JULY 2008

Senate blocks renewable energy incentives and tax breaks
The Senate has now failed to pass two such bills

The United States Senate blocked more than $50 billion in tax credits for renewable energy and research in June.

In a 50-44 vote, the Senate ended the debate and voted on two bills that would have revoked tax breaks for oil companies and extended tax credits to renewable energy businesses.

The first bill would have repealed tax breaks for major oil and gas companies, estimated at a value of $17 billion over the next 10 years and suspend filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve through the end of 2008. The bill, the Consumer First Energy Act, would also have levied a 25 percent tax on “windfall profits” of major oil companies. The tax dollars generated would have been invested in the Energy Independence and Security Act Trust Fund. Companies could avoid the tax by investing in renewable energy. This bill fell short by a vote of 51-43.

The Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 was the second bill that the Senate failed to pass. This $54 billion bill would have extended tax breaks for renewable energy set to expire at the end of 2008. The bill would have extended the investment tax credit for solar energy for six years; a three-year extension for biomass, geothermal, hydropower, landfill gas, and solid waste; and a one-year extension of the tax credit for wind energy.

Funding for the tax credits would have come from closing loopholes for hedge fund managers and multinational corporations.