The Honorable Mitch McConnell
The Honorable Chuck Schumer
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
U.S. House of Representatives
Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Leaders Schumer and McCarthy:
Thank you for your strong leadership to enact legislation to address the devastating health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The imperative actions taken by this Congress will substantially help businesses of all sizes—including those in the clean energy sector – which Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) prioritizes.
As Congress shifts to consider additional measures to stabilize the economy, secure jobs, and stimulate growth, CRES recommends a principled approach that makes fiscally responsible investments in clean energy infrastructure and reduces barriers to executing and completing clean energy projects.
Attention to the clean energy sector is worthy of your consideration. In 2019, the clean energy sector employed more than 6.8 million Americans in the natural gas, solar, wind, nuclear, energy storage, transportation electrification, and energy efficiency sectors. These are jobs of every skill level and in every state. As you may know, renewable energy jobs were among the fastest growing over the past decade and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics would continue with similar growth in the next decade.
Specifically, CRES calls on Congress to pass S. 2302, the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) and S. 2657, the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), as part of any future stimulus package. Both bills are fiscally responsible, have been well-vetted by relevant committees, and have broad bipartisan support and therefore should be considered as part of efforts to preserve and stimulate American jobs. ATIA will streamline project delivery and federal approval of infrastructure projects, reduce carbon emissions, support carbon capture, utilization and sequestration projects, and provide funding to build and protect sustainable infrastructure. AEIA will modernize our domestic energy laws, thereby reducing barriers to ensure the United States remains a global energy leader while also strengthening national security, increasing our international competitiveness, and investing in clean energy technologies that protect human health and the global environment.
Specific provisions of interest in S. 2302 and S. 2657 include:
- The BEST Storage Act, which would deploy energy storage technologies, including grid storage;
- The USE IT Act and the LEADING Act, which would accelerate deployment of commercially viable carbon capture technologies;
- The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act to advance nuclear energy development;
- The RIVER ACT to provide incentives for hydropower capital improvements;
- Expedited environmental reviews for certain highway transportation projects;
- The ‘PROTECT’ Grants Program to reinforce, upgrade or realign existing transportation infrastructure to better withstand extreme weather events and natural disasters; and
- Authorizes grant programs in ATIA to reduce carbon emissions by supporting state projects that lower highway-related emissions, build hydrogen, natural gas and electric vehicle fueling infrastructure, as well as programs to reduce truck idling at our nation’s ports.
Because the spread of COVID-19 has impacted the global supply chain and stifled the construction of energy projects, significant economic instability and job loss in the clean energy sector continue to grow. Provisions that preserve and expand clean energy jobs will not only have beneficial effects across the economy, but they will also improve public health, reduce pollution, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, CRES respectfully requests that Congress include the following provisions in any future stimulus legislation to revive short-term investment and provide certainty in the marketplace:
- Extend the continuity safe harbor provisions for clean energy projects that are required to provide commercial-operation-date (COD) in 2020 or 2021 to ensure these projects meet their contractual agreements due to the disruption of the supply chain;
- Authorize tax mechanisms such as transferability, direct payment, or refundability due to the scarcity in the tax equity market;
- Modify the ITC to include nascent technologies, specifically stand-alone energy storage and offshore wind;
- Extend the carbon capture utilization and sequestration credit; and,
- Extend the energy efficiency credit for residential property, new homes, nonbusiness energy property and commercial buildings.
An all-of-the-above approach to energy is the principal reason the U.S. has been able to grow the economy and reduce carbon emissions more than any other country over the past decade. CRES believes that these recommendations will help secure critical jobs, promote future economic growth, and continue efforts to reduce emissions at the lowest cost to the American taxpayer.
Thank you for your leadership on these critical issues. My team and I look forward to working with you.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Senate Finance Committee
House Energy and Commerce Committee
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
House Ways and Means Committee