Full Title: Beyond Boom and Bust: Putting Clean Tech On a Path To Subsidy Independence
Author(s): Mark Muro, Jesse Jenkins, Letha Tawney, Michael Shellenberger, Alex Trembath, and Ted Nordhaus
Publisher(s): The Brookings Institute, the World Resources Institute, the Breakthrough Institute
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
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In the absence of significant and timely energy policy reform, the recent boom in US clean tech sectors could falter.
Driven by private innovation and entrepreneurship as well as critical public sector support in the form of tax credits, grants, and loan guarantees, several clean energy technology (or “clean tech”) segments have grown robustly in recent years while making progress on cost and performance.
Renewable electricity generation doubled from 2006 to 2011, construction is under way on the nation’s first new nuclear power plants in decades, and American manufacturers have regained market share in advanced batteries and vehicles. Prices for solar, wind, and other clean energy technologies fell, while employment in clean tech sectors expanded by almost 12 percent from 2007 to 2010, adding more than 70,000 jobs even during the height of the recession.
Despite this recent success, however, nearly all clean tech segments in the United States remain reliant on production and deployment subsidies or other supportive policies to gain an expanding foothold in today’s energy markets. Now, many of these subsidies and policies are poised to expire—with substantial implications for the clean tech industry.