Blog Post

Bipartisan Stab at Green Energy Tax Credits

Two Senators have reached across the aisle in an attempt to resurrect an extension for the soon-to-be-deceased renewable energy investment and production tax credits (ITC and PTC, respectively). Sens. Mary Cantwell (D-Wash.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) introduced The Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act of 2008, which proposes to extend the ITC by eight years and the PTC by one year.

The move has been applauded by solar and wind energy lobbyists and could be good news for solar startups and wind giants. Though, the bill conspicuously doesn’t say how these extensions will be paid for. Previous iterations of the bill called for cuts in gas and oil subsidies to fund the tax credits, but that move sank the bill in the Senate and garnered a threatened veto from the White House.

The bill also makes several amendments to the current tax credits. It seeks to abolish the $500 cap (per 0.5 kilowatt of capacity) for fuel-cell power plants as well as the $2,000 credit cap for solar electric properties. The bill also redefines the PTC to include “marine and hydrokinetic energy” meaning that tidal and wave energy projects could also now qualify.

Some are calling the new bill “promising,” but the lack of pay-fors could easily be a sticking point as the bill moves through the legislature.