US Renewable Energy Tax Credits Could Be Voted On This Week

A vote could come as early as this week in the U.S. Senate on a bill introduced by Senate Tax Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) containing a one-year renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) extension and a small wind turbine investment tax credit.

The Senate bill, S. 3335, contains a one-year PTC extension at its current value. After December 31, 2009, any further extension would include the “presumption” of a cost cap, which would, through a complex formula, put a ceiling on the value of the credits of no greater than 35% of project value. The small wind ITC has a cap of US $4,000 per system.The 10-year cost for the PTC, including all technologies to which it applies, is projected to be approximately US $7 billion, while the ITC, which includes solar, would cost approximately US $907 million over 10 years.

The bill also includes provisions to extend through 2014 the tax credits for solar energy, fuel cell and microturbine property, as well as the residential energy efficient property tax credit. Marine renewable energies could also benefit from the bill as credits to build wave, tidal, current and ocean thermal energy conversion systems of at least 150 kilowatts (kW) are extended through the end of 2011.

As has been the case with other recent legislation containing a these tax credits, proponents of the legislation will once again try to attain the 60 votes necessary to end debate so the bill can move forward without threat of a filibuster.

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