Senate Rejects 1603, PTC Amendment

The renewable energy industry’s hope of extending a slew of federal programs was easily defeated on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., had introduced an amendment to a transportation bill that would have, among other things, extended the Production Tax Credit for one year and revived the expired 1603 Treasury grant.

But that amendment fell far short of the 60 votes required as Senators split 49-49, according to a message sent by the Solar Energy Industries Association on Tuesday afternoon. A separate amendment from Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., that called for an end to all federal energy subsidies failed handily, 72-26.

“We are disappointed that tens of thousands of American jobs are being put in peril by partisan gridlock in Washington,” said American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode. “Despite the partisan vote on these broader energy amendments, the fact remains that the wind Production Tax Credit enjoys bipartisan support in the House and Senate.”

Bode continued to warn about the implications of letting the PTC expire. There’s been lots of discussion within the industry, and in the halls of Congress, about what such a move would do to future developments and domestic manufacturing.

“The clock is ticking and the stakes for a timely extension of the PTC could not be clearer,” said Bode. “We stand to lose one of America’s best new sources of American manufacturing jobs. With every day that goes by, layoffs are occurring and further job losses and even plant closings will accelerate with each month we near expiration in December. Economic studies have shown that Congressional inaction on the PTC could kill 37,000 American jobs, shutter plants and cancel billions of dollars in private investment.

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.

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