Sens. Bingaman, Snowe introduce package of clean energy tax incentives

Washington, D.C., October 1, 2010 – U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) introduced a comprehensive package of advanced energy tax incentives.

The senators said the incentives would create thousands of clean-energy and manufacturing jobs; enable American businesses and families to make long-term energy-savings investments; reduce greenhouse gases; and increase U.S. energy security.

The senators are urging their colleagues to take up and pass their Advanced Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2010 (S. 3935) before Congress adjourns in December.

The act focuses broadly on building and industrial energy efficiency; domestic manufacturing; emerging clean energy technologies; and carbon mitigation.

“We must continue to ensure that the tax code contains well-designed incentives that will help us transition to an energy efficient economy,” explained Bingaman. “Our bill will significantly expand domestic clean energy manufacturing; help American businesses and families reduce their energy use and dependence on fossil fuels; and creating thousands of jobs. This is a common-sense, bipartisan proposal that deserves priority consideration.”

“For far too long our country’s energy strategy has prioritized the technologies of the past while our policy debate has languished in partisanship. The world is moving ahead with bold action on innovative technologies and it is past time that we set a new course for how we use and think about energy,” said Snowe. “Energy efficiency has emerged as one of the most effective and expeditious initiatives that can be taken to preserve valuable resources for producers and consumers and I believe we can build upon the success of past tax credits with these critical energy efficiency tax incentives, which will spark innovation in our building and industrial sector and afford our constituents and businesses financial incentives to simultaneously reduce their energy bills and invest in our economy.”

S. 3935 incorporates several bills the senators jointly introduced earlier this Congress alongside numerous new provisions. A summary of its provisions is available online. Among other highlights, S. 3935 would:

* Enable home and business owners to defray upfront costs of investing in energy-saving technologies, including the introduction of performance-based tax credits for whole home retrofits;

* Make $2.5 billion in tax credits available to attract manufacturers of technologies that harness clean renewable energy or enhance energy efficiency, and establish a $1 billion tax credit program to enable American manufacturers to undertake energy-saving measures that advance their competitiveness;

* Facilitate the growth of renewable electricity by creating a tax incentive for energy storage systems, which will enable utilities to deploy intermittent energy sources like wind and solar power while reducing energy demands during peak hours and contributing to an overall more reliable smart grid; and

* Retool the tax credit for carbon capture and storage to give CCS projects greater certainty.

Bingaman has said that if the Senate is unable to pass the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) – which the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported on a strong bipartisan basis in 2009 – Congress ought to take up and pass several priority bills.

Among these is a bill he wrote with Senator Brownback (R-Kan.) to create a national Renewable Energy Standard; a bill unanimously reported by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to address issues related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; and S. 3935.

The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. Bingaman and Snowe are senior Members of that Committee, and Bingaman is Chairman of its Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources & Infrastructure.

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