Today 88 members of the U.S. House of Representatives called for an extension of the successful 1603 Treasury Grant Program supporting renewable energy projects, urging in a letter to House leaders that such an extension will continue a proven track record of job creation and promote further growth in domestic clean energy industries.
Created in 2009, the 1603 program has provided essential financing for clean energy projects via grants in lieu of investment tax credits, and has created tens of thousands of jobs by leveraging more than $22.8 billion in private financing to support 22,000 renewable energy projects in all 50 states. Signatories of the letter - led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Mike Thompson (D-CA), and backed by the House Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC) - argue that a failure to extend the 1603 program beyond its current December 31 expiration date would have significant adverse effects on American clean energy industries; shrinking the total financing available for renewable energy projects by 52 percent in 2012, and eliminating tens of thousands of jobs.
"The 1603 Treasury Grant Program is a job creator and economic stimulator," said Rep. Thompson. "It has created tens of thousands of jobs across the clean energy sector and pumped nearly 23 billion private sector dollars into the economy. Nearly 12,000 projects in my state of California have benefited. Congress must act to renew this program -- it is good for our environment, good for our economy and helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
"It is absolutely essential that we extend the 1603 clean energy program to ensure that these job-creating projects continue to have access to financing and that we continue to lead the world in clean energy innovation," said Rep. Blumenauer. "My office has received a flood of encouragement for continuing this program from businesses that are creating good jobs in Oregon, the urban and rural communities that these projects support, and from consumers interested in purchasing clean energy across America. With countries like China and Germany deploying renewables like solar and wind at a faster rate than the United States, we need to support the entrepreneurs and workers who are launching clean energy projects here in America."
"Congress must support innovation and job creation by extending the 1603 program," said Rep. Holt. "At a time when our economy is already fragile, abandoning investment in the sustainable energy sector would cause the U.S. to lose even more high-tech jobs to our foreign competitors, and it would undermine the progress of much-needed new energy technologies."
"In the global race on clean energy and innovation, we must make certain that America finishes first," said Rep. Tonko. "A critical step in remaining competitive is the extension of the 1603 Treasury program, which provides the necessary financing and investment to enable American ideas, American intellect and American know-how to develop the ideas and products of the future. This bold investment has helped create jobs, rebuild the economy and support small and large businesses nationwide -- that's why it must be extended."
Last month over 750 small businesses, companies, and trade organizations wrote to Congress urging an extension of the highly successful 1603 program.