Tax Breaks & Subsidies and USA
The controversial Energy Department loan program that backed a now-bankrupt solar panel maker could nearly double in size by the month's end.
The Department of Energy has until Sept. 30 to give 14 companies final approval for loan guarantees totaling over $9 billion.
The House passed a $54 billion tax package Wednesday that Democratic backers said would help relieve dependence on imported oil while easing the economic strain on parents, homeowners and businesses. ...The measure would provide some $17 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, carbon capture and sequestration projects, plug-in cars and technology for green buildings. It would also create a new category of tax credit bonds to finance state and local government initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The final sticking point came over Grassley's insistence that the pension bill contain a package of tax cut extensions such as the research-and-development tax credit, a credit for hiring workers off welfare, and a credit to promote wind energy. Frist and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-California) wanted to use those tax credits to entice Senate Democrats to vote for their permanent estate tax cut. Grassley tried to force a showdown Thursday night, calling a public meeting of negotiators and daring House Republicans to vote to strip out the tax measures.
Instead, House Republicans boycotted the meeting. Then GOP leaders effectively shut down negotiations and took the pension bill to the House floor without the tax measures, infuriating Grassley.
U.S. lawmakers said they may consider extending and then phasing out the main tax break for producing wind energy.
Representative Patrick Tiberi, an Ohio Republican, said today he wanted to hear from the wind-energy industry about how such a phase-out might work.
A larger, longer-term deal in the Senate proved difficult, said Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, because of disagreements over how to cover the cost of the measure.
"The fundamental issue is how do you get pay-fors that everyone can agree to," Conrad said. "That is extremely difficult."
Senate leaders hoping to salvage the $700 billion financial bailout package accepted a higher limit for insured bank deposits - and tax breaks for businesses and alternative energy - in a bid to win House approval and send the legislation to President George W. Bush by the end of the week. ...The lawmakers were gambling that the tax package would appeal to lawmakers who helped sink the measure in the House on Monday, without driving off Democrats who have opposed extending tax incentives without offsetting spending cuts elsewhere.
Sixteen of the 29 states with renewable portfolio standards are considering legislation that would reduce the need for wind and solar power, according to researchers backed by the U.S. Energy Department. North Carolina lawmakers may be among the first to move, followed by Colorado and Connecticut. ...Repealing the state's RPS policy "would help increase disposable income, attract more business investment and make energy more affordable for consumers."
Investors in wind-powered electricity are paying close attention to deliberations in Washington over a soon-to-expire tax credit.
Congress is debating whether to renew the break beyond this year, allowing producers of wind power to keep collecting a two-cent credit for every kilowatt hour of electricity they harness.
It's a big deal to developers like Brent Olson, who is helping build a wind farm in Big Stone County along Minnesota's western border. Its 10 turbines are expected to supply enough electricity for about 5,000 homes. The project, he said, has drawn investments from 100 local residents and there is a lot of money at stake. ...If the credit lapses, it wouldn't be the first time. Congress has let it run out three times in the last decade.
When it blinked off after 2003, the industry said construction of new wind farms dropped by 75 percent the next year.
State programs to promote the development of renewable energy continue to multiply and evolve, presenting challenges, opportunities and some unexpected consequences for the US power market.
Renewable energy companies awaiting payment under the stimulus-funded clean energy grant program will receive smaller checks because of newly implemented across-the-board budget cuts, the Treasury Department said today.
The battle over the wind production tax credit - which can cut the cost of developing a wind project by nearly a third - centers on a single question: Is the wind industry mature enough to survive without the tax break it first received 20 years ago, or does it need a lifeline for a bit longer?
Facing delisting from the Nasdaq for its rock-bottom stock price, the Tyngsboro, Mass. maker of smart grid technology has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, following California-based Solyndra as another U.S. government-backed alternative energy company now seeking protection from creditors.
NEW YORK - US companies and organizations that conserve electricity by switching to more efficient lighting or by moderating heating and cooling will earn a credit they can trade or bank.
That's the hope of Sterling Planet, a Georgia-based company that has created "white tags," or tradable certificates that are similar to "green tags," or tradable credits for creating and delivering renewable energy, such as solar and wind.
For wind-energy companies across the U.S., the pace of business in 2008 may depend a lot on dealmaking in Washington.
The latest round of debate, centering on an economic stimulus bill, has taken the wind out of them. The extension of a key tax credit for wind energy set to expire at the end of 2008 was left out of the economic stimulus package, reviving uncertainty about expansion of the renewable power source at a time of record-high prices for traditional energy. ...While more than 3,000 new turbines were installed in 2007, concern about the expiration of the tax credits underscores the economic limitations of this form of alternative energy, although supporters say wind power eventually will be competitive without the help of tax credits.
The US Senate Thursday rejected a bill that would have stripped billions of dollars' worth of tax subsidies from oil and natural gas companies and funneled that money to renewable-energy producers.
The bill failed on a vote of 51-47. It needed 60 votes for approval.
Amid voter frustration over record-high fuel prices, U.S. Senate Democrats plan to bring up on Tuesday legislation that takes aim at oil companies, speculators and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The vote marks the Democratic party's most comprehensive response to rising gasoline, jet fuel and diesel prices, and will kick off a debate that is expected to last at least until the presidential elections in November.
Republicans are expected to block the plan ...The U.S. Senate is also voting this week on whether to proceed with a tax bill that would extend tax credits for projects to generate energy from solar power, wind, and other sources of renewable energy.
The United States announced preliminary duties from 13.74 percent to 26 percent on Wednesday against wind-turbine towers imported from China, a move that will heighten tension over trade of clean-energy technologies between the economic powers.
The US government has not justified its financial support of wind energy and that failure could lead to unnecessary federal spending to boost the wind industry ..."Federal support in excess of what is needed to induce projects to be built could instead be used to induce other projects or simply withheld, thereby reducing federal expenditures,"
Growth of a nascent US industry to build and install clean energy sources, like windmills and solar cells, could be stunted if Congress doesn't extend tax incentives set to expire next year, industry officials and lawmakers said Wednesday. Democrats last week dropped a US$21.5 billion package of tax incentives from a broad energy bill after Republicans and the White House threatened to block it. ...In the past, wind and solar tax incentives have been saved in the waning months before they expire. O'Donnell said the lack of long-term assurance of incentives is forcing companies to make solar manufacturing plants outside the United States.
U.S. taxpayers have forked over nearly $4 billion to foreign-owned companies as part of a stimulus program that pays cash grants to green-energy firms ..."Billions of dollars have filled the coffers of overseas firms while the evidence of the promised permanent jobs and economic growth here in the United States is scarce," the report said.