Tax Breaks & Subsidies and Energy Policy
Legislation approved by lawmakers but still needing Gov. Rod Blagojevich's signature would create a uniform method for assessing the value of wind turbines and, supporters hope, make Illinois more attractive for future wind energy development.
Under the legislation, which Mautino helped negotiate, wind companies could expect to pay around $9,000 per megawatt regardless of the county. The law also sets standards on depreciation and allows only 25 percent of the land where a turbine is located to be assessed for property taxes.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $16-billion tax bill Saturday that would extend renewable energy tax credits and encourage energy efficiency, paying for itself by axing tax breaks to oil and gas companies.
The White House said in a policy statement Friday U.S. President George W. Bush would veto the measure if approved, because it would, along with a broad energy package passed earlier by the House, "lead to less domestic oil and gas production, higher energy costs, and higher and higher taxes."
Along with the House energy legislation, the two bills form a package that will go to conference for melding with a major energy bill the Senate approved in June.
WASHINGTON -- Declaring a new direction in energy policy, the House on Saturday approved $16 billion in taxes on oil companies, while providing billions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives for renewable energy and conservation efforts.
Republican opponents said the legislation ignored the need to produce more domestic oil, natural gas and coal. One GOP lawmaker bemoaned "the pure venom ... against the oil and gas industry."
The House passed the tax provisions by a vote of 221-189. Earlier it had approved, 241-172, a companion energy package aimed at boosting energy efficiency and expanding use of biofuels, wind power and other renewable energy sources.
In its official policy statement, the White House said the energy bill and its related tax package would "fail to deliver American consumers or businesses more energy security, but rather would lead to less domestic oil and gas production, higher energy costs, and higher taxes."
WASHINGTON -- A rebellion by oil-state Democrats over $16 billion in new taxes on oil companies is threatening to upend House Democratic leaders' plans to swiftly pass energy legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remained confident she would have the votes to pass the energy package Friday ahead of Congress' monthlong summer recess, according to her aides. But she needs solid Democratic support to overcome staunch GOP opposition.
"I know they're looking for votes," said Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, one of the Democrats who has balked over the oil industry tax increases.
Green said some of the "Blue Dog" Democrats - moderate to conservatives, including lawmakers from oil producing states - were threatening to withhold their support.
"I think it's too much to hit one industry with," Green said in an interview.
You already drink shade-grown coffee, drive a Prius, and shop strictly organic at PCC. So naturally you're the best kind of customer-indeed a captive customer-for the ad blitz Seattle City Light has recently devised for its two-year-old "Green Up" program. Your latest billing envelopes have encouraged you to Green Up by adding a voluntary premium of as much as $12 to your monthly bill. For what purpose? To buy an amount of wind power equal to a percentage of your household's usage of cheap hydropower.
"Participating in the Green Up program demonstrates your preference and support for clean energy and a healthy environment in the Northwest," says the city's Web site. "It helps promote economic development in rural parts of the region, improves our energy security, and reduces pollution."
Parents saving for college, mobile home owners facing eviction, and businesses that generate or use alternative energy are among the beneficiaries of a wide-ranging tax break bill signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski on Tuesday......The energy initiative, which ranks as the biggest tax break in the bill, will expand the credit for businesses to build wind farms, use solar or otherwise boost the use of clean energy. Now the credit is 35 percent of costs, with a cap of $3.5 million. The new law increases the credit to 50 percent, with a $10 million cap. It's estimated to cost the state at least $6 million a year by 2009-11.
WASHINGTON: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi solidified Democratic support behind her energy initiatives and quieted rebellious party members who feared U.S. energy production would be hurt.
Democratic leaders reached agreement on legislation that would impose nearly $16 billion (€11.71 billion) in additional taxes on oil companies over 10 years and use the money to promote renewable energy programs and energy conservation and efficiency.
To garner broader Democratic support, Pelosi scrapped proposed changes in the way royalties are collected from offshore federal oil and gas leases. Also dropped was a provision that would have made it harder for the federal government to designate nationally significant corridors for pipelines and electric power lines.
Pelosi, bowing to Democratic lawmakers in oil-producing regions, agreed to some changes in the way permits are issued for energy leases on federal land.
WASHINGTON, July 30 - A one-sentence provision buried in the Senate's recently passed energy bill, inserted without debate at the urging of the nuclear power industry, could make builders of new nuclear plants eligible for tens of billions of dollars in government loan guarantees.
Lobbyists have told lawmakers and administration officials in recent weeks that the nuclear industry needs as much as $50 billion in loan guarantees over the next two years to finance a major expansion.
The biggest champion of the loan guarantees is Senator Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy Committee and one of the nuclear industry's strongest supporters in Congress.
CHICAGO - The $1 billion electric rate-relief package that Illinois lawmakers approved this week contains not only savings for consumers but also an expected boon to the state's growing wind-farm industry.
A provision of the bill that passed the House and Senate on Thursday requires utility companies to get increasing shares of their power supplies from renewable sources, especially wind turbines. The green threshold would start at 2 percent next year and would gradually increase to 25 percent by 2025, according to lawmakers and other proponents familiar with the details.
Utilities previously agreed to voluntary goals, but environmental advocates have been pushing for binding requirements with penalties for companies that don't comply.
"It's a puny amount of unreliable power at a very high cost," Alexander said in an interview Thursday with The Tennessean. And then there's the appearance. "We have 10 million people a year come to the Great Smoky Mountains," he said. "They don't come down to see white towers as big as football fields with flashing lights. They come to see the Smokies."
For years, environmental advocates have pushed for North Carolina to require its power companies to use a set amount of renewable energy sources, such as wind energy, solar energy or animal waste.
This year, that might happen - but the bill that would do it also includes provisions that some advocates say would hurt the environment by encouraging more coal and nuclear power plants.
The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by the N.C. Senate, is now being studied by the N.C. House of Representatives. It would require Duke Energy and Progress Energy to generate a significant amount of their electricity through renewable sources.
The bill is expected to face a tougher fight in the House than it did in the Senate. The House energy committee is scheduled to hold a three-hour public comment period on the bill today in Raleigh at 3 p.m.
Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell and the Republican-controlled Senate reached an agreement last night on a $27.3 billion state budget, ending a partial state shutdown that idled 25,000 government employees.
Speaking after 11 p.m. local time, the second-term Democrat said he and Republicans agreed on a deal that left intact the budget outline he presented in February. Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo said Rendell agreed to forgo a planned annual surcharge on energy bills to fund clean energy programs that became the main sticking point and said he would seek another source of money for the project.
Renewable energy projects including wind and biomass are springing up in Schuylkill County, and state utilities will be required to increase their purchase of power generated by these and similar sources over the next 13 years.
Although reports suggest customers should not experience much increase in cost and, in some cases, could see savings as these new sources become more prevalent, experts say other factors must also be considered.
"There is no magic bullet as far as getting us off fossil fuels right now," said Joel Morrison, a research associate at Penn State University and fund manager for the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund.
As California takes its first baby steps toward implementing the most aggressive climate-change policy in the country, experts debate the economic feasibility of attaining the state`s goals.
Its overarching policy lies in the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires greenhouse gas emissions in the state to fall back to 1990 levels by 2020. One of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger`s executive orders, S-3-25, addresses long-term goals by aiming at an 80 percent emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.
The state`s ability to reach these goals holds implications not only for Californians, but the rest of the nation`s climate-change policy as well, Samuel Thernstrom, director of the American Enterprise Institute`s program on culture and freedom, said at a panel discussion last week.
WASHINGTON, July 6 - A powerful House Democrat said on Friday that he planned to propose a steep new "carbon tax" that would raise the cost of burning oil, gas and coal, in a move that could shake up the political debate on global warming.
The proposal came from Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and it runs directly counter to the view of most Democrats that any tax on energy would be a politically disastrous approach to slowing global warming.
A final obstacle to a booming Idaho wind-energy industry may be close to cleared, the state's three major utility companies indicate.
Idaho Power Co., Avista Corp. and PacifiCorp say they're proposing a deal with wind developers that may lift a temporary restriction on the amount of energy Idaho wind farms can produce.
The deal could spawn a legitimate wind-energy industry in southern Idaho if the temporary restriction is lifted, said Gene Fadness, a spokesman for Idaho's Public Utilities Commission, the state's energy regulating agency. The restriction has blocked several wind producers from starting business......Under a federal law, utilities must accept alternative energy at a rate of about $64 per megawatt-hour. The utilities propose lifting the size restriction but cutting the rate by between $5 and $7.50 per megawatt-hour to pay for backup generation when the wind doesn't blow.
As the Senate continues consideration of H.R.6, the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007, the Senate Finance Committee approved June 19 a broad package of energy tax incentives, several of which were driven by Senator Salazar. The Finance Committee energy tax package helps further America's progress towards energy independence and includes two Salazar-authored renewable energy incentives which will benefit farmers, ranchers, small businesses and homeowners.
A program aided by the U.S. Department of Energy seeks to place small wind turbines at several rural Kansas high schools in the next three years.
Wind for Schools is a national outreach effort of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, where organizers hope to familiarize rural America with a cheap local source of power.
The program will help selected schools construct a 1.8-megawatt wind generator on a 60-foot tower. In addition, they'll provide educational support for all school levels to create lessons based on the turbine.
As the legislature pushed past its weekend budget deadline, the state's power industry squared off with Gov. Rendell over energy proposals he says are crucial to keeping electricity prices from skyrocketing as decade-old caps expire in the years ahead.
Dozens of lobbyists representing utilities and power generators were working the Capitol's anterooms last week, pulling legislators off the floor to urge changes in the package of bills that Rendell calls his "Energy Independence Strategy."
The fight helped derail efforts to pass a 2008 budget by this weekend's traditional deadline, as Rendell repeated his threat to hold up the budget unless his energy package was approved.