Tuesday, December 4, 2012

GOP Senator: Boost energy research funding

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 9:23 AM

A boost in federal spending for energy research and development could do a lot to advance clean energy technology and create jobs. And apparently, it's not just Congressional Democrats who think it's a good idea.

The Hill reports that Republican Senator Lamar Alexander wants Congress to double the Department of Energy's research and development funding. Alexander spoke yesterday at a Washington, D.C., event hosted by Securing America's Future Energy, a group of CEO's and retired military leaders that advocates for electrifying transportation and increasing domestic oil and gas production.

But Alexander proposes paying for the increase by stripping electricity production tax credits from wind farms. He said that wind turbines are a mature technology that the government doesn't need to prop up, reports the Hill. Other technologies need the investment more, he said.

I'm not sure how wise it would be to take away tax credits for wind power generation. The American Wind Energy Association says the credits are important to an industry that's nearing self-sufficiency, the Hill reports. And fossil fuels receive their own government subsidies.

If Alexander wants to remove subsidies from a mature technology in order to foster innovation and economic growth, then he should target the fossil fuel industry. That approach would help level the playing field and it'd help usher in cleaner sources of energy.

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