Since they were enacted in 1981, the tax credits that provide incentive for the development of solar and other renewable energy technology have been allowed to expire by congress 13 times. If no action is taken between now and December 31st, that number will be at fourteen.
In 2005 the tax credits accounted for roughly $6.6 billion paid out to 17,700 corporations according to an Ernst and Young LLP report. that figure represented approximately 70% of the wages paid to scientists and engineers in the field.
Navigant Consulting estimates that the projected $26.6 billion in investment in solar and wind energy to be made in 2009 will be reduced to $7 billion if the tax credit is not renewed. Currently, House Republicans are have blocked efforts to extend these and other tax credits to protest added taxes in other areas and cuts in programs according to a recent AP report.
When congress allowed the credits to expire in 2000, 2002 and 2004 wind capacity installation fell 93%, 73% and 77% respectively the following year.
“These companies are shutting down projects, firing people and it’s Congress’s fault,” said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
I can’t help but to look at this situation and see the futility of holding our future hostage in a political battle year after year. It doesn’t seem to me like we have time to let politics get in the way of preservation and there needs to come a time when our future as a society needs to come above the bickering of our elected officials.