Today, the Senate extended the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy by a year in a near unanimous vote. With a very non-partisan show of support, Democratic member Maria Cantwell and Republican member John Ensign sponsored the bill that passed 88 to 8 in Congress. The bill provides a 2-cent per kilowatt hour tax credit to wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydropower provided the facility in question is online by the time the extension expires.
The solar energy got a boost as the bill increases Investment Tax Credits (ITC) by six years in the commercial sector and one year in the residential sector (previously they had lobbied for 8 and 6 years, respectively).
The House of Representative had already passed the bill multiple times when it provided that the tax credits were paid for by removing many tax credits to oil and gas companies. This bill was blocked by the Senate by one vote back in February. This bill is a prime example of where we currently stand in the fight over energy policy. Government has come around and continues to support renewable energy, but is not quite ready to wean us off of oil and gas. This struggle will not end anytime soon, nor will our dependence on fossil fuels.
Here is a link to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) take on the passage of the bill.
Here is a link to the Solar Energy Industries Association's (SEIA) take on its passage as well as a running dialogue on previous attempts to pass the bill.
And finally a link to the Citizen Power Alliance's letter to the Senate to prevent passage of the bill.