While the United States’ government has lagged behind other developed nations in promoting alternative fuels, innovative American companies have already made substantial progress. In 2016, solar panels in the United States exceeded a total of 1 million for the first time, and since 2011, annual installations of solar panels has grown 300% in terms of gigawatt power output. In this time period, thousands of domestic jobs have been created while lowering the price of solar to the point where it is now competitive with natural gas. The United States is also the global leader in wind power production, both in the number of mills and in innovation. Hydroelectric power already accounts for around 6% of total energy consumption in the United States, and 35% of all renewable energy used. Hydroelectric energy production will continue to rise as more money is funneled into infrastructure projects for dams, the largest and most reliable sources of hydroelectric power.
We believe conservative solutions will strengthen America’s alternative energy market. The most compelling reasons to support the expansion of this sector is that alternative energy is increasingly less expensive and an increasingly strong driver of job creation. The conservative path for creating a more robust alternative energy sector include lowering taxes, implementing revenue-neutral carbon pricing, and repealing innovation-stifling regulation to lower the barriers of entry for innovative energy companies. In 2013, Senator Lisa Murkowski’s Energy 20/20 plan provided conservative solutions that would lead to “an energy policy that pays for itself.” If the Federal Government takes the right steps to incentivize alternative energy in the free market, tax revenues will increase and the need for federal energy subsidies will diminish.