Rep. Bartlett hits House on renewables — and I don’t mean Gregory House

I love House. Not the House of Representatives, but the TV show.

Seems like everybody loves to see people with seemingly inexplicable symptoms saved from sure death. No doubt that explains the fascination with the Lieberman-Warner Bill. But people — I’ve been trying to be gentle about this — it’s dead. Sure, like Amber on the season finale — [Spoiler Alert] — L-W can be briefly revived so we can say goodbye to it forever, but that is really just a soap opera gimmick. And she died anyway.

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We don’t need to say goodbye to L-W, we need to focus all our effort on those important bills that are still clinging to life, bills that haven’t already signed a contract to appear on another TV show next season — like the investment tax credit that is crucial to keeping the momentum going on core technologies that can avert catastrophic climate change (see Barlett op-ed here and PG&E op-ed here). To L-W supporters, I can only offer this eulogy:

L-W has passed on! It is no more! It has ceased to be! L-W’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, It rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT piece of so-so climate legislation that in any case would not have averted catastrophe!

Okay, that wasn’t really a eulogy. But the point is, the wind and solar tax credits must be saved. As Bartlett (R!-MD) wrote:

Maintaining consistent federal incentives for renewable energy policy will free up American businesses and workers to do what they do better than anyone in the world: innovate. That will result in American rather than German, Japanese or Chinese ownership of intellectual property and emissions-free electricity. More domestic production of energy will also reduce reliance upon foreign energy sources. House members could compromise and support H.R. 5984, which has already been approved 88–8 by the Senate. Shouldn’t that be a no-brainer?

As PG&E’s Chairman, CEO and President wrote:

Failure by Congress to renew the credits could cost the United States more than 100,000 jobs and billions of dollars annually in new investments. These losses would be felt across the country, in states such as California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington….The expiration of production tax credits in 2004, for example, caused a 77 percent drop in installed wind capacity that year relative to 2003. Last year, with credits in place, the wind industry enjoyed its best year ever. Developers installed more than 5,000 megawatts of new generating capacity, more than twice the previous record.But the Washington Post reports that bankers are now telling solar companies to hold off on new projects that won’t be completed this year, due to uncertainty over the fate of tax credits. More than 20,000 solar-related jobs in California alone are at risk, according to industry studies.

The tremendous spurt of innovation and development we have seen in the renewable energy sector could be squelched just when the national economy, buffeted by the housing collapse and record oil prices, needs all the support it can get.

So let’s stop trying to save the dead parrot and focus on the damn tax credits. Where is the Gregory House of the U.S. House?