Spotlight on the House : Now is the Time for Renewable Energy Tax Credits

I spent more than 20 years of my professional career researching and developing renewable energy sources. I can say definitively that we haven't yet begun to realize the benefits that new energy technology development can offer to this country.

Doing so will mean good jobs in the United States. It will also mean an increasingly diversified economy developing energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies, producing products and ideas for the rest of the world.

Estimates are that launching down this path will mean the creation of hundreds of thousands of new, stable, clean energy jobs in our country -- at all levels of the economic ladder.

In my former field, wind energy, 9,000 new jobs have been created in the past 17 months alone. Think about it: that's engineers who decide where to locate new turbines, technicians who erect them, mechanics who maintain them, steelworkers who manufacture them and drivers who transport them from place to place.

And that's just for wind energy. Don't forget about solar, geothermal, tidal, biomass -- and a whole host of other types of new, clean energy that may not have even been discovered yet.

That's why it is so critically important that we continue a series of tax credits to help spur investment in all these new forms of energy. These investment and production tax credits are set to expire at the end of the year, along with more than 100,000 renewable energy sector jobs.

Each day that passes without legislative action means greater potential for job loss, decreased investment and ultimately less domestic production of renewable energy.

The pending expiration and the uncertainty surrounding the extension of the tax credits means that investors will soon walk away from clean energy projects. Due to the significant time between conception and implementation of renewable energy projects, financing for many projects is on hold pending extension of the renewable energy tax credits. What's more, financing for projects currently under construction could also dry up in the coming weeks if it becomes clear that they cannot be completed before the end of the year.

Now, as we face a mounting energy crisis and an uncertain energy future, is not the time to play games with renewing these important tax credits. In fact, if we are serious about addressing the energy crisis we face here in America, I can think of no better investment than to support wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and other new energy forms that continue to become more affordable and available.

After all, renewable energy means not only economic security as we create good jobs while producing increasingly less expensive, clean, domestic power, but environmental and national security, as well.

I was proud to vote for legislation in the House last week that extends these valuable renewable energy tax credits. I encourage all of my colleagues to join me immediately so that, as a nation, we can truly become energy independent.