Renewable energy gets more green in ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

January 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Green energy was a beneficiary as lawmakers rushed to pass legislation to avert tax hikes and automatic spending cuts.

Tax credits for renewable energy sources, energy efficient homes and appliances, alternative fuels, and even electric motorcycles were all extended as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal between congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama.

The wind industry saw a huge windfall with the one-year extension of the production tax credit for renewable energy, which the Joint Committee on Taxation reported will cost $12.1 billion. Other renewable energy sources like geothermal and biomass also benefit from the extension of the production tax credit.

“Now we can continue to provide America with more clean, affordable, homegrown energy, and keep growing a new manufacturing sector that’s now making nearly 70 percent of our wind turbines in the U.S.A.,” said Rob Gramlich, the American Wind Energy Association’s interim CEO, in a statement.

Politico reports that wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower facilities are now allowed to take the production tax credit or receive a 30 percent investment tax credit like the solar industry.

“Big Wind won a midnight reprieve and another year of the production tax credit, but in the process the industry was forced to admit it could live without taxpayer subsidies,” said Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance. “We now have a year in front of us to continue educating the American people and their representatives about the problems with wind energy and the negative impact on our economy from this and other expensive, inefficient and unreliable energy sources.”

Tax credits for biodiesel producers were also extended through 2013, as well as tax credits for cellulosic biofuels, which now includes biofuels produced from algae. This will give algae growers $59 million for just a one-year extension, reports ABC News.

The San Francisco Business Times reports that the fiscal cliff deal also brought back a 30 percent credit up to $30,000 for alternative fueling stations.

Extensions for tax benefits for energy efficient homes and appliances also found their way into the fiscal cliff agreement.

ABC News also reports that Electric motorcycle producers also saw a $4 million benefit in the fiscal cliff deal due to an expansion of an existing tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles to now include electric motorcycles.

However, the oil and gas industry also received some relief from the fiscal cliff deal by keeping dividend tax rates equal to capital gains tax rates, reports Politico. Also, tax credits for coal produced on Indian tribal land were extended through 2013 as well.

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