America’s Slippery Slope of Support for Renewable Energy

Joanna Schroeder

Our country is quickly sliding down a slippery slope. Not too long ago, we were the leaders in renewable energy – wind, solar, biofuels. Today, not only have the major technological advancements come from overseas, our manufacturing facilities, entrepreneurs and investors are going, or have gone overseas as well.

Where are they going? Brazil. India. China. Why? Because these countries have the winning recipes for success: cohesive energy policy, long-term incentives and private investors. These are the exact three things we do not have in America.

We have other problems. We have states like California, that purport leadership in green policies and renewable energy, who make it nearly impossible to get permits for projects to meet its “green” initiatives.

Yesterday, Martifer Renewables Electricity dropped its plans to build a 107MW hybrid solar-powered biomass plant in California. The reason? After nearly 2 1/ 2 years, they have yet to obtain permits. Another company run out of California due to difficulty in obtaining permits, Blue Fire Ethanol – a next generation bioenergy company.

It may not be too late to head back up the hill but there are some things that must be done. First, we need to move forward on key legislative policies supporting renewable energy. For example, tax credits must be extended for the long-term, not one-to-five years. (BTW – oil has been receiving tax credits for over 100 years.) Our policies, the Renewable Fuels Standard, Farm Bill, any future electricity renewable standards, and climate change policy, etc. must work together for success, not work against each other as they do now.

Second, banks must start lending and private investors need to step up and begin funding projects. Last month, one of the country’s most famous billionaires, Warren Buffet, along with Bill and Melinda Gates publicly encouraged the country’s 400 billionaires to give away $600 billion dollars to charities. Unfortunately, nowhere in this call to action was the need to support renewable energy projects and green jobs right here in America. This oversight is a gross disservice to American citizens who helped them become billionaires.

I am going to make a bold prediction. In terms of biofuels, the next two decades will belong to Brazil. China and India will take ownership of wind, solar, biomass, and other products like biochemicals and plastics.

If you don’t want my predictions to come to fruition, then our country, under the leadership of its citizens, must take action now.

biofuels, biomass, Commentary, Opinion, Solar, Wind