Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bill renewing clean energy credits fails vote

UPDATE below.
From Reuters:
U.S. legislation extending renewable energy and energy-efficiency tax credits failed a key procedural vote on Wednesday and lawmakers will now set the bill aside, at least temporarily.

The extensive tax package includes measures providing an eight-year extension of solar energy investment credits, and a one-year extension of tax credits for biodiesel, renewable diesel, and wind power.

The bill required 60 "yes" votes in the 100-member Senate to move forward, but received only 51, with 43 opposed....MORE

Which brings to mind this Environmental Capital post from last week:

Solar Subsidies: Is Less More?

Is there a silver lining to America’s here today, gone tomorrow support for clean energy?

Conventional wisdom says one big reason America has lagged places like Europe in solar and wind power is because it’s been stingy with subsidies. The U.S. hasn’t been as generous, and subsidies only last for a year or two at a time....

.....But guess what? While Europe’s flirtation with smaller solar-power subsidies is spooking the sector, the impending demise of subsidies for solar power in the U.S. is driving a last-minute stampede....MORE

I saw some anecdotal evidence of the phenomena last night on a two million dollar rooftop installation. I don't believe the owners would have decided to go ahead with the project without the "Limited Time offer".

Update: Environmental Capital has these thoughts-

...Of course, the upside—such as it is—is a mini-gold rush the year the credits expire. U.S. solar power is having a banner year right now. Despite uncertainty over the federal tax credits, the U.S. wind industry stormed into second place worldwide this year. Plenty of states, led by Texas, have their own incentives that make clean energy attractive regardless of what Washington does. Another interesting point: America’s wind resources (that means “wind”) are so good, European power companies are eager to plant wind turbines in U.S. soil with or without government help.

Another thing to remember amidst all the wailing and gnashing of lobbyists: Since they were introduced, the U.S. renewable-energy tax credits have never lapsed. With energy rapidly becoming the bellwether political issue this year, it’s hard to imagine this year will be a miserly trailblazer.