WHAT

According to Penn State, “renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat—which are renewable (naturally replenished).”2 Ranging from solar power, wind power, hydropower, biomass, and biofuels, there are a number of ways that renewable energy can be harnessed and utilized in our everyday lives. Not only is renewable energy a sustainable and clean alternative to oil, but it is also versatile in that it is generated from natural resources, which means that “this energy cannot be exhausted and is constantly renewed.”2 Two of the most useful types of renewable energy are biomass and biodiesel. Research and advancements in these two sectors would mean enormous benefits for the environment. Biomass is organic matter that most often consists of biological material from organisms such as wood, waste, and alcohol fuels. Additionally, “waste energy can be generated from municipal waste, manufacturing waste, and landfill gas. Biomass alcohol fuel, or ethanol, is derived almost exclusively from corn.”2

WHY

In recent years, a movement to put renewable and clean energy at the forefront of our research priorities has been taking place throughout U.S. cities. With economic stimulation needed more than ever, the growing clean energy sector – which generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually – could be the answer that the United States has been looking for.1 One of the biggest priorities of the Energy Department is to assess and address the effects of climate change. As President Obama has stated in his Climate Action Plan (www.whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan), it is more important than ever to accelerate clean energy and lead the international community in establishing research and compiling data on renewable resources.

CURRENT LEGISLATION REGARDING RENEWABLE ENERGY (as of Jan 26, 2016)

These particular items are not endorsed or promoted by the US Green Chamber of Commerce. These are used for informational purposes.

Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2015

WHAT

Modeled after the immensely successful Victory Bonds of WWII, which allowed struggling Americans to invest in clean energy initiatives, the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2015 would allow the US Department of the Treasury to “issue small-denomination treasury bonds to fund and extend existing tax incentives and credits that encourage renewable energy growth.”1

WHY

Everyone can benefit from clean energy investments, and this low-risk opportunity would be a groundbreaking aid to the continuing movement towards energy efficiency. In addition, as more and more Americans opt for cleaner solutions to meet their energy needs, it lessens our dependence on foreign oil, boosting energy security. Projects supported through Clean Energy Victory Bonds would not only create jobs and more revenue to stimulate our economy, but it would also increase the amount collected by Federal tax and also reduce our energy consumption. There would be no new taxes on individuals to pay for this project, as investors would be purchasing US Treasury Bonds which are risk-free, without any risk of default. Investors would gain their full investment, plus any interest that they incurred.

HOW

A piece of legislation introduced this December, you can do your part in the crusade for clean energy and a better future for all Americans by contacting your local Congressional representative and urging them to support this bill.

• Renewable Energy Certainty Act (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr3001)

“To authorize certain long-term contracts for Federal purchases of energy.”

• Renewable Energy Jobs Act (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1005)

“To provide for the establishment of a pilot program to train individuals for employment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.”

• Marine and Hydrokinetic Renewable Energy Act of 2015 (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s1058)

“A bill to promote research, development, and demonstration of marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy technologies, and for other purposes.”

• Promoting Renewable Energy with Shared Solar Act of 2015 (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s1723)

“A bill to amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to promote safe and reliable interconnection and net billing for community solar facilities.”

• Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015 (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr2663)

“To promote the development of renewable energy on public land, and for other purposes.”

• Prioritizing Energy-Efficient Renewables Act of 2015 (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr3733)

“To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend certain provisions of the renewable energy credit, and for other purposes.”

• American Renewable Energy and Efficiency Act (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr3426)

“To amend title VI of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to establish a Federal renewable electricity standard for retail electricity suppliers and a Federal energy efficiency resource standard for electricity and natural gas suppliers, and for other purposes.”

• Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation Act (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr2763)

“To provide support to develop career and technical education programs of study and facilities in the areas of renewable energy.”

• Tribal Tax Incentive for Renewable Energy Act of 2015 (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s1749)

“A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow allocation of certain renewable energy tax credits to Indian tribes, and for other purposes.”

REFERENCES

Energy.Gov. “Renewable Energy.” Renewable Energy. Accessed February 02, 2016. http://energy.gov/science-innovation/energy-sources/renewable-energy.  Penn State. “What Is Renewable Energy? (Renewable and Alternative Energy).” Renewable and Alternative Energy (Penn State Extension). Accessed February 02, 2016. http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/energy/what.