U.S. senators urge Bush to extend renewables tax incentives

A bipartisan group of 42 senators is calling for President Bush to recommend extending the renewable energy production tax credit for five years, to 2013.

�The PTC is a vital component in financing new renewable energy projects,� the senators said in a Dec. 15 letter to the president. �As you know, it is crucial for our national security that we expand and strengthen investment in renewable energy resources.�

Congress already extended expiring tax credits for one year, to Dec. 31, 2008, as part of a larger tax package. (HNN 12/12/06) The senators said the president should include a proposal to extend the production tax credit in his budget for fiscal year 2008, which begins Oct. 1, 2007.

�The continued development of renewable energy also will spur significant economic development opportunities, stabilize prices by diversifying the electric generation supply, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,� they said.

The senators said a five-year extension likely would lead to a surge in the construction of new renewable energy projects. That, they said, would lead to new projects that would reduce America’s reliance on natural gas and provide employment in states with renewable resources, as well as states where renewable energy generation equipment is made.

�In the past, the short-term, start-and-stop nature of the credit has not sufficiently provided utilities, developers, manufacturers and investors with the necessary certainty to maximize the vast potential for renewable technologies,� the senators told the president. �A long-term credit of five years will give businesses the stability necessary to plan and finance renewable energy projects.�

Lawmakers call for full funding of hydro R&D program

Eighty members of the House of Representatives are calling for the president to include full funding for the Advanced Hydropower Turbine Systems Program in his proposed budget for the Department of Energy for fiscal year 2008.

The congressmen made the request in a Dec. 14 letter seeking substantially higher funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency, including full funding for geothermal power and other programs.

The letter, circulated by Reps. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., also calls for full funding of the renewable energy production incentive program.

�A budget request that fully funds the range of federal sustainable energy programs will go a long way toward meeting the nation’s goals of reducing energy imports and controlling energy prices, while also improving the economy, national and homeland security, and the environment and public health,� the representatives said.

The 109th Congress went home in December, abandoning a $4 million proposal to resuscitate the Department of Energy’s hydropower R&D program, which the Bush administration has proposed dismantling. Hydro industry officials hold out hope the new Congress that convenes in January might revive the R&D program, which included development of a �fish friendly,� more efficient advanced turbine. (HNN 12/14/06)

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