NewEnergyNews: SILICON VALLEY LOBBIES CONGRESS FOR NEW ENERGY

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    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    SILICON VALLEY LOBBIES CONGRESS FOR NEW ENERGY

    Federal incentives that would sustain the growth of New Energy will expire at the end of 2008 if Congress does nothing to extend them. These measures will again come before the House on or about February 27 and are expected to fare as well as they did in the 2007 energy bill. They will then move to the Senate, where they are expected to die ignominiously, as they did in the 2007 energy bill.

    Supporters of New Energy all over the country are planning anything and everything they can to break the impasse created by a minority of recalcitrant Senators representing less than half the U.S. population. The sticking point is that Congress would pay for the New Energy incentives by rolling back subsidies and tax breaks for the fossil fuel industries that the NY Times called “…wholly unnecessary…”

    With quarter after quarter of oil and gas industry record profits, it is hard to understand how that industry still requires tax breaks written for it in darker days.

    The Senators’ recalcitrance on New Energy “may” therefore have something to do with one of two things: Either their states rely on fossil fuel industries (coal or oil and gas) or their states have big utilities that rely on fossil fuel industries. In either case, the Senators “may” depend on the fossil fuel industries and big utilities for campaign contributions. Such Senators “may” be strongly influenced by the fossil fuel industries’ Neanderthal attitudes toward New Energy.

    The article below cites efforts by Silicon Valley leaders to talk some sense into the recalcitrant Senators. Unfortunately, it is not reason these Senators are under the influence of.

    Senators Obama and Clinton are entirely behind efforts to extend the New Energy incentives. Senator McCain, who has in the past been a supporter of New Energy when he could, appears in this instance to be hamstrung by the Republican base. An effort to put the incentives into the recent economic stimulus package fell one vote short while Senator McCain avoided coming to the Senate to vote.

    Insiders speculate that if the incentives expire, New Energy development in the U.S. will be put on hold and growth will shift to Europe, Japan and other countries where there are incentives and supportive government policies.


    Effects of the House energy bill. (click to enlarge)

    Extension of tax credits for ‘green’ energy pushed; Incentive Programs Are Due To Expire At End Of Year
    Frank Davies, February 21, 2008 (San Jose Mercury News)

    WHO
    American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE, 500 companies and groups from Google to Silicon Valley “clean tech” players to small New Energy start-ups), Michael Eckhart, president

    WHAT
    ACORE sent a letter to Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders asserting the importance of the investment tax credits (ITCs) and production tax credits (PTCs) for New Energy that will expire without legislative action.

    The American Council of Renewable Energy (ACORE) means business. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    The ITCs and PTCs will expire at the end of 2008 if Congress does not act.
    An energy bill will come to the floor of the House of Representatives on or about February 27 proposing to extend the credits and provide other incentives for New Energy.

    WHERE
    As written in pending House legislation, financing of the tax credits would come from cuts to fossil fuel industry subsidies and tax breaks.

    WHY
    - Letter signatories: William Weihl, green energy "czar," Google; John Geesman, former commissioner, California Energy Commission; John Doerr and John Denniston, partners, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers.
    - The energy bill coming up in the House will extend some tax credits through 2011 and others through 2016. They will incentivize construction of wind, solar and other energy systems, incentivize the purchase of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and efficient appliances and encourage gas stations to install pumps for biofuels.
    - The bill would roll back tax breaks on domestic oil and gas production and on taxes paid by oil and gas companies on foreign production.

    Taking it to the government is one of the key purposes of ACORE. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Michael Eckhart, president, American Council on Renewable Energy: "Lead time and certainty are essential when a business is investing in a renewable system that might not be operating for three years…"
    - David Kopans, director, Fat Spaniel Technologies: "The presidential candidates are speaking about it, and it has become a hot-button issue; that should help us…The investment tax credit is one of the fundamental drivers of our industry…"

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