Senators Call For Extension Of Key Energy Tax Credits

Windmills lining the Altamont Pass generate electricity on Sunday, May 12, 2013, near Livermore, Calif. It's the not-so-green
Windmills lining the Altamont Pass generate electricity on Sunday, May 12, 2013, near Livermore, Calif. It's the not-so-green secret of the nation's wind-energy boom: Spinning turbines are killing thousands of federally protected birds, including eagles, each year. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

WASHINGTON -- Twenty-four senators are asking the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee to renew a slate of tax credits for renewable energy and efficiency, some of which are set to expire at the end of the year.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) took the lead on the letter, sent to Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and the committee's ranking member, Orrin Hatch. In it, Markey identified 10 different tax provisions designed to benefit clean energy that the senators want to see extended as soon as possible. Twenty-two Democrats and two Independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, signed the letter, which argues that the tax incentives help create jobs while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

"If a broader tax code overhaul cannot be achieved by year's end, it is imperative that these key clean energy tax incentives are renewed as soon as possible," the senators wrote. "These tax credits have helped scale up production and drive down the cost of clean energy technologies. They remain critical to addressing the market failures that prevent cost-effective, market-ready technologies from being deployed to their full potential. With continued support, clean energy will help Americans save money on their energy bills and reduce harmful pollution."

The credits include the expiring Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit, which grants credits to operators based on the kilowatts of wind or geothermal energy their facilities generate. The senators' list also includes the Investment Tax Credit, which creates incentives for installing solar energy. Tax credits for energy-efficient new homes and appliances, efficient commercial buildings, hybrid vehicles, biofuels, public transit and the manufacture of advanced energy products are also on the list.

None of these credits were included in the budget deal that passed in the House last week, and which is expected to go up for a vote in the Senate this week.

Baucus and Hatch are working out a separate tax reform package that they expect to release early next year.



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