First step toward fighting climate change is a simple one
© Getty Images

The “Green New Deal’s” massive expansion of federal bureaucracy, technologically implausible guideposts and a tax to kill the American dream is not the answer to the undeniable threats our world is facing from climate change.

The answer is simple. We must use the readily available tools we have to empower change.

ADVERTISEMENT

We need tax policies to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies by incentivizing entrepreneurs and allowing the energy sector to mirror Silicon Valley’s innovation – fast, disruptive, exciting and good for consumers.

The United States is falling behind China in the global clean energy race as our climate continues to deteriorate. China is now the world’s largest producer, exporter and installer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles. The Chinese are even leading the energy race in underlying technology, with well over 150,000 renewable energy patents, while the U.S. has a little over 100,000 patents.

Here in the U.S., the “newcomer’s tax” for emerging technologies is far too high and stunts the immense benefits to the security and reliability of the power grid they could provide if made available. Existing renewable energies, such as solar and wind, receive up to a 30 percent write off on their investment while emerging technologies receive none – just because the government has not heard of them.

That is not fair.

Innovation is not our enemy. We must give next-generation energy sources an even playing field and allow them to mature and inject more clean and reliable power into the electric grid. Once established and commercialized in the United States, we can then export clean energy technology to countries that continue to rely predominately on fossil fuels – and reduce China’s massive influence around the globe.

I am spearheading legislation to offer a tax incentive for new clean energy technologies which would increase energy on the grid, ensure unneeded energy is not financially rewarded, help cutting-edge technologies break into the market and upend the status quo of federal incentives for existing technologies.

How would it work?

Instead of picking winners and losers in the energy sector, this new tax credit would bolster market-driven innovation across electricity-generating technologies. This means everything from a new power plant which can capture, store or use carbon emissions from fossil fuel generation to facilities using next-generation batteries to store excess power from wind, solar and other renewable sources.

This plan would lead to cleaner power without government mandates or an uncompetitive over-reliance on federal tax credits. 

The current market rewards energy whether it is used or not. My bill ensures incentives apply to the value of energy when sold so we do not reward unwanted power.

The plan ends unlimited, market-distorting extenders for tax incentives and has a built-in ramp down for each technology as it grows. By spurring innovation in the market, we can ensure a clean environment for future generations rather than lining the pockets of established technologies and propping up otherwise uneconomical technologies.

We care about promoting clean energy and addressing the challenges of an evolving environment.

We have always said America needs an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and we agree with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE’s call for U.S. energy dominance and better energy tax policy. Enabling cleaner, more efficient energy technologies to compete in a free market should be the goal of the U.S. government’s approach to energy. After all, it’s not just about the here and now – it’s about our future.

Reed represents New York’s 23rd District and is a member of the Ways and Means Committee.