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Press Release of Senator Cantwell
Cantwell Introduces New Legislation to Level Playing Field for Renewable Energy
Plan would extend and enhance incentives to curb emissions and fossil fuel use, encourage energy efficient buildings and renewable energy power plants
Friday, May 11,2007
WASHINGTON, DC - Friday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced comprehensive legislation to level the playing field for new energy technologies. Her bipartisan bill would help renewable energy compete with fossil fuels by using enhanced tax credits to encourage increased investment in renewable technologies. It would improve efficiency, make clean energy generation more cost-competitive, and reduce America's fossil fuel consumption.
"Green technology shouldn't be left behind any longer," said Cantwell. "Encouraging private investment in renewable energy is an indispensable part of reducing emissions and curbing our overdependence on fossil fuels. To get consumers better technology and cleaner, more renewable, more efficient energy options, we need predictable federal incentives to encourage investment."
Cantwell's legislation would provide predictable federal tax incentives for the construction of energy efficient homes and power plants, and encourage broader use of more efficient materials and technologies.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and John Kerry (D-MA), and endorsed by the Washington Public Utility Districts Association, the American Forest Resource Council, the American Public Power Association, the Biomass Investment Group, Energy Northwest, the Large Public Power Council, the Northwest Public Power Association, the Solar Energy Industry Association, USA Biomass Power Producers Alliance, the National Hydropower Association, Seattle City Light, TechNet, and several Washington state Public Utility Districts.
The legislation introduced by Cantwell Friday is part of a comprehensive package of bill's she's backing to achieve greater energy independence and save consumers money on energy costs. Legislation backed by Cantwell would improve the fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks, ban gas price gouging, boost our domestic biofuels industry, and increase the availability of flex-fuel vehicles and biofuel pumps.
Cantwell's Clean Energy Investment Assurance Act would:
-Extend the renewable electricity production credit through 2013; this credit, currently set to expire next year, provides an incentive for businesses and utilities to diversify their sources of energy and promote energy production using biomass, wind power, hydropower, geothermal power, and other clean, renewable resources; this bill also levels the playing field by providing an incentive to both thermal energy production and electricity production that use renewable resources, and modifies the tax credit to increase the incentive effect for all renewable technologies that produce zero carbon emissions
-Extend and expand the Clean Renewable Energy Bond (CREB) program; these bonds provide public power systems with interest-free borrowing for renewable energy projects, offering consumer-owned utilities a benefit comparable to tax credits provided to private utilities; the legislation extends bonding authority through 2013 and also increases the amount of bonds that utilities can issue
-Extend until 2017 the 30-percent tax credit for the purchase of residential solar power, solar water heating, and fuel cell equipment, and qualified energy storage air conditioner property
-Extend until 2017 the 30-percent business tax credit for investments in solar energy equipment, fuel cell power plants, and qualified energy storage air conditioner property
-Extend until 2013 the tax credit for the construction of new energy-efficient homes
-Extend through 2013 the deduction for investments in energy efficient commercial buildings to reduce annual energy and power consumption; the legislation would also increase the value of the deduction from $1.80 to $2.25 per square foot
-Extend until 2013 the 10 percent investment tax credit for the cost of energy efficient materials used in the construction of buildings; the credit would also apply to energy efficient heating, cooling, ventilating, and lighting; the legislation would modify existing law to base incentives on performance rather than cost
-Provide a faster write-off for investments in new "smart meters;" these smart meters would be eligible for five-year cost recovery, meaning that the cost of the device could be deducted in its entirety over a five-year period; currently, these meters are treated the same at traditional meters, with the deduction spread over a 20-year span; this 20-year span acts as a disincentive for taxpayers to upgrade their meters and benefit from the resulting energy savings
For a more detailed summary of the legislation visit Cantwell's website at: http://cantwell.senate.gov/news/Clean_Energy_Investment_Assurance.doc