On October 3, the President signed H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, into law. At long last, the fight for the extension of several key efficiency and renewable energy tax incentives - some of which were due to expire at the end of 2008 - has been won after numerous votes in both the Senate and House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the extension of these clean renewable energy tax incentives "will create and save half a million good-paying paying jobs in America immediately." Unfortunately, some incentives for high carbon fuels (oil shale, tar sands, etc.) were included in this package as well.
Some highlights of the energy package include:
- One year extension of production tax credit for wind and refined coal . Allows hydrokinetic energy and new bioenergy facilities to qualify for the credit.
- Eight year extension of the 30 percent investment tax credit for both residential and commercial solar installations. Provision eliminates the $2,000 cap on the credit for residential solar electric installations.
- Addition of investment tax credit for residential small wind (capped at $4,000) and geothermal heat pumps (capped at $2,000).
- One year extension of $1 per gallon biodiesel tax incentive. Closes "splash and dash" loophole (fuel produced outside the country, brought to the United States to blend with biodiesel, and then shipped for use in another country no longer qualifies for the tax incentive).
- Establishment of a tax credit for the purchase of plug-in electric drive vehicles . These credits are capped at $7,500-$15,000, depending on the battery capacity and size of the vehicle.
- Extension of various tax credits for insulation and window upgrades, energy efficient appliances, and energy efficient heating or cooling systems.
- Acceleration of depreciation for smart meters and smart grid systems .
- Authorization of $800 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) to finance facilities that generate electricity from wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, and other renewable energy sources.