AWEA/SEIA letter to Congress outlining COVID-19 impacts

Press Release

Mar 19 2020


Actions Congress can take to protect U.S. jobs and renewable energy growth

Dear Members of Congress,

We want to emphasize the critical role our job-creating industries play in the American economy and to tell you about the effects COVID-19 is having on our workers and our businesses.

First and foremost, COVID-19 is a human health crisis and we are grateful that Congress is making paid sick leave and family care provisions available to American workers, including wind and solar workers. We think broad policies like this can be helpful in supporting families and small and medium-sized businesses of all kinds. The sooner everybody gets healthy, the faster our economy recovers.

Wind and solar are the central pillars of the clean grid of the future. The wind and solar industries are among the fastest growing industries in our country and are also among the fastest ways to reduce carbon emissions. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis is putting our economic momentum at risk. To avoid catastrophic job loss and keep our investments active, the solar and wind industries need to know that the policies previously provided by Congress remain available and usable despite delays in our schedules caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

The wind and solar industries are being harmed by delivery delays, necessary employee absences, serious financing concerns, and project cancellations or postponements. This is jeopardizing the jobs of our combined 364,000 workers, threatening to sidetrack tens of billions of dollars in investment.

As our first priority, our two industries are focusing on direct impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.   In that spirit, we are jointly asking for policies that can sustain our member companies’ ability to operate and keep planned investment and job-generating deployment on track in the face of this crisis and realize the benefits that Congress has already created for the wind and solar industries.  While we may differ in our prioritization of these proposals, we are in strong agreement that these actions will allow our companies to effectively utilize the policies that Congress has already approved to facilitate wind and solar deployment. First, an extension of wind and solar commence construction and safe harbor provisions would support the recovery of our two industries and minimize problems created by COVID-19. Additionally, the ability to receive direct payments for or refundability of our tax credits would keep our current pipeline of projects moving forward.

As Congress looks for ways to further revitalize the U.S. economy, the wind and solar industries can play important roles. More specifically, extensions to the investment tax credit and production tax credit and the addition of storage to the ITC would allow our member companies to hire thousands of additional workers and inject billions in the US economy. We have ample evidence to demonstrate that these tax credits create billions of dollars of private investment and generate tens of thousands of jobs.

We offer these policy suggestions to help address the direct impacts of this crisis and the longer-term desire to further revitalize the U.S. economy, and we stand ready to work with Congress to ensure the wind and solar industries can do our part to keep Americans employed and U.S. investment flowing.

Sincerely,

Abigail Ross Hopper, Esq.                                           Thomas C. Kiernan
President & CEO                                                            CEO
Solar Energy Industries Association                          American Wind Energy Association

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