Obama promises to make renewable energy tax breaks permanent

US President Barack Obama has promised a raft of business tax reforms that include making tax credits for renewable energy generation permanent.

Renewable energy programmes in the US benefit from the Production Tax Credit (PTC), but the scheme is scheduled to cease in 2013.

Numerous renewable energy generators including Vestas have warned that the end of the PTC would deal a major blow to the industry.

In a statement, the Treasury Department said the tax reform would “provide a strong, consistent incentive to encourage investments in renewable energy technologies”.

The proposals would also reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 28% overall and to 25% for manufacturing. ‘Advanced’ manufacturing would benefit from an even lower rate.

“As we expand manufacturing in the US, the tax code should encourage doing so in way that is sustainable and that puts the US in the lead in manufacturing the clean energy technologies of the future,” says the Treasury’s statement.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2013 budget of $27.2 billion, outlined last week by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, puts the emphasis on innovation, job creation and energy security.

The budget request specifically highlights investment in cross-cutting research in clean energy technologies and reducing the costs of solar power to make it “affordable for all Americans”.

But despite that emphasis, the budget includes requests for $770 million for nuclear energy and $276 million for advanced fossil fuel power systems and carbon capture technology.

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Related stories:
US venture capital investment in clean tech falls 4.5% to $4.9 billion (3-Feb)
US wind installations soared 31% in 2011 (31-Jan)
Obama outlines “all-out” energy strategy in State of the Union Address (25-Jan)
Vestas to lay off 2335 employees to cut costs (13-Jan)

24 February 2012