A vote by the U.S. Senate Tuesday nixed another attempt by the renewable energy industry to pass a long-awaited incentive package.
By a vote of 50-44, the Senate stopped the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 from advancing to the floor for consideration. The bill needed 60 votes to stay alive.
The bill, H.R. 6049, would have extended a series of production and investment tax credits that are set to expire at the end of the year. The multi-year incentives have helped fuel renewable energy research and commercialization.
The bill was the latest attempt by industry leaders and supporters to keep the incentive program going (see Solar Industry’s Five-Step Plan, Solar Sharpens Weapons for Incentive Battle and Senate Rejects Green Incentives to Pass Energy Bill). The House passed its version by a 263-160 vote on May 21.
Republicans and Democrats again couldn’t agree on the extent of the various incentives. The bill would have extended the tax credits from one year – in the case of wind production – to six years for solar investment. The Senate bill also would have provided tax relief for carbon dioxide reduction, biofuel and plug-in electric car projects.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which has worked on several previous legislation to get extend the incentive program, plans to try again in the next few weeks, said Monique Hanis, a spokeswoman for SEIA.
“There is a tremendous bi-partisan support for solar and renewable energy, research and development tax credits and other pieces of the bill,” Hanis said.
If necessary, the association will push for a bill that would extend the current incentives for one year.