A multitude of leading energy trade associations today wrote to Congressional leaders with a request for Congress to maintain support and funding for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) including the Loan Guarantee Program. The program, in part, is used to help bring emerging alternative energy technologies to market. Groups that signed the letter include the Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Biomass Power Association, the Clean Economy Network (CEN), the Geothermal Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). A hearing on federal loan guarantee programs is scheduled for Thursday, March 31, in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water.
The organizations wrote in their letter, “[W]e write today in support of Federal programs implemented to foster the development and expanded use of domestically-produced clean and renewable energy in the United States. Together, our industries account for over half a million jobs in the United States and counting. Existing federal programs continue to foster growth and allow U.S. businesses to lead a worldwide effort to deploy power plants, manufacturing facilities and fuel production facilities across the country.”
The groups stressed how economically unsustainable America’s dependence on imported energy, especially oil, has become. With oil prices hovering around the $100 per barrel mark, the country sends hundreds of billions of dollars to OPEC members. The groups stressed that support and investment in renewable energy technologies can lessen this dependence while creating jobs. While the organizations recognize budget issues are of utmost concern in Congressional leaders, they still urged members of Congress to take a holistic look at the benefits of America’s renewable energy industry.
“As Congress moves forward with efforts to cut federal spending, it is important to recognize and retain programs that create American jobs, leverage private sector investment and increase tax revenue,” the letter continued. “The DOE Loan Guarantee Program is one of these programs. Eliminating funding for this program will disrupt and delay dozens of projects that are seeking a DOE loan guarantee, and will have very real impacts on job creation and energy security efforts currently underway. We strongly support efforts to prevent funding cuts and preserve the DOE Loan Guarantee Program in its current state.”
The full letter can be read here.