A new study from the energy think-tank RMI shows that Americans could save as much as $5 billion every year starting in 2024... if Congress pushed for more renewable energy adoption.
Using a program of tax credits for clean energy adoption starting this year could create billions of dollars in annual savings for Americans and limit their exposure to energy price shocks related to supplies of fossil fuels like oil and gas.
These tax credits include a ten-year extension of the investment tax credit for developers of renewable energy, energy storage and energy transmission projects and a ten-year extension on another tax rebate that pays $25 for every megawatt-hour of power produced from zero emission energy sources.
These federal payouts to energy developers and utilities would encourage suppliers to reduce customers' energy bills. But they'd need to be made in the form of direct payouts to the energy providers for their development, the RMI study noted.
"In addition to saving ratepayers money, these tax credits could lead to the installation of nearly 83 GW of clean electricity like solar, wind, and batteries, while reducing up to 92 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon dioxide emissions by the end of 2024," according to the RMI study. "This would lead to enormous local and community benefits, providing jobs and economic development in rural communities that serve as prime locations for renewable energy. It would also reduce air pollution in communities near fossil fuel-powered generating stations, which are disproportionately located near low-income communities of color."
What's more, the bill that's currently up for debate in Congress can actually amplify other tax credits that are aimed at consumers -- further helping ease the pain of inflation.
"Importantly, this bill pairs nicely with the CONSUMER tax credits and rebates included in the last version of the reconciliation bill," wrote RMI policy manager, Alisa Peterson, on Twitter. "This boosts domestic supply, creating quality American jobs, and the consumer tax credits guarantees lower cost to consumers."
With West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin advocating for a climate bill that won't cost taxpayers more money and can focus on curbing inflation, the initiatives in the most recent attempt to revive the stalled Build Back Better Bill might be the thing to get climate action over the finish line in Washington.
"Now is as urgent a time as ever to think strategically about diversifying our energy sources and strengthening our economic resilience," wrote the RMI analysts. "And while we cannot transition our whole energy system to clean energy sources overnight, we can focus on the investments needed to make our system more resilient for the long run, which will save American households hundreds of dollars a month in the process. A strong clean energy tax credit package delivered by Congress can set the foundation for a more stable, affordable energy future."