The U.S. renewable energy industry may be heading towards a “clean tech cliff.” Three-quarters of the government incentive funds that have helped drive tremendous growth in industries like solar and wind are set to expire between now and 2014. For good or ill, the political decisions made between now and then will define a pivotal period for clean energy.
Will congressional action deal a severe blow to clean energy technologies that are just beginning to compete with fossil fuels in terms of cost and efficiency? Or deliver a golden opportunity to revisit the way clean tech is subsidized, trimming waste and pushing renewables to start standing on their own economic feet earlier?
“It’s a pretty serious juncture we’re facing,” said Brookings Institution fellow Mark Muro, one of the authors of a new report entitled Beyond Boom and Bust: Getting Clean Energy Policy Right.