Renewable Energy Tax Credits Extended

In today’s historic passage of the $700 bailout package for the financial industry, Congess also managed to finally extend the alternative energy tax credits that have been held up for months in legislative wrangling.  The Senate approved incentives last week, and yesterday lawmakers included them as part of a $150.5 billion add-on package to the so-called “bail out bill” in efforts to gain more House votes for the financial rescue plan.  The move will extend the existing tax incentives for the wind and solar industries for that were set to expire at the end of the year.

An article from investment research firm Morningstar reports some of the details:

“The bill extends production tax credits for wind energy projects for one year, and for geothermal, biomass, and other renewable sources for two years. 

The solar energy industry won an eight-year extension of the investment tax credit for commercial and utility-scale solar projects, and an eight-year extension of tax credits for residential solar power installations.”

Passage of these incentives is good news for alternative energy advocates who feared the expiration of these credits might harm fledgling wind and solar businesses and initiatives.

Last month, David Gorn reported a story for Climate Watch about what’s going on with large-scale solar installations in California as the state pushes to meet a plan requiring that 1/3 of California’s energy come from renewable sources.  

 Stay tuned for Monday’s radio report on Quest exploring California’s Proposition 7, which would require more wind and solar energy use in the state.

Wind and Solar Incentives Pass Senate

And speaking of solar power…  After months of roadblocks, the extension on tax credits for renewable energy is one step closer to reality after the Senate yesterday approved the $17 billion package with a 93-2 vote. The credits for wind, solar, and energy efficiency projects are part of “The Renewable Energy and Jobs Creation Act of 2008,” a larger tax bill (HR 6049) that has been stalled in Congress as legislators wrangled over how to fund the credits. If they are not renewed, the incentives will expire at the end of this year, undoubtably having a negative impact on future solar and wind innovation and expansion in the United States. 

You can read more about of the current situation in a piece by Ben Gemen at E&E Daily, but to access the article directly, you must be a subscriber.  For the rest of us, Climate Progess has posted the story here.