From Green Right Now Reports
As Congress and the White House negotiate the details of the tax breaks for the middle class, and the tax breaks for the wealthy, and the payroll tax break, the clean energy lobby appears caught at the door of the party.
Many of the tax incentives that renewable energy companies depend up are expiring, but industry leaders are worried that Congress may not want to add more weight to the already heavy tax package under debate.
Yet without those incentives, solar, wind and energy efficiency associations say there could be dire consequences for renewables. Industry leaders are sending up worry flares to constituents and the media, warning that pulling the plug on clean energy tax breaks would badly damage job growth and U.S. competitiveness in the clean energy sector.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who has proposed a two-year extension of a key provision known as the 1603 investment tax credit, warns that letting it expire would virtually extinguish investment in U.S. wind, solar and other renewable projects.
That tax credit is set to expire in December, and several others that the wind and solar industries depend upon, to spur investment are expiring at the end of 2010 or later. Certain federal rebates for home energy efficiency improvements also are expiring at the end of the month.
The American Wind Energy Association is urging the public to show their support for renewing the tax incentives that help further wind power by calling Congress.
The 40-year-old Alliance to Save Energy and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy decried the potential loss of these tax benefits for green energy, homeowners and energy-efficient home builders in a joint statement released today.
“These incentives and other policies are helping build the 21st century clean energy partnership among energy efficiency, renewable energy and natural gas that will grow our economy and combat climate change,” said BCSE President Lisa Jacobson.
Energy tax incentives, if they are extended, would “continue creating jobs, saving consumers money on their energy bills and making our economy more competitive,” said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance.
The groups want a range of extensions on tax incentives for clean energy, including:
- The 1603 investment tax credit for clean energy, which many believe girded the recent growth in American wind power, including the addition of 10,000 Megawatts of power in 2009.
- The 48C manufacturing tax credit for energy-related manufacturing projects, valuable to components makers.
- Clean Renewable Energy Bonds that create a financing avenue for clean energy.
Jacobson, Callahan and wind and solar industry leaders say these incentives have helped fuel wind and solar power in the United States, and made financing available for large scale projects.
Other energy-related tax perks that need extension include some aimed at reducing the nation’s energy demands from residential housing and the business sector.
“Congress should also extend the tax credits for home owners who make energy efficiency improvements to their existing homes and for purchasers of high-efficiency equipment, as well as the now-expired business credit for heavy hybrid and natural gas vehicles,” Callahan said, naming some of the other incentives whose future remains in doubt as Congress works on the pending tax package.