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Politics Cloud Future for Renewable Energy in U.S.

Latest News > Industry News

October 21 — The failure of the U.S. Congress and President to enact broad-based energy legislation that deals with climate change is putting the future of U.S. renewable energy industries at risk, says a recent article from the Reuters news service.

Business leaders, venture capitalists, environmental groups and government officials agree that political uncertainty is hurting the fledgling renewable energy sector, according to the article.

The U.S. is customarily at the forefront of technological change, but now it is seen as falling behind countries such as China because of the lack of political will and leadership here, the article states.

The outlook after November's elections is likely to be worse, if Republicans gain ground in Congress, as anticipated. Republicans generally have been less supportive of climate change legislation.

A key political argument has revolved around the value or wisdom of incentives for renewable energy. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a climate bill with sizable incentives for renewable energy last year, which included a "cap and trade" system that effectively would have placed a price on producing the carbon that is thought to be the main culprit in climate change.

The bill never made it to the Senate, however. Many Republicans and some Democrats characterize the legislation as effectively creating a new tax that would cost thousands of jobs.

Proponents such as American Businesses for Clean Energy, an organization of some 400 businesses, released a paper saying the failure to enact the bill is costing billions in investment dollars and some 1.9 million jobs.

In a letter to Congress earlier this month, the group said, "We call on Congress to stand with small businesses and our communities, not big polluters, and support EPA's move to regulate greenhouse gas emissions."

Other countries, like China and Germany, have decided in favor of solar development and are getting it, while the U.S. appears to have yet to decide what it wants, the article concludes.

Read the complete Reuters report here.

Read and download the American Businesses for Clean Energy report here.