America Needs to Catch Up on Alternative Energy

Note: This is a guest post from Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program.

The question of whether to invest in innovation in the laboratory or to deploy new technologies in the field is too narrowly drawn and presents a false choice. We should do both.

The federal government has an important role in setting long-term goals to accelerate the transition to advanced energy technologies that serve our interrelated economic, security and environmental objectives. Yet Congress has failed to pass an energy bill since 2007. A national policy should encourage a transformed system deploying domestically available power resources that are cleaner, more reliable, more affordable and promote domestic job creation and prosperity.

While much smaller than conventional energy subsidies, the production tax credit for wind has been used over the past decade in the emerging clean energy industry. Letting this clean energy tax credit expire would be unfair and unwise, especially while maintaining the tax credits for oil, gas and nuclear power.

What’s more, the production tax credit is working. It spurs deployment of clean, cost-competitive wind energy. It injects choice into the electricity sector. It provides tens of thousands of jobs. And it positions the United States to compete in one of the growth industries of the 21st century. Uncertainty surrounding the future of this important tax credit, however, is shaking the confidence of potential investors and keeping private capital on the sidelines. Indeed, as we approach the end of 2012, there are few orders for new wind turbines for the coming year, manufacturing lines are sitting idle and workers are receiving end-of-year pink slips.

Policymakers should continue and expand U.S. investments that will provide American businesses and consumers with cheaper, cleaner power. Technological advancements have produced hydraulic fracturing, solar photovoltaic panels and energy storage. National laboratories are working more closely than ever with inventors, entrepreneurs and industry to speed the development of new technologies and to drive down costs. Manufacturers are eager for innovation, because it keeps engineers and jobs in the United States.

Congress should establish a long-term policy that sets national goals for clean energy deployment to create certainty, thereby sending a positive market signal to investors, spurring job growth and strengthening our global competitiveness.

The United States must seize the opportunity to be the world’s leader in the rapidly expanding clean energy sector for our economic, environmental, and security future.


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Larry Lorusso
Larry Lorusso5 years ago

There is a system for carbon capture and storage...It's called trees and have been around from millions of years. Sop cutting them down for industrial wind. Turbines take 2 years of operation to negate the carbon used to make them and that's not counting shipping and all the trees cut to make roads and place the turbine. That if nothing goes wrong like leaking nacelles as they contain lots of oil.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 years ago

I am sorry--but BIG BUSINESS including BIG FOSSIL FUEL firms OWN the United States, lock, stock, and barrel. Our best short at saving agriculture from global warming is most likely to BUY enough sustainable energy equipment to replace fossil fuel over the expected service life of the equipment and barter that equipment for fossil fuel reserves--thus handing the sustainable energy industry to the current members of the fossil fuel industry on a silver platter. Not nice, but VERY MUCH A LESSER EVIL than losing agriculture to global warming--causing the world to enter a new dark age with no civilization and with maybe ten per cent of current world population. We also NEED to CAPTURE AND STORE CARBON--hoping for a miraculous feat of engineering to turn the captured carbon into sustainable energy equipment that can be bartered to fossil fuel firms--all at taxpayer expense.

Lynda Duke
Lynda Duke5 years ago

After a little modification on the sentence, this is now the bottom line of what should happen in our country as far as clean energy is concerned.

The United States must seize the opportunity to rapidly expand the clean energy sector for our economic, environmental, and security future.

Hayley C.
Hayley C5 years ago


Avril Lomas
Avril Lomas5 years ago

FAT CHANCE! As long as the lobbyists for oil,coal etc. keep stuffing "our" legislators pockets with thousands of dollars it Ain,t going to happen.
and as long as there are a bunch of low I.Q. idiots on both house,s.(Imhoff and Co.)who deny science I repeat. Fat Chance. The Ocean could rise to the level of their necks they will still deny climate change.and I have news for Pamela H. "Greatest Country in the World"
NO LONGER(if ever. .) Broaden your vision of the planet, read etc. and you will find that the USA. has yet to join civilisation.TOO BAD.

Edgar Zuim
Edgar Zuim5 years ago

It is a valid alternative. In fact, all renewable energy, especially clean, is welcome.

Spirit Spider
Spirit Spider5 years ago

Nice advertising but I prefer solar

Sheila Stevens
Sheila S5 years ago

Although I am for reduction of dependence of fossil fuels, this article (and especially the video) is really a little more than a commercial.