Senate Fails to Pass Renewable Energy Incentives and Tax Breaks

Date: June 11, 2008

Source: News Room

The US Senate blocked more than $50 billion in tax credits for renewable energy and research and development by voting on two bills that would have revoked tax breaks for Big Oil and extended tax credits to renewable energy. Proponents of the two measures touted them as vital for consumer relief and transition to new energy sources, but both measures failed to muster the 60 votes needed to proceed.

The first bill, The Consumer First Energy Act would have levied a 25% tax on "windfall profits" of major oil companies to invest in the Energy Independence and Security Act Trust Fund. It would also repeal tax breaks for major oil and gas companies, estimated to value $17 billion over the next 10 years.

The second bill, the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008, was the Senate partner to the tax-extenders legislation that passed in the House last month. The $54 billion package would have extended tax breaks for renewable energy set to expire at the end of this year. It includes a six-year extension of the investment tax credit for solar energy; a three-year extension of the production tax credit for biomass, geothermal, hydropower, landfill gas, and solid waste; and a one-year extension of the production tax credit for wind energy. It also includes incentives for the production of renewable fuels such as biodiesel and cellulosic biofuels, for companies that produce energy-efficient products, and improve efficiency in commercial and residential buildings. Funding for the tax credits would come from closing loopholes for hedge-fund managers and multinational corporations.

Industry executives are getting nervous since extensions have stalled in the Senate several times before and as the end of the year looms when those credits are set to expire.

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