Protecting the clean energy sector from economic strain

SEEC members are calling on House Leadership and their colleagues in Congress to take urgent action to stop clean energy job losses and keep renewable energy projects afloat during this pandemic.

Since the onset of the COVID crisis, the federal government has been trying to help businesses keep their employees on payroll, but unfortunately, these programs haven’t been able to support the clean energy sector.  And while the Trump administration has modified programs to better support oil and gas, this has largely not been the case for clean energy.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. clean energy sector has lost more than 600,000 jobs. They’ve actually been losing jobs at a rate that is faster than the national average.

The industry was growing rapidly to meet the increased demand for renewable technologies, but stay-at-home orders and the subsequent economic crisis have slowed demand for solar panels, energy-efficient systems, electric vehicles, and wind installations.

While the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has aimed to help cover the payroll costs of small businesses experiencing disruptions in the wake of COVID-19, it hasn’t been able to effectively serve clean energy companies–it’s hard to keep your workers on payroll, even with government help, if the projects you would eventually send them to are collapsing. 

SEEC members are pushing for immediate action to provide relief and certainty to the clean energy sector and help keep clean energy workers on payroll.

The clean energy sector often relies on capital-intensive projects that require significant upfront costs. Many of these projects are now in limbo due to economic uncertainty, social distancing requirements, supply chain and permitting delays, and expiring tax credits.

Congress can extend the phasedown of existing renewable energy tax incentives to help relieve the impact caused by pandemic-related construction delays and provide more certainty across the industry. Congress can also allow tax credits to be received as a direct payment to help lessen the financial strain on businesses and projects.

SEEC Vice-Chair Rep. Matt Cartwright and SEEC Members Earl Blumenauer and Mike Levin led over 180 of their colleagues in pushing for these policies. They are at the forefront of the movement to protect the clean energy sector during this economic crisis – and are working to ensure it is able to come back better than ever on the other side of the pandemic.