UPDATE 2 – Senate Passes Bailout & Renewable Energy Tax Credits; House Votes Friday

The United States Senate voted 74-25 last night to pass legislation that would extend tax credits for renewable energy. In a surprise move earlier in the week, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said in a statement that the tax extensions would be attached to the US $700 billion rescue legislation for Wall Street firms. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for final consideration, which is expected to happen on Friday.

The tax credit extensions, which are reportedly the same versions that passed the Senate on September 24, will extend the PTC for one year and the ITC for eight years. The extensions would be at least partially paid for by a change in the tax code for the oil and gas industry.

The bill also contains removal of the US $2,000 cap for residential solar installations. The controversial US $700 billion bailout package has been in the works in Washington since last week due the failure of several major U.S. banks and financial institutions.

“I said from the beginning that the administration’s original financial plan focused too much on Wall Street and not enough on Main Street, and I wanted to make it better. Adding this tax relief will ensure that regular working Americans get the financial help they need in this time of crisis. As soon as this legislation passes, good-paying jobs will open up in the green energy sector as wind and solar projects get up and running,” Sen. Baucus said.

The House will receive the the bill later today from the Senate and is expected to review the legislation today and vote on the measure during its Friday session. The bill may face some opposition from House members who have been overrun by calls from constituents who are against the bailout package.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said that it was pleased the with the Senate’s decision to include the tax extenders with the bailout package.

“Our members are very pleased by the Senate’s overwhelming vote of support for the renewable energy tax credits. Continuing this economic incentive means wind power companies can continue to supply an increasing percentage of U.S. electricity needs with a clean, cost-effective source of energy,” said Randall Swisher, executive director of AWEA. “We’re also gratified to have bipartisan support, which is absolutely essential if we as a nation are to make progress on our energy challenges. We look forward to favorable consideration in the House of Representatives.”

Check back with RenewableEnergyWorld.com throughout the day today and tomorrow for more details about the legislation as they become available.

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