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The Senate stimulus bill passed 61-37 today. Here’s what’s green in it.

By Joe Romm  

"The Senate stimulus bill passed 61-37 today. Here’s what’s green in it."

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The press release from the office of Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, reads:

The legislation contains significant investment in areas critical to the development of clean, efficient, made-in-America energy, which will save consumers money and create millions of jobs.

Chairman : “We tried to hit the sweet spot of helping our economy recover while promoting clean energy. This bill does both.”

Here are the details of the green spending and tax provisions:

Subtitle B — Energy Incentives

Long-Term Extension and Modification of Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit: The proposal extends the placed-in-service date for wind facilities for three years (through December 31, 2012). The proposal also extends the placed-in-service date through December 31, 2013 for certain other qualifying facilities: closed-loop biomass; open-loop biomass; geothermal; small irrigation; hydropower; landfill gas; waste-to-energy; and marine renewable facilities. This proposal is estimated to cost $13.1 billion over 10 years.

Temporary Election to Claim the Investment Tax Credit in Lieu of the Production Tax Credit: Under current law, facilities that produce electricity from solar facilities are eligible to take a thirty percent (30 percent) investment tax credit in the year the facility is placed in service. Facilities that produce electricity from wind, closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, hydropower, landfill gas, waste-to-energy, and marine renewable facilities are eligible for a production tax credit, payable over a ten-year period. Because of current market conditions and the uncertain future tax positions of potential investors, it is difficult for many renewable projects to obtain financing. The proposal allows Section 45 property to receive the 30 percent investment tax credit under section 48 for the duration of the Section 45 extension, to 2012 (wind) and 2013 (other sources). This proposal is estimated to cost $218 million over 10 years.

Business Energy Credit: The proposal removes the cap on the investment tax credit for small wind property and eliminates the current law basis reduction for subsidized energy financing. This proposal is estimated to cost $604 million over 10 years.

Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (“CREBs”): The proposal authorizes an additional $1.6 billion of clean renewable energy bonds to finance facilities that generate electricity from renewable resources. This proposal is estimated to cost $578 million over 10 years.

Conservation Bonds: The proposal authorizes an additional $2.4 billion for conservation bonds. This proposal is estimated to cost $803 million over 10 years.

Energy-Efficient Existing Homes: The proposal increases the value of the energy-efficient existing homes credit to 30 percent for 2009 and 2010, modifies the standards for qualifying property, and sets the per-dwelling maximum for this period at $1500 per taxpayer. The separate limitations on specific energy-efficient property are eliminated. This proposal is estimated to cost $1.9 billion over 10 years.

Residential Energy Property: The proposal removes the $2000 cap on the 30 percent credit for solar thermal and geothermal property, as well as the $4000 cap on small wind property. The proposal also eliminates the current-law basis reduction for subsidized energy financing. This proposal is estimated to cost $268 million over 10 years.

Vehicles: The proposal provides a 10 percent tax credit for 2-wheeled, 3-wheeled and low speed vehicles beginning for 2010 and 2011. The proposal also increases the number of vehicles sold in the U.S. under section 30D, the plug-in electric vehicles tax credit, from 250,000 vehicles sold to 500,000. This provision is estimated to cost $115 million over ten years.

Smart Meters: The proposal temporarily modifies the depreciation schedule for smart meters, reducing the recovery period for this property from ten years to five years. This proposal is effective through 2010. This proposal is estimated to cost $22 million over ten years.

Tax Credits for Alternative Fuel Pumps: The proposal increases the business credit for alternative refueling property from 30 percent (maximum $30,000) to 50 percent (maximum $50,000), and extends the credit for one year. The credit for individual alternative refueling property is doubled, to $2000. The proposal also increases the cap on hydrogen refueling property to $200,000, retaining its 30 percent cap. The proposal also requires that recharging stations eligible for the credit be interoperable with all electric vehicles. This proposal is estimated to cost $53 million over 10 years.

Energy Research Credit: The proposal provides an enhanced 20 percent R&D credit in taxable years beginning in 2009 and 2010 for research expenditures incurred in the fields of fuel cells, energy storage, renewable energy, energy conservation technology, efficient transmission and distribution of electricity, and carbon capture and sequestration. This proposal is estimated to cost $18 million over 10 years.

Carbon Capture and Sequestration: The proposal changes the monitoring and verification of the current law CO2 capture and sequestration credit. The proposal requires the same monitoring and verification for the $10/ton EOR credit as is required of the $20/ton permanent storage credit. This provision is estimated to have negligible revenue impact.

Top line spending of approximately $43 Billion

· The Bill provides $39 billion to the Department of Energy for development of clean, efficient, American energy. The Bill invests in boots-on-the-ground projects and activities that get people back to work as well as energy research, demonstration, and deployment that will provide for our future and assure a cleaner environment.

o A total of $2 billion is provided in grant funding for the manufacturing of advanced batteries systems and components and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States, including advanced lithium ion batteries, hybrid electrical systems, component manufacturers, and software designers. Batteries are central to our efforts to decrease the oil dependence of our vehicles.

o An additional $2.6 billion is for energy efficiency and renewable energy research, development, demonstration and deployment activities to accelerate the development of technologies that will diversify the Nation’s energy portfolio and contribute to a reliable, domestic energy supply. Biofuels, geothermal, water, wind, solar, and efficiency projects will be deployed to demonstrate and improve our use of renewable energy.

o $4.2 billion is provided for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Grants.

o $1.6 billion is provided for grants to make schools and hospitals, significant users of energy, more energy efficient.

o $2.9 billion is available for the Weatherization Assistance Program.

o There is $4.6 billion for Fossil Energy research and development, including $2 billion for one or more near-zero emissions, $1 billion for the Department’s Clean Coal Power Initiative Round III Funding Opportunity Announcement and $1.6 billion for a competitive solicitation for projects that demonstrate carbon capture from industrial sources.

o The Bill provides $350 million for grants administered through the Clean Cities program of the Department for acquisition and alternative fuel or fuel-cell vehicles once again decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.

o The Bill provides $200 million for grants to states to plan and deploy electrical infrastructure projects that encourage the use of plug-in electric drive vehicles and for near term large-scale electrification projects aimed at the transportation sector, including seaports.

o The State Energy Programs are provided $500 million.

o The bill has a significant focus on the transmission system. This is in recognition of the fact that over the past decade electricity demand has grown by 20%, but transmission capability has only increased 5%. Further, as we push to get more renewable energy sources on line we will need to build out our bulk transmission lines to get stranded renewable energy on line. These stranded renewable resources are mainly in the west and the Great Plains.

o With this recognition the bill includes $4.5 billion for smart-grid related activities, including work to modernize the electric grid, enhance security and reliability, perform energy storage research, development, demonstration and deployment, and provide worker training. A smart-grid will help create greater energy efficiency, reliability, and security.

o A total of $8.5 billion is provided for new loan guarantees aimed at standard renewable projects such as wind or solar projects and for electricity transmission projects.

o $6.5 billion of increased borrowing authority is provided to the Bonneville and Western Area Power Administrations ($3.25 billion each) to pursue the construction of new transmission and upgrading of electric power transmission lines and related facilities necessary to deliver power generated by renewable energy resources. WAPA and BPA will be critical entities in our push to bring large new sources of renewable energy on to the grid.

· GSA Federal Fleet: $300 million to replace older motor fleet vehicles owned by the Federal Government with alternative fuel automobiles that will save on fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions.

· Green Buildings: $2.5 billion for repair of federal buildings to increase energy efficiency using green technology. Funding will help eliminate the backlog of $8.4 billion in building repair projects.

· $613 million for energy efficiency upgrades and construction of alternative energy projects, including wind and solar power and photovoltaic roof systems, at Department of Defense facilities. The Department of Defense is the largest consumer of energy in the Federal government, and has made energy conservation a key component of new construction. As well as contributing to energy efficiency and innovation within the Department of Defense, energy-related military construction funding has the potential to stimulate construction and manufacturing jobs in the energy and alternative energy industry. Defense Department energy construction funding includes the following:

Energy Conservation Investment Program: $118.5 million for energy conservation projects, energy upgrades, and construction of alternative energy projects such as wind power and photovoltaic systems at military installations Department-wide.
Navy Energy Construction and Improvements: $494.4 million for Navy energy efficiency upgrades and construction of alternative energy projects, including wind and solar power and photovoltaic system installation.

· $400 million for rural business initiatives including development of renewable energy.

o Biorefinery Assistance: $200 million for loans and grants to assist in the development of new and emerging technologies for the development of advanced biofuels.

o Rural Business Programs: $150 million to support $3 billion in loans and grants to support income and employment expansion through improved business opportunities in rural areas. These programs serve as the primary USDA tools for business development in the rural sector and are made available to rural areas with a population of 50,000 or less. As sources of private credit have become more restrictive the demand for these programs has gone up. Additionally, the Small Business Administration has reduced its lending, shifting interest to these programs. It is estimated these funds will create 34,600 private sector jobs.

o Rural Energy for America Program: $50 million for loans and grants to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy development for agricultural producers and rural small businesses. These funds are used by agricultural producers, rural small businesses, and rural schools to become more energy efficient and to use renewable energy technologies and resources through investments in renewable energy systems and other energy efficient systems. It is estimated these funds will create 1,600 private sector jobs.

ENR Bonus: The Senate bill also includes $1.4 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation which will create jobs while addressing a great backlog of work needed to address critical water resource needs in the West. The funding will be used to rehabilitate aging infrastructure, restore and protect degraded watersheds, improve water use efficiency through water reuse projects, construct infrastructure to deliver water to rural communities and improve energy efficiency at Reclamation facilities. These projects will help communities avoid water-related crises that might occur due to drought, climate change, increasing populations and environmental needs.

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7 Responses to The Senate stimulus bill passed 61-37 today. Here’s what’s green in it.

  1. PaulK says:

    Joe,
    You did not mention the 2 billion (40 times the Rural Energy for America Program, 19 times the Energy Conservation Investment Program, 40,000 times installed geothermal) to revive the rightfully abandoned Clean Gen coal facility in Illinois. Is there anything you can do to get this unnecessary, obsolete, in the wrong direction boondoggle out of the final compromise bill?

  2. danl says:

    Great news, but Joe– you might want to write a post about the recent push by conservatives on “global cooling” in light of this winter.

    Here’s an article by the politico:
    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=D0C4924D-18FE-70B2-A808D77A9C1FFFD3

    And there was an editorial by Fred Barnes yesterday too:
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/127rjsvd.asp

    The politico story particularly offended me, by claiming that Inhofe and Coburn were on the side of “science.”

  3. paulm says:

    The economic downturn does not sound that bad….

    Economic downturn gets a soundtrack
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7872988.stm

  4. Russ says:

    Joe – what did you think of this from Obama’s Monday speech on the stimulus?

    “Why would that be a waste of federal money?” asked Obama. “We’re creating jobs immediately by weatherizing homes … and we’re saving money for taxpayers $2 billion when it comes to federal buildings.”

    “We can have a respectful debate about whether or not we should be involved in energy policy, but don’t call it wasteful spending,” he continued.

    It made me think of you. If I was going to continue with the term “waste”, it’d certainly be as a counterattack on examples of their wastefulness, not defending vs. their snivelling attack.

  5. charlie says:

    sounds like I should apply for a job at DOE…any suggestions!

  6. It certainly is not wasteful spending for the government to be involved in energy spending. It is wasteful if this involvement is not effectively managed. This can sometimes be difficult. But when waste is discovered it has to be called waste. I hope Obama is not so naive that he does not realize that there is waste, or the opportunity to waste, lurking around every corner.

    I stumbled on such a corner this morning. I had generally assumed that when a car was labeled a “hybrid” it would by definition include a regenerative braking capability in its equipment. But a closer look at a study by Argonne revealed that the Ford built their Fusion Hybrid (2004) without this capability.

    See: http://www.transportation.anl.gov/pdfs/HV/416.pdf

    This is an amazing deception.

    I have often ranted about the GM deception of “shifting from oil to the electrical grid” as a way to power vehicles, this having no accompanying concern about efficiency. This shift having a great likelihood of making things worse since it will enable tapping into the very inexpensive fuel that is coal.

    Clearly there needs to be a great diligence in formation of energy policy. Otherwise it will indeed be wasteful of both money and of the opportunity to counter global warming trends.

  7. Wasteful spending?

    What do they call it when we spend $49 billion every year subsidizing the wildly profitable and mature fossil fuel industry, with $39 billion for oil alone.
    That’s annually, in case any one missed that.
    It probably wasn’t wasteful in 1918 when the subsidies started, none of which have ever been phased out.
    But 90 years of subsidies?

    Jim Burris

    How I understand it, is that the problem of charging vehicles is something of a red herring, at least when it comes to the quantity of electricity needed, and environmentally.

    There is already excess electricity at night, with many N-gas plants nut running. It’s even been said that running EVs or PHEVs on electricity generated by coal, is still cleaner than running them all on gasoline. Certainly the overall grid is cleaner than gasoline combustion engines.
    And wind does best at night when the majority of cars would be charging.

    If we focus on phasing out coal, or at least conventional coal plants, then the problem is a diminishing one anyway. The grid will get cleaner as we progress.

    And “clean coal” will not be cheap.