House Reps OK Clean Energy Tax Breaks

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The House Ways and Means Committee yesterday approved $20 billion in incentives for wind and solar energy projects and efficiency improvements to existing homes. Part of the economic stimulus package we covered earlier in the day, the vote came late in the afternoon. House Democrats advanced a total of $275 billion in tax cuts through the committee amid stiff opposition from outnumbered Republicans.

Once other parts of the package make their way through various House committees, the whole shebang goes to the Senate and then onto the White House.

Reuters has details on the package, which also includes credits for ethanol, hydropower and waste-to-energy plants. A few salient points on carrots for renewables and efficiency in the legislation:

  • It extends the deadline by three years for wind facilities to receive the federal renewable energy production tax credit. They now have to be in place by the end of 2012 to become eligible.
  • Biomass, geothermal, and tidal power projects that go into service by 2013 can qualify for the production tax credit — also a three-year extension.
  • Renewable energy projects that are in place in 2009 and 2010 can claim a 30 percent investment tax credit. This means an upfront refund, rather than the production tax credit that would otherwise be payable over a 10-year period.
  • Homeowners can qualify for a tax credit of up to $1,500 (30 percent of cost) for energy-conserving improvements such as more-efficient furnaces and hot water boilers.
  • Wind, biomass, geothermal and tidal power facilities are given access to $1.6 billion in new bonds to finance new plants.

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