The new year is right around the corner and with it comes a new Congress. The political climate changed after the midterm elections, and Americans are demanding that the unemployment crisis be solved now. This new focus could have a negative effect on clean energy investments. The Center for American Progress has released a new report, Cutting the Cost of Clean Energy 1.0, that examines how clean energy investments in 2011 can help solve the unemployment crisis.

In addition to the high unemployment rates, there are other factors that could have a negative impact on clean energy investments when the 112th Congress begins: the price of gasoline is lower now than it was when members of the current Congress took office, natural gas prices have dropped significantly and the demand for electricity has decreased as consumers and business owners try to reduce monthly expenses.

The Center for American Progress report makes three main recommendations to induce private-sector clean energy investments in the coming year:

  • Provide low-cost financing options to the private sector, perhaps by establishing an Energy Independence Trust
  • Create regulatory reform that will increase the demand for clean energy and energy efficiency, which will in turn create new jobs
  • Expand the development of local and regional infrastructure to support clean energy
Although there is uncertainty about the possibility that clean energy legislation will be passed by Congress, the report looks to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as proof that important legislation can be passed in a bipartisan atmosphere.
“We begin our analysis with a look at how telecommunications reform in the 1990s can offer a model that Congress that can emulate today for clean energy reform — a model built on the three pillars of private sector-led investment presented above, and one than can address a broader range of strategic concerns for legislation.” Source: Center for American Progress (PDF)

The report goes on to provide more in-depth information about how these three proposals can help boost the nation’s growing green economy while creating much needed jobs. Learn more about the recommendations by downloading the report in its entirety: Cutting the Cost of Clean Energy 1.0 (PDF).

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