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Summary:

When it comes to renewable energy, it seems we have a new Do-Nothing Congress up on Capitol Hill. The Senate yesterday failed once again to renew the investment and production tax credits that facilitate millions of dollars of private funding into solar and wind energy projects. […]

When it comes to renewable energy, it seems we have a new Do-Nothing Congress up on Capitol Hill. The Senate yesterday failed once again to renew the investment and production tax credits that facilitate millions of dollars of private funding into solar and wind energy projects. Set to expire at the end of this year, investors are already pulling back from financing solar and wind projects for fear that Congress won’t provide the coveted long-term extension.

At stake are the country’s burgeoning solar and wind energy industries. A report from Navigant Consulting on behalf of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that the expiration of the tax credits will cost the solar and wind industries a combined $19 billion and roughly 116,000 jobs in just one year. All of this comes as the Department of Labor is expected to issue a report putting the total number of jobs lost so far this year at over 500,000.

On the positive side, the AWEA is expected to announce in its second-quarter market report that the U.S. has surpassed Germany in wind energy generation to become the world’s leader. An AWEA spokeswoman tells Earth2Tech that while Germany still has more installed capacity than the U.S., an estimated 22,000 megawatts to our 17,000 megawatts as of 2007, the U.S. is windier and is producing more actual power. Add to this estimates that the U.S. will add another 6,000 megawatts of capacity this year to Germany’s 1,600, and the U.S. should be able to solidify its spot as the global wind leader by the end of 2008.

But all of that explosive growth could come to a screeching halt if Congress doesn’t provide the industry with some regulatory certainty. And this means extending the tax credits far longer than one year, which was the length of the proposal voted down yesterday. With Congress heading into a long August recess on Friday, it doesn’t look like we’ll see a definite extension any time soon.

Graph courtesy of AWEA.

  1. Let’s guess. Which lobbys put an end to the itc? Couldn’t be oil, or coal, or nuclear, could it? I hope the people losing jobs, or who might have had jobs because of the itc make note of it and vote out the idiots who cast votes against it.

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  2. [...] The Good News and Bad News for Wind Via Earth2Tech: [...]

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  3. So which senators specifically are holding up the bill and have you called them for comment on why? Do their states support not passing the bill? Also, what are Harry Reid’s thoughts?

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  4. [...] The $84 billion proposal would be paid for by revenues from leases signed for new offshore drilling, as well as back-royalties the government says oil companies owe on existing leases. The proposal would also repeal the manufacturing tax credit oil companies currently enjoy. This could be the bit of quid pro quo that keeps the solar and wind industries from losing $19 billion and some 116,000 jobs. [...]

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  5. [...] would be saved and created by this legislation, Pelosi said. The American Wind Energy Association has estimated that the expiration of the tax credits would have cost the solar and wind industries a combined $19 [...]

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  6. [...] would be saved and created by this legislation, Pelosi said. The American Wind Energy Association has estimated that the expiration of the tax credits would have cost the solar and wind industries a combined $19 [...]

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  7. [...] would be saved and created by this legislation, Pelosi said. The American Wind Energy Association has estimated that the expiration of the tax credits would have cost the solar and wind industries a combined $19 [...]

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  8. The expiration of the tax credits plus the current economic situation in the US would certainly not paint a rosy picture of the future for these companies. I think the government should consider extending their tax credits until the industry stabilizes, or they should reduce the amount of tax liability.

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