Lawmakers shouldn’t kick their feet up near the fireplace for the holidays while leaving clean energy workers in the cold. Before they leave for their holiday recess, they need to extend clean energy incentives for America’s wind and solar industries to promote the growth of these vital job creators and accelerate our transition to a clean energy economy.

Solar and wind energy not only create good jobs and stimulate local economic growth, they also help protect our land, air, and water from pollution by replacing the dirtiest fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy. Since the implementation of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) (a key solar incentive up for extension) in 2006, the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 73 percent, upwards of 170,000 solar jobs have been created, and $66 billion has been invested in solar installations nationwide.


Likewise, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a key wind energy incentive also up for extension, has helped the American wind industry attract more than $100 billion in private investment to our economy since 2008. It has been a driving force behind wind’s phenomenal growth, helping create 73,000 jobs and a manufacturing supply chain of more than 500 factories across 43 states.

With inspiring numbers like these, the PTC and ITC have been repeatedly acknowledged as invaluable to the American economy and a boon to clean energy development. Clean energy is now competitive with dirty fossil fuels in many states, enjoys widespread public support, and protects our land, air, water, and climate from dangerous pollution.

Its success, however, is a clear threat to big polluters who have enjoyed taxpayer subsidies for decades and still finding it difficult to stem the tide of clean energy installations in places they’ve historically claimed dominance. The PTC and ITC represent a strong, steady march to a robust clean energy economy, and polluters are now pressuring their allies on Capitol Hill to block that progress. The US is currently leading the race to clean energy innovation, developing technologies that the rest of the world is eager to adopt, and this is no time for Congress to drag its heels or slow our progress.

Congress must ignore the pleas of polluters, and continue to support American clean energy innovation. These clean energy incentives in America’s wind and solar industries have already helped produced hundreds of thousands of good jobs across all 50 states, and, if extended, will create even more in the future. Over the past decade, clean energy has helped us grow our economy, protect our communities from fossil fuel pollution, and ensure America remains an innovation leader in the twenty-first century. It’s time for Congress to take the simple, commonsense step of renewing our clean energy incentives.

Adhar is Sierra Club’s Washington representative for Clean Energy.