PTC passes with $700 billion stabilization package

The renewable energy production tax credit (PTC), set to expire at the end of 2008, was passed by the U.S. Senate, House and president as part of the government's emergency economic stabilization package.

The renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC), both of which were set to expire this year and had spent much of the year in legislative limbo, found an unlikely coattail on which to ride to passage in the U.S. Congress last week. The U.S. Senate attached legislation that would renew the PTC and ITC to the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 -- the U.S. federal "bailout" bill designed to prop up struggling banking and credit institutions. The Senate added the PTC/ITC legislation as an incentive for the House of Representatives, which followed the Senate's lead and passed the measure, which was followed almost immediately by President Bush's signature.

The PTC applies mostly to wind energy production, has been credited for much of the growth in wind energy projects in the U.S. over the last decade, and was renewed for one year; it now will expire on Dec. 31, 2009. The ITC applies primarily to solar energy production facilities and was renewed for eight years.

Greg Wetstone, senior director of Governmental and Public Affairs at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA, Washington, D.C.), said, “We salute Members of Congress in both parties who fought under difficult conditions to keep the renewable energy production tax credit and small turbine investment tax credit on the agenda until the very end, and then pushed them across the finish line. These tax credits are essential to the continued growth of wind energy, to the economic and energy security of the United States, and to a successful beginning in the fight against global warming. We look forward to working next year with a new Congress and Administration to fashion a serious long-term clean energy policy that increases domestic energy, increases our reliance on clean renewable energy, and creates jobs for Americans.”