In a major victory for clean energy advocates, the $790 billion compromise economic stimulus legislation approved by a House-Senate conference committee late Wednesday retains House language that will allow renewable energy developers to exchange their tax credits for cash grants from the Energy Department, a provision industry officials called essential for the continued growth of the U.S. wind and solar industries.
The article, “Renewables Win, Nukes Lose In Final Stimulus Bill” notes that the conferees stripped out the $50 billion in high-risk, job-killing fraudulent budget gimmickry (i.e. loans) the Senate had added for the nuclear industry, first reported here. Energy Daily adds:
In adopting House language allowing renewable developers to exchange tax credits for DOE grants, the conferees met the industry’s urgent plea that Congress give wind and solar investors a way to monetize the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) or the investment tax credit (ITC) at a time when many banks and investment firms are losing money and thus have no interest in obtaining credits to reduce their taxes. Since the global financial crisis began last fall, wind and solar developers have warned they would be unable to continue deploying projects unless Congress found a way to convert the tax credits into cash.
For a longer discussion of why the industry needs this, see “House Ways & Means embraces refundable renewable tax credits.”
I now think it likely Obama will hit his ambitious target to “double the production of alternative energy in the next three years” — as long as his team focuses as much on transmission as on the production itself (see “ITC to build $12 billion in wind farm power lines, JCSP study finds $50+B savings from 20% wind”)