Clean Energy Incentives Allow Public-Private Partnerships for Investment in Energy Communities, Economic Growth

Communities at the forefront of energy production have driven economic growth for decades, and as industry turns to clean energy innovation, it’s important that they are not left behind. As this economic transition takes place, public-private partnerships are playing an important role in providing and retaining good-paying jobs, lowering energy costs, and increasing revenue to fund critical public safety services and much-needed capital improvement projects. Critically, new federal clean energy tax incentives are enabling private investment in these energy communities, and it’s important that we leverage these incentives and support economic growth across the country. 

Last month, Cypress Creek Renewables inaugurated the Zier Solar and Storage state-of-the-art project in Brackettville, Texas. Sitting on a vast swath of land in southwestern Texas, Zier sought a local workforce to fill over 200 construction jobs and will provide more than $20 million dollars to the community over the 40-year life of the project which will produce enough electricity in every year to power more than 40,000 homes. Moreover, the battery storage system will help maintain stability of Texas’s unique energy grid to prevent blackouts during the hottest times of the day and during extreme weather events. Zier is exactly the type of project that is being replicated in communities across the country thanks to clean energy tax incentives. 

In fact, according to the American Clean Power Association’s 2023 Clean Power Annual Market Report, last year saw the most growth for the solar and storage industry in US history – adding 33.8GW of clean electric power to the nation’s energy grid, increasing our country’s total clean power output to 262GW, enough to power 70 million American homes. 

For the first time, clean energy tax incentive legislation has leveled the playing field for both utility and private investments in energy production by providing long-term market financing certainty for both developers and financing parties. The construction of projects like Zier shows that we have the blueprint in place to strengthen our grid and increase our clean energy capacity. 

However, significant barriers to clean energy development still exist. We support the continued bipartisan work to reform our permitting rules, which will remove overburdensome regulations while also both protecting the land and a landowner’s private property rights to that land. Significant discussion is also needed on how to simplify the interconnection processes and provide additional investment in transmission, the super-highway for electricity. It’s also critical that we invest in grid enhancements that will ensure stability and avoid congestion, allowing energy to reach communities that need it more effectively. 

There is still much work to do -- a clean energy future is not guaranteed. Energy infrastructure systems depend on a wide range of sources. We see the role that natural gas plays as we continue this journey, as well as the need for funding and research for nascent technologies such as carbon capture and advanced nuclear. However, we cannot undo the clean energy investment efforts already underway. Clean energy tax incentives provide the near-term stimulus for the critical work renewable developers do to put steel in the ground, provide low-cost electricity to consumers, and support the economic growth and people in all of our communities. 

-Sarah Slusser, CEO, Cypress Creek Renewables