Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - July 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., introduced legislation in May to incentivize the development of clean energy projects on brownfield sites. Sen. Lautenberg says S. 3329, the Cleanfields Energy Act of 2010, would encourage utilities to meet proposed renewable electricity mandates by building wind, solar and geothermal facilities on former industrial sites instead of open spaces and sensitive lands. S. 3329 would also provide triple credits toward meeting a national renewable electricity standard for electricity produced on brownfield sites. The legislation is supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Wilderness Society.

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Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a series of energy measures into law, including the Maryland Clean Energy Incentive Act of 2010, which extends the termination date of the clean energy incentive tax credit to December 31, 2015. H.B. 464 also extends to January 1, 2016 the date by which a facility must begin producing qualified energy in order to claim the credit; prohibits the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) from issuing an initial credit certificate for less than $1,000; and makes the tax credit refundable. Another measure, S.B. 277, increases the percentage requirements of the renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS) that must be purchased from Tier 1 solar energy sources each year between 2011 and 2016 and increases the alternative compliance payment for a shortfall in solar RPS requirements. Download a copy of H.B. 464 at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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Members of the Congressional Steel Caucus sent a letter to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin and Ranking Member Dave Camp urging them to ensure that renewable energy tax credit (RETC) legislation utilizes American iron, steel and other manufactured goods. The letter cautions against using American taxpayer funds to create Chinese jobs, referencing a Texas wind farm developer that may use RETCs to buy equipment made in China. The 38 signatories assert that the Buy American principle would instead help put Americans back to work.

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An industry report from the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) concluded that geothermal energy is spreading rapidly across the globe. “Geothermal Energy: International Market Update” found that between 2005 and 2010 the United States retained its leadership in geothermal energy installation with the most megawatts (MW) installed, while Germany was the fastest growing geothermal power producer. The GEA also reported at the 2010 World Geothermal Congress in April that the United States has more than 3,000 MW of installed geothermal capacity and produces enough geothermal energy to avoid approximately 18.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. In terms of installed geothermal capacity, the United States ranks first worldwide, followed by the Philippines with an installed geothermal capacity of approximately 1,902 MW. Visit www.geo-energy.org to download the full report.

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Texas Tech University, the Innovate Texas Foundation and The Wind Alliance announced the formation of the National Institute for Renewable Energy (NIRE), an independent public-private collaboration that will work to solve scientific and technology challenges facing the wind power industry. NIRE will operate a for-profit business component that will design, construct and operate research wind farms, selling the power generated to fund a not-for-profit research center. NIRE will also provide services to industry partners and offer an industry consortium. Initial plans for NIRE include facilitating technology development to decrease the cost of wind energy and optimize energy storage, hiring additional renewable energy scientists at Texas Tech to direct research, and purchasing mobile equipment to map wind flows and help design more efficient commercial wind farms.

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Renewable Energy Tax Credits