According to the Commerce Department, the US’ petroleum-related trade deficit for 2011 amounted to $265 billion (€212 billion), and it is costing another $84 billion for the US military to keep the nation’s petroleum transit routes open, not counting what it has been spending in recent years to support its forces in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Renewable energy is no longer an alternative. It is the key to energy independence, national security and the fundamental soundness of the American economy.
This should be enough to unite industry, government, the environmental community and even those who produce fossil fuels in a single cause. But here is what has happened since late last year:
In 2011, Congress allowed the $1 per gallon biodiesel blender’s credit, the Section 1603 cash grant and US DoE loan guarantee programmes to expire — and as of this writing, Congress has not yet reached agreement on the level of funding for the USDA Section 9003 loan guarantee programme. Before they ended, Section 1603 grants helped to facilitate more than 4,250 renewable energy projects.
Congress also eliminated the $0.45 per gallon ethanol blender’s credit, no great loss because its primary beneficiary was Big Oil.