Obama Green Energy May Lag Growth Pace of Bush Years
Source: Bloomberg (1/26/09)
"Obama's goal to double U.S. renewable-energy by 2012 may take years longer because even fully funded projects take at least three years to develop."
New loans to harness the wind, sun and biodegradable waste will need extra government backing in a deepening recession. Obama's goal to double U.S. renewable-energy by 2012 may take years longer because even fully funded projects take at least three years to develop, said Clayt Tabor, finance director at Midwest Wind Finance, a wind-farm developer in Minneapolis.
Obama, more supportive of clean energy than George W. Bush, may struggle to shift quickly from coal-burning plants that spew global-warming gases. In Bush's last three years, solar and wind production doubled, helped by easier financing and tax breaks that attracted loans from Lehman, now bankrupt, and insurer American International Group Inc., later taken over by the government.
The new president repeated his call to double renewable power capacity in three years during his first weekly radio and video address as president on Jan. 24. He's pressing Congress to pass an $825 billion economic-recovery package with provisions to aid green energy. House Democrats have begun work on the legislation. The bill, devised to avoid the longest and deepest U.S. recession in a quarter-century, includes $20 billion in new tax breaks for green-energy investors, data from the Joint Committee on Taxation show. If approved, they will come on top of $7.7 billion in tax breaks already available. These incentives, part of the October bank rescue, are only offered to investors earning profits.
Under the stimulus bill, eligibility for the $7.7 billion will be broadened to include investors with losses, a growing group in the recession.
The administration wants financial incentives “to leverage $100 billion in private sector clean-energy investments over three years,” a report released with Obama's radio address said. Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to comment. Political analysts said the new president may get Congress to approve the aid.