Last Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee included measures to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy through the end of the 2009 in its version of an economic stimulus package originally proposed by President Bush.
Under the Committee's bill, wind companies would receive a tax credit, currently 2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated, for each new wind turbine that goes into operation through 2009.
The tax credit, which also would apply to electricity from solar, geothermal and other sources as well as energy-efficiency rebates, would cost approximately US$5.5 billion. The measures were introduced to the committee by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).
"Renewable energy production depends on investment," Grassley said. "Investors need certainty. They won't put their money out for a wind energy facility unless there's a reasonable expectation that tax incentives will continue into the future. For energy needs and for economic growth, we need to continue renewable energy provisions without interruption."
The bill would also extend for one year a credit, equal to 30 percent of qualifying expenditures, for the purchase for qualified photovoltaic (PV) property and solar water heating property used exclusively for purposes other than heating swimming pools and hot tubs.
The proposal extends the energy-efficient existing homes credit, extends the tax credit for the production of energy efficient appliances for two years, extends a credit to holders of clean renewable energy bonds, includes a deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings, a credit for the construction of new energy-efficient homes and a credit for residential energy efficient property.
It is being reported that the Finance Committee's version of the stimulus package bill may face opposition in the Senate and from the White House.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) applauded the Finance Committee bill. According to AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher, the bill will be a benefit to wind industry.
"The extension of the production tax credit (PTC) is urgently needed to protect tens of thousands of U.S. manufacturing and construction jobs and create tens of thousands more, and to keep investment flowing into one of the fastest-growing and brightest sectors of our economy: renewable electricity," Swisher said.
"We urge the full U.S. Senate to move quickly to adopt the Finance Committee stimulus package that includes the PTC extension," Swisher continued. "Rapid action is pivotal if wind, solar and other renewable energy industries are to continue to grow, attract large-scale manufacturing investment and create jobs for Americans across the country."
Update: A vote in the Senate on the package has been delayed until next week. The Senate will wait until after the Super Tuesday primaries as Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) are all currently campaining in thier bids for the presidency. -- from Renewable Energy Access