Bingaman Pushes Grant Plan for Renewable Energy

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M) is urging Congress to include a new incentive program for renewable energy in the economic recovery package. The plan would stimulate renewable energy production by offering an alternative to tax equity financing, while ensuring protection for taxpayers.

To help meet President Obama’s goal of doubling renewable energy production in three years, Bingaman plans to advance a proposal to enable renewable energy producers to claim a 30% cash grant from the U.S. Treasury Department in lieu of the 30% investment tax credit. Under this plan, the Treasury secretary would award the grant only after determining that the producer has taken adequate actions to protect taxpayers.

Bingaman noted that domestic demand for solar, wind and other renewable resources has grown rapidly over the past few years, and faster growth is anticipated in the near future–especially with the expected enactment of a national renewable portfolio standard.

Bingaman contrasted his approach with a provision in the House stimulus bill, which would allow for similar grants, but would be administered through the Department of Energy and not require participating firms to make trade-offs to participate.

"The House approach to addressing renewable energy financing is inadequate because it fails to protect the taxpayer and because it needlessly involves the Department of Energy," Bingaman says. "My proposal finds common ground by offering an alternative to financing through the tax equity markets in a manner that protects the taxpayer and doesn’t create a refundable tax credit in disguise."

Congress has generally not permitted corporate taxpayers to refund tax credits, Bingaman notes. His proposal is modeled on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which created the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

In Related News…

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) hopes to pass new climate change legislation out of the Senate environment committee "as soon as possible," but definitely before the end of the year, she said.

Read Boxer’s principles for global warming legislation at the link below.

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Comments on “Bingaman Pushes Grant Plan for Renewable Energy”

  1. Seth

    We need to do everything in our power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.We have so much available to use such as wind and solar as well as technologies to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. There could be no better investment in than to invest in energy independence. Create clean cheap energy,create millions of BADLY needed new green jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.The high cost of fuel this past year did serious damage to our society and economy. Record numbers of jobs and homes have been lost due to the direct impact on our economy.Oil is finite.We are using it globally at the rate of 2 X faster than new oil is being discovered. Added to the strain on our supplies foreign countries are bursting in populations and becoming modern.China and India alone are expected to add another 3 million vehicles to their highways in the next 2 decades. I just read a fantastic book called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now by Jeff Wilson.Great Book!

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  2. John G.

    I’m all for more renewable energy creation, but I wish the federal government would stay out of funding these projects. They should become a customer of renewable energy instead of tilting the playing field with subsidies and tax breaks. Government involvement will only introduce inefficiency. We don’t want the renewable energy industry ending up running like the U. S. Postal Service, or worse yet, like Fannie and Freddie.

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