Senate Greens Bailout, But Will It Pass?

The saga of the renewable energy tax credits may have a last-minute happy ending. The Senate is set to vote on a new iteration of the $700 billion financial bailout package, which now includes extensions for the renewable energy tax credits. The Senate has scheduled a vote on the newly revised bailout for 7:30 p.m. ET tonight.

The Senate and House have been deadlocked over renewing the production and investment tax credits, which are vital for the solar and wind energy industries. The ongoing bone of contention has been how the energy package would be paid for; the details were being hashed out when Congress became swept-up by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s controversial bailout package. With the new legislative priorities and impending elections, it didn’t look hopeful that Congress would be able to pass both the bailout and the energy package before adjourning. In closed-door sessions, the Senate decided to bundle the renewable energy tax credits with the bailout package, aiming to kill two birds with one stone. Like Thomas Friedman said, we’ve got to green this bailout, for the good of both our financial and cleantech sectors.

It’s not at all clear how the House will react to the Senate’s new, greener bailout. The House dramatically failed to pass the bailout on Monday and has refused to renew the energy tax credits without stipulating how to pay for them. Bundling two unpopular proposals could backfire.

But already Wall Street is responding and Barron’s notes that solar stocks are up on this news. This follows Monday’s crash which hit solar stocks especially hard. But in a week that saw the largest one-day losses and gains on Wall Street, these ups and downs seem almost routine. We’ll be tuned into C-SPAN tonight to see if cleantech tax breaks can help save the economy.

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