With a key House committee set to begin today considering whether to extend a key wind energy tax break that expires at the end of the year, a veterans group is pointing to the role renewable energy plays keeping the lights on at remote bases in war zones and providing jobs to veterans when they return home. A Ways and Means subcommittee meets this morning to consider proposed legislation that would extend a variety of temporary tax provisions scheduled to expire at the end of this year, including the production tax credit (PTC) for wind, which has been a key focus for renewable energy backers on and off Capitol Hill.
Small-government groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council, whose advocacy for Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground law and other measures have drawn calls to revoke its tax-exempt status, are taking aim at state mandates requiring renewable energy use. While environmentalists view the clean-energy standards as vital to reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, groups like ALEC and the Grover Norquist-run Americans for Tax Reform say the mandates are a hidden tax on consumers and a drag on state economies.
A Senate Appropriations subcommittee unanimously approved a fiscal 2013 energy and water spending bill today that would boost funding for clean energy and water infrastructure and authorize the Energy Department to begin finding temporary sites to store nuclear waste.
Congress is taking the wind out of turbine sales. And that’s despite support from President Barack Obama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a substantial roster of House Republicans who see extending the wind tax credit as an electoral imperative.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state grid operator and manager of the wholesale electric market, hit a new wind record Wednesday, exceeding the previous record by almost 200 megawatts (MW). Wind output reached 7,599 MW at 8:41 p.m., Wednesday, March 7, exceeding the 7,403 MW record from the previous day, March 6, by 196 MW. Prior to March 6, the record for wind output in ERCOT was 7,400 MW, recorded on Oct. 7, 2011.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear testimony this week on the growing issue of weather-related power outages and what to do about it.
What was supposed to be an examination of how tax policy affects fledgling technology was overshadowed yesterday by heated showdowns between a pugnacious House Republican and renewable energy advocates over how to measure jobs and electricity costs from their industries.
House Republicans won’t get the chance they were banking on to grill Energy Secretary Steven Chu about a controversial plan to upgrade transmission in the nation’s power marketing administrations that they suspect will trigger electricity price spikes.
Former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said Friday that his signature program to support renewable energy research and development has been a resounding success, though less than a third of the money has been spent. Culver said the Iowa Power Fund has inspired investors and energy startup companies to do business in Iowa. He said the program is helping create jobs in some communities, and he said the program’s impact will grow as more projects advance.
With the clock ticking on a bevy of coveted energy tax provisions that are set to disappear at the end of this year, a key House subcommittee later this week will launch its inquiry into how or whether to throw a lifeline to industries that rely on the favorable tax treatment. Energy tax provisions, such as the production tax credit (PTC) for wind that expires at the end of this year, as well as expired programs such as the 1603 grant fund, will be among those considered at a wide-ranging hearing Thursday morning before the House Ways and Means Committee’s subpanel on select revenue measures.