But is the bill different enough to pass?
As was reported at Hill Heat, and elsewhere, Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), led a bipartisan group of senators in announcing a bill to incentivize the development of renewable energy and expand energy efficiency in buildings, homes, and appliances. The Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Package of 2008 (pdf) will provide some certainty to investors and those individuals and businesses that are considering adding solar, wind, biomass, methane capture, or other clean energy technologies.
Teetering on the brink of passage
Renewable Energy tax packages always face trouble in the Senate, and this dates back to our first energy crises in the 1970s. In a more recent example, a tax package failed repeatedly on the Senate floor, including a $22 billion version that fell one vote short of winning approval as an amendment to a broader energy bill in December. Many Republicans balked at the funding mechanism for the previous renewable energy incentives because they rescinded tax breaks from the big energy companies (which was spun by the right as a “tax increase.”).
Summary of the bill:
- The renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) is extended one year to 2009 and modified to include tidal power
- The solar and fuel cell investment tax credit (ITC) is extended 8 years to 2016
- The residential energy-efficient property credit is extended one year to 2009, and the $2,000 cap is removed
- Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) are extended one year to 2009, with an additional $400 million authorized
- The 10% ITC for energy-efficiency improvements to existing homes is extended one year to 2009
- The contractor tax credit for energy-efficient new homes is extended two years to 2010
- The energy-efficient commercial buildings deduction is extended one year to 2009 and increases the $1.80/sqft max to $2.25/sqft
- The energy-efficient appliance credit is extended to 2010
Tim is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media where he writes regularly about the politics of energy and the environment, green business and clean tech. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.