Quill Robinson is the vice president of government affairs at the American Conservation Coalition (ACC).
This op-ed was originally published by The Hill on August 10, 2021. Click here to read the entire piece.
Now that the Senate has passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill — with critical programmatic direction and eagle-eyed investments in clean energy technologies research, development, and demonstrations (RD&D) — what’s next? Obviously House action, but policymakers should focus next on policies that bring these cutting-edge clean technologies to scale. Pulling these exciting demonstrations through to commercialization can create good-paying jobs, bolster American competitiveness and rapidly reduce emissions.
The best way to do that is to embolden the private sector with a true market signal. And with the bipartisan, now bicameral Energy Sector Innovation Credit Act (ESIC), Congress is poised to establish a really big one. ESIC was recently introduced by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) from the Senate Committee on Finance and Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) from the House Committee on Ways and Means, and it could be one of the most important climate policies ever.
This novel proposal is different from the energy tax incentives of yesterday, specifically tailored to bring a range of novel clean energy technologies to their commercial scale-up and deployment. This is an essential piece of the climate action puzzle, particularly given that the International Energy Agency recently warned that nearly half of emissions reductions needed to hit net-zero by 2050 will likely come from technologies currently at the demonstration or prototype phase.
In other words, achieving global emissions reduction targets will require scaling and deploying numerous clean energy technologies which are not yet available, or even built. Major U.S. companies are making net-zero commitments by 2050, yet most don’t know exactly how they’ll get there. Most analyses show they will have to rely on next-generation technologies to achieve their goals affordably. Through targeted incentives, ESIC creates an environment in which breakthrough technologies can break into the market.
Click here to read the full article