Merkley Urges Significant Investment in Green Energy

Washington, DC – As the Appropriations and Finance Committees begin consideration of economic recovery proposals, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is pushing substantial investment in a range of projects to boost development and production of green energy and an upgrade to the nation’s electricity grid.

“The best thing we can do to get our economy moving and create jobs is to pave the way for the next great industrial revolution – a green revolution,” said Merkley.  “Green energy and technology can create jobs here at home and lessen our dependence on foreign fuel while reducing emissions and protecting our environment.  Now more than ever it is time for America to make significant investments in this area.”

In a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, Merkley urged consideration of programs to:

  • Create a Public Buildings Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program.   This program would create construction jobs by retrofitting schools, courthouses, and other public buildings with modern energy efficiency upgrades. 
  • Modernize the nation’s electricity grid.  Major infrastructure investments should include implementing “smart grid” technology that helps direct electricity usage to non-peak hours and expanding transmission capacity for renewable electricity sources like wind, solar, and biomass that are concentrated away from existing transmission lines.  
  • Fund the Green Jobs Act.   The Green Jobs Act would support the development and expansion of training programs by institutions of higher learning and unions to prepare the workforce the nation needs to transform our nation’s energy mix. 

Merkley also asked the Senate Finance Committee to make several changes to current tax policy to encourage expansion of green technology, including:

  • Temporarily modifying the renewable energy tax credits.  Modifications would allow developers to more effectively use existing tax credits and accelerated depreciation benefits to encourage investment in green technology.