Four Governors Push Congress on Renewables

Governor Pataki, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Florida Governor Jeb Bush have teamed up to advance a comprehensive agenda, which includes pushing the Federal government into supporting energy tax incentives for renewable energy and alternatively fueled vehicles.

Washingon DC – July 23, 2004 [] The four governors sent a joint letter addressed to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert, U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and U.S. House of Representatives Chairman of the Committee on Ways & Means, Bill Thomas. “The energy tax provisions included in the Senate legislation are of great importance to our states,” said a statement in the joint letter. “Including provisions to encourage utilization of traditional energy sources, renewable energy resources, alternative fuels and energy efficiency are essential to our efforts to provide the infrastructure that power the plants and machines that manufacture products and harvest foods.” The four governors are throwing their weight behind current legislation winding its way through Congress. U.S. Senate Republican and Democratic leaders have reached an agreement allowing the start of negotiations between the House of Representatives and Senate on a final version of corporate tax legislation (S.1637 / H.R.4520) that contain some vitally important measures for the renewable energy industries. The House has not yet named its conferees, but is expected to do so soon. Among these provisions, the expansion of the renewable energy tax credit, credits to improve the efficiency of buildings and devices, and accelerated depreciation for transmission assets stand out as “critically needed tools” to expand our ability to generate clean energy, manage electricity demand and improve electricity transmission infrastructure, according to the four governors. A reinstatement of the renewable energy tax credit — known more specifically to the renewable energy industries as the Production Tax Credit (PTC) — would have a dramatic and positive effect on the renewable energy industries. The U.S. wind power industry in particular has taken a hard hit from last year’s expiration of the PTC. Many project planned for this year have been put completely on hold. The solar industry is also hoping to see measures in the Senate version (S. 1637) make it all the way to the President’s desk. Included are a 15 percent residential solar tax credit, as well as a means to extend the PTC and expand it to solar, geothermal, and some forms of biomass. The four governors added that support for provisions to encourage the use of alternatively fueled vehicles, extend the Section 29 production credit, and accelerate depreciation for natural gas distribution facilities.
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