Update: Stimulus Package Passes Without PTC Extentsion

Update: The Senate has passed a stimulus package bill. The bill did not include extensions of tax credits for renewable energy or energy efficient homes. Without a new proposal, the existing Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy will expire at the end of 2008.

From Thursday:  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 last week. That package was voted down yesterday in the senate as a motion to invoke cloture failed.

Under the Committee’s bill, wind companies would have received a continued tax credit of 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 have applied to electricity from solar, geothermal and other sources as well as energy-efficiency rebates, would have cost approximately $5.5 billion.

The proposal would have also given an extention to the energy-efficient existing homes credit, the tax credit for the production of energy efficient appliances for two years and a credit for residential energy efficient property.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says that not passing the bill will hurt not only the wind industry but the nation’s economy as a whole.

“With 116,000 jobs and nearly $19 billion in investment at risk in the renewable energy industries, a minority of the Senate has again frustrated the desire of millions of Americans across the political spectrum who overwhelmingly support clean, home-grown energy,” said AWEA executive director Randall Swisher. “We strongly urge Congressional leaders to move quickly to find another path for a rapid extension of the tax incentives needed to put our nation on the road to a clean and secure energy future.” 

Scott Sklar, founder and president of Washington DC-based Stella Group, Ltd., a strategic marketing and policy firm for clean distributed energy, voiced disappointment over the vote. 

“We have an Energy Bill passed without renewable energy which is a policy tragedy, and now we have an Economic Stimulus Bill without any short term tax extension as a stopgap which just makes hollow the commitments by either political party about reducing energy imports, reducing global warming emissions, or maintaining U.S. technological leadership in energy efficiency and renewables,” said Sklar.

The future for the Finance Committee’s version of the bill is now uncertain. In a procedural move that might allow the bill to be brought up again, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) changed his vote to a NO. The Senate may also choose to make piecemeal changes to the bill via amendment.

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