader in clean energy,” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee. “Through legislation like the Clean Energy Act that streamlines tax credits, we can work to dismantle the barriers to clean energy innovation and spur economic growth. Yet, Congressional Republicans and President Trump cast investment in energy research aside and propose slashing vital programs at the Department of Energy. It’s time we take clean energy innovation seriously and work together to support innovators and entrepreneurs that will create good jobs and power the economy of the future.”
This report is the final in a series on the importance of expanding and prioritizing the clean energy economy.
Click here to view the full report.