"Renewable energy needs help. Technological innovation has significantly reduced the cost of solar panels, wind turbines and other equipment, but renewable energy still needs serious subsidies to compete with conventional energy. Today, help comes mostly in the form of federal tax breaks.
These tax incentives, and the Congressional battle over extending them for wind projects beyond the end of this year, mean that other, more powerful policies to promote renewables are not getting the attention they deserve. If renewable energy is going to become fully competitive and a significant source of energy in the
, then further technological innovation must be accompanied by financial innovation so that clean energy sources gain access to the same low-cost capital that traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas enjoy. United States
There are better options. They may sound wonky, but they could prove revolutionary. (…)
These approaches could help renewable energy projects reduce their financing costs up to fivefold. These cost improvements could significantly reduce the price of renewable electricity and, over time, erase the need for costlier subsidies.
Renewable energy has come a long way since the 1970s energy crisis but much work remains. We must complement continued technological innovation with critical financial innovation — to level the playing field, incentivize growth, reduce subsidies and democratizeFederal support for renewable energy today consists primarily of two tax breaks: tax credits and accelerated depreciation rates. But both tools have a very limited reach. (…)
’s energy future." America