Big Renewable Incentives In Tax Bill, Despite “US” Chamber of Commerce

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This summer the “US” Chamber of Commerce was found to be taking money from petrostates to ensure Republicans stand firm against renewable energy.

The Senate tax vote tomorrow will be the last chance for the Democrats to get the shreds of their clean energy bill through congress, because in January, the House too goes Republican. (The Senate is de facto Republican in that their 40-some votes prevent votes being held: it now takes 60 to get past them.)

But with the tax bill cloture vote (a vote to allow a vote) passed yesterday 83-15, green stimulus tax credits within the tax bill can now get an up or down vote.

Democrats held out for and got a chance to vote for solar and wind cash grants of 30%, electric vehicle charger tax credits,  tax credits for highly efficient distributed energy storage in the form of home heating that can store extra night time off-peak wind power, along with renewable energy incentives to encourage VC funding such as tax credits for developing offshore wind – up to $30 million.

Another piece of good renewable energy policy provides a major incentive for VC investment in renewables in the US. Amendment 4790 to the tax bill was proposed by Senator Feinstein in the Advanced Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2010.

Tax Credit for Developing Renewable Energy Storage on the grid – up to $30 million a year till 2020

Tax credits of up to $30 million a year would encourage investing in utility-scale renewable energy storage able to store more than a megawatt per hour.

  • Hydrogen storage,
  • Regenerative fuel cells,
  • Advanced batteries,
  • Superconducting magnetic energy storage,
  • Flywheels,
  • Thermal energy storage systems,
  • New hydroelectric pumped storage, (if pass environmental review)
  • Compressed air energy storage (CAES).
  • or any combination, or new technologies as they become certified.

Priority would be given to projects that provide the greatest increase in reliability or the greatest economic benefit, enable the greatest improvement in integration of renewable resources into the grid, or enable the greatest increase in efficiency in operation of the grid.

The Secretary of Energy (who is currently Nobel prizewinner Steven Chu) would be charged with selecting only those projects which have a reasonable expectation of commercial viability, representing a variety of technologies, applications, and project sizes.

The tax bill vote tomorrow is realistically the last chance, for several years, to get any renewable energy policy. Next year, the Republican House plans to disprove the realities of climate science, in order to win “game, set, match” for those who do not want the US to have energy security with a renewable economy.

Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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