DOE brass will barnstorm to tout clean power tax credits

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012

Top officials at the Department of Energy will hit the road tomorrow to promote tax credits aimed at spurring clean energy manufacturing, biofuels development and the deployment of wind turbines, DOE announced today.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu plans to travel to Wisconsin to visit a wind turbine manufacturer and biofuels research center, while Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman will participate in several events in Texas, including a visit to another wind component manufacturer.

The trips are meant “to echo President Obama’s call for the extension of clean energy tax credits and critical tax programs like the Production Tax Credit that support U.S. renewable energy generation and are helping to put thousands of Americans to work nationwide,” DOE said in a news release this afternoon.

The wind production tax credit expires at the end of this year, and winning its extension has been the No. 1 goal this year for the wind industry and its supporters on Capitol Hill. While the credit has substantial bipartisan support in Congress and has a good shot of being renewed during a lame-duck legislative session, efforts to extend it before November have stalled amid election-year partisan wrangling (Greenwire, July 3).

Obama earlier this year gave Congress a “to-do list” of initiatives that he said would create jobs; the list included extending the PTC as well as reinstating other clean energy programs created in the 2009 economic stimulus law that have either expired or exhausted their funding, such as the so-called 48C clean energy manufacturing credit and the 1603 program that provided grants in lieu of the separate investment tax credit.

In Wisconsin, Chu will join Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to tour an Ingeteam wind turbine manufacturing facility. The company received a $1.66 million advanced manufacturing tax credit to construct a $21 million factory in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. Later in the day, Chu will visit DOE’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; the center is researching advanced biofuels.

Poneman will visit Houston, where he will tour Proinlosa Energy Corp., which manufactures internal tower components used at wind farms. The company has benefited from the PTC, DOE says, citing industry figures estimating that tens of thousands of jobs will be lost without an extension of the credit.

Poneman also will participate in a clean energy roundtable and a meeting of the National Petroleum Council, at which he will announce new rewards aimed at promoting natural gas vehicles, according to DOE.