Tax Breaks & Subsidies
Gordon Brown will unveil tax breaks for households generating their own green energy as he uses his eleventh budget to challenge the environmental credentials of David Cameron's Conservatives by proposing incentives to tackle climate change.
Whitehall sources said last night that Mr Brown is likely to encourage people to install solar panels, wind turbines and other carbon-free sources of energy in their homes by exempting from income tax any money made by selling excess power back to the national grid.
The decision to trim the feed-in tariff came after Bulgarian Energy Minister Delian Dobrev attributed the 13 percent increase in retail power price to renewable energy development. He added that the government had avoided an even larger increase by taking action to slow down renewable energy growth.
PRINCETON - Big Sky LLC received zoning permits Tuesday for part of a $300 million wind farm project but does not plan to build in Bureau County until the county's tax assessment on wind farms decreases.
TISKILWA - Local developers are continuing preparations to build a small-scale family-owned wind farm in Bureau County despite resistance to tax breaks for the project.
Burleigh County's first wind turbine policy is due for a rewrite, just two weeks after it was adopted.
County Commissioners sent wording about permit fees back to the county planning commission Monday.
Ted Weissman of Nextera Energy said the permit fee structure approved April 5 is very steep compared with other entities' fees.
Residents voted 36-10 during all-day voting Saturday to approve a tax increment financing deal the Board of Selectmen negotiated with First Wind of Massachusetts for the town portion of the company's Rollins Mountain project. First Wind plans to build 40 1½-megawatt turbines along the Rollins Mountain ridgelines that run through Burlington, Lee, Lincoln and Winn.
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HELENA - Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester has staked a good chunk of his political reputation on his support for alternative energy, like wind power.
But when you hear his opponent, U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., talk energy policy these days, the two often sound the same.
Burns, long seen as a reliable friend of the oil and gas industry, is touting his work on alternative energy, noting that the 2005 federal energy bill contained vital incentives to boost wind power.
"We would not have the windmills going up in Montana had it not been for our work in that energy bill," says Burns. "Nothing moved until we got those (tax) credits for wind."
President Bush might be talking about alternative energy, but he's not giving many types of green energy sources a financial boost.
Bush's $2.9 trillion budget proposal released Monday includes no funding for geothermal technology, a prominent industry in Nevada, or for hydropower research and development.
Bush's proposal also trims funding for wind energy to $40 million, nearly a 10 percent drop from last year's request. The 2008 request keeps funding levels stagnant for solar energy development: $148.3 million.
But some alternative energy industries are winners under the president's budget plan. Biomass, hydrogen technology and carbon sequestration at coal-fired power plants would see increases in funding.
WASHINGTON — Trying to calm anxieties about soaring energy costs, President Bush is using his State of the Union address this week to focus on a package of energy of proposals aimed at bringing fuel-saving technologies out of the lab and into use.
Californians voted down a proposition that would have imposed a tax on oil companies drilling in the state.
Fifty-four percent of voters rejected the initiative.
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.
They'll reach that target with energy already under contract, creating a bust for developers that were hoping for continued growth, experts said at the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) regional summit. ..."For you as developers, the bad news of California being incredibly successful is that we really don't need a lot of contracts right now."
If California expands its renewable power generation to be a third of electricity delivered in the state by 2020, it may cost $60 billion, the state's utility regulator said in a report issued on Thursday.
It is more costly to make electricity with renewable power -- solar, wind, geothermal and other sources that emit no or low amounts of global-warming greenhouse gases -- than with natural gas, nuclear and coal power plants. ...On Tuesday, California voters overwhelmingly -- 65 percent of the vote -- rejected a statewide ballot measure that would have required 50 percent of power to be generated from renewables by 2025.
Hollywood celebrities, Silicon Valley tycoons and energy companies are waging a multi-million dollar campaign battle over plans for a Californian oil tax.
They are fighting over Proposition 87, which proposes raising $4bn (£2.1bn) to fund alternative energy projects by taxing oil production in California.......
Backers of the proposition claim it will fund a $4bn programme aimed at reducing the state's petrol consumption by 25%, promoting wind, solar and bio fuel energy alternatives and reducing air pollution.
Its critics say the tax will drive up petrol prices, increase California's reliance on foreign oil and create an unaccountable bureaucracy to spend the proceeds.
California increasingly is depending on solar energy to meet its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the state's landmark 2006 global warming law. According to regulators, utilities received 30% more bids for solar power projects in 2008 than in the previous year while wind farm proposals dropped by half and "very few" geothermal tenders were filed.
The fact that utilities received 24,000 megawatts' worth of renewable energy bids last year (more than enough, if built, to meet the 33% renewable energy target) speaks to the frothy state of the market.
Experts differ on whether subsidies are the most sensible way to move toward cleaner energy and whether they are a good deal for taxpayers.
But there is wide agreement that no state has used federal help more aggressively than California and that a sudden shift in direction by the White House would stymie the state's progress.
As the $0.023/kWh production tax credit (PTC) is back on a countdown to expiration just months after US Congress passed a short-term extension of the incentive, some in the US wind sector are weighing whether negotiating its eventual demise may be the only way to put the industry on a stable footing for the long term.
Consumer groups last night called for action to be taken against Britain's household energy suppliers who make misleading and confusing environmental claims.
Companies such as British Gas, ScottishPower, and Scottish and Southern Energy entice customers to sign up to their services by claiming that, by paying or agreeing to "a green tariff", they are giving something back to the environment.
In return for signing up to a "green tariff" energy plan, the supplier will either plant a tree or obtain energy from renewable sources. In some cases the tariffs cost nothing, but in other cases there can be a £10 to £20 a year surcharge. The National Consumer Council (NCC) and the consumer watchdog, energywatch, called on Britain's household energy suppliers to be more honest and upfront about their green tariff plans.
They have also called on the government and energy service regulatory body Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) to make sure all their environmental claims are independently audited.
The U.S. wind power industry has huge potential, both onshore and off, but it's clearly looking for a hand from the government ...But will all that money be enough? Like most businesses these days, Clipper and other wind power companies have been hit by the down economy.
Carbon offset schemes are designed to neutralise the effects of the carbon dioxide our activities produce by investing in projects that cut emissions elsewhere. They work through the rapidly growing trade in carbon credits, each worth the equivalent of a tonne of carbon. Offset companies typically buy carbon credits from projects that plant trees or encourage a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. They sell credits to individuals and companies who want to go "carbon neutral". Some climate experts say offsets are dangerous because they dissuade people from changing their behaviour.