U.S. House Passes Renewable Energy Tax Credit Extension Bill

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049), a bill that could extend production and investment tax credits for renewable energy, by a vote of 263-160.

H.R. 6049 is a US $54 billion tax extenders package that contains an extension of the federal production tax credit for wind power (PTC) through December 31, 2009 and contains a new small-wind investment tax credit (ITC). The bill also extends the 30% investment tax credit for solar energy property and qualified fuel cell property, and the 10% investment tax credit for microturbines through the end of 2014. Biomass, geothermal, landfill gas and other technologies receive a three-year extension under the legislation.

“By using the tax code to promote energy diversification we can lower energy prices for Americans across the country and help community businesses make the transition to cleaner production,” said Rep. Philip English, (R-PA). “The energy tax incentives included in this measure have garnered strong, bipartisan support and will continue to create opportunities to make our economy competitive, create more jobs and at the same time, benefit American consumers.”

The bill could still face obstacles when it comes up for consideration in the Senate, largely because there is no consensus on how to pay for the extensions. The Bush administration has also threatened to veto the legislation. 

Congress has been trying unsuccessfully for a year to extend tax credits for individuals, businesses and developers who invest in clean power. When the credits expire at the end of this year it’s estimated that more than 100,000 jobs and close to US $20 billion in investment will disappear.

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Former Editor at RenewableEnergyWorld.com, now Assistant Counsel at the New York State Department of Public Service, regulating New York's electricity, gas, and telecommunications industries.

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