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  • Monday, July 30, 2012


    How To Tap A Trillion Dollars For Renewable Energy Investment

    Jigar Shah, July 23, 2012 (Forbes)

    “Since the late 1970s the U.S. has avoided creating a comprehensive energy policy. Instead, we have…[p]ermanent tax credits for the fossil fuel industry and temporary credits and subsidies for the renewable energy industry…[T]the Production Tax Credit for wind energy…is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless it is renewed for another two-year run…[Solar’s] 30% investment tax credit sunsets at the end of 2016…It has helped jumpstart a $300 billion solar market…President Obama has proposed eliminating eight permanent oil subsidies that the Cato Institute’s Jerry Taylor estimates will save $43 billion over 10 years.

    “…[P]ublic support drives the vagaries…[S]ince the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan in March 2011, support for building more nuclear power plants declined to 42% from 61% in 2008… 76% of Americans support regulating carbon dioxide…[and] two-thirds believe the U.S. should pursue policies to reduce its carbon footprint…[But] without a comprehensive energy plan, plus uncertainty about energy tax credits and subsidies, what signals are we sending to investors? [Yet] in 2010-2011…more renewable energy was installed than new natural gas generators…”

    “Renewable energy is taking off because it is delivering low risk, stable returns…This year renewable energy investment exceeded $40 billion in the United States and $260 billion globally. But we can’t reach our goals of oil independence, renewable electricity, local job creation, and reduced health care expenses caused by fossil fuels unless we can mobilize investors at $1 trillion scale.”

    “The money exists on the sidelines today and politicians should be looking to deliver a stable comprehensive energy plan to tap into these investment dollars. We cannot have an “all of the above” approach to energy without a clear plan…[A plan can lead to] deployment of the hundreds of dormant technologies that we have invented since the 1970s that can be scaled up quickly…[by] unlocking capital flows for good, solid, measured and controlled-risk investments into infrastructure…A comprehensive plan would provide comfort to investors looking to make long-term investments…[Without it], $1 trillion of investment dollars sit[s] on the sidelines, making no impact.”


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