After several unsuccessful attempts in recent years to pass a renewable energy standard (RES), Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is resuscitating efforts that many assumed were dead in an election year.
The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012, introduced today by Bingaman, amends the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act to include a federal clean energy standard (CES).
The legislation – co-sponsored by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Mark Udall, D-Colo.; Al Franken; D-Minn.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; John Kerry, D-Mass.; Shelton Whitehouse, D-R.I.; and Tom Udall, D-N.M. – is designed to encourage zero- and low-emissions energy development and innovation across the country.
You don’t need a solar-powered crystal ball to know what these huge tariffs would mean for the industry. China would retaliate against American-made solar products. Prices would rise on solar components of all kinds, whether manufactured in the U.S., China or other countries. Sales of solar energy systems would decline. Businesses would downsize. Workers would lose their jobs.
Why would new tariffs mean less growth? Because the solar industry relies on steadily falling prices. With the price of solar energy falling by about 30 percent over the past year, the U.S. solar industry added some 7,000 new jobs, for a total of more than 100,000 employees. That’s a growth rate of about 6.8 percent — almost 10 times as much as the meager 0.7 percent employment growth rate in the entire economy. Over the year ahead, the solar industry is expected to add another 24,000 jobs.
Chattanooga Airport’s new energy-efficient, 9,000-square-foot corporate flight center terminal facility, which was recently awarded LEED Platinum certification, making it the first aviation terminal in the world to achieve this level of certification. The airport recently completed the first phase of a 3 MW solar power project, installing a 1 MW array to help power airport operations, and the terminal facility continues that build out with almost 4,000 more solar panels, installed just south of the terminal.