As the United States congress lingers in the lame duck session, a new bill is entered into the fray by Senator Max Baucus aiming to extend federal support across several renewable energy industry sectors.
The provisions are part of a bill which seeks to cut middle-class taxes. It provides an additional $2.5 billion in funding for the Section 48C tax credit. Section 48C was established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide a 30 percent investment tax credit for facilities engaged in the manufacture of advanced energy property.
Credits are available only for projects certified by the Secretary of Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, through a competitive bidding process.
Facilities can apply for tax credit under this section to develop renewable energy projects such as solar and wind power.
The bill will move the expiry date of the section 25C tax credit for energy-efficient property in existing homes to the end of 2011. This section provides a 30 percent tax incentive to energy-efficient upgrades to homes, with a credit ceiling of $1,500.
The proposal will also extend the 30 percent investment tax credit for alternative vehicle refueling programs until 2011.
Extended ethanol support
The bill also seeks to continue the subsidies and import tariffs for ethanol through 2011.
The ethanol blender’s credit currently provides a 45-cent incentive for each gallon of ethanol blended into gasoline. A tariff of 54 cents is also required for every gallon of ethanol imported into the country. Both provisions are slated to expire at the end of 2010.
The act aims to extend the provision at a reduced rate of 36 cents per gallon as well as the small producer’s credit at a rate of 8 cents per gallon.
It will also continue the existing tariff on imported ethanol, which is currently rated at 54 cents per gallon. A related 22.67 cent-per gallon tariff on ethyl tertiary-butyl ether will also be extended through 2011.
The bill also seeks to maintain other alternative fuel incentives such as a $1-per gallon production tax credit for biodiesel and the 10 cent-per gallon incentive for agri-biodiesel producers.
The Renewable Fuels Association welcomed Mr. Baucus’s move. “Senator Baucus’s approach is a good one, recognizing the importance of this investment and providing some market stability as good faith efforts to responsibly reform ethanol tax policy continue,” the association representing the ethanol industry said.