Senators back tax credits for clean technology, energy storage

WASHINGTON 11/15/11 (PennWell) -- U.S. senators have introduced bills to provide tax credits for U.S. manufacture of clean energy technology and for investment in energy storage technologies including hydropower.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., introduced the Make it in America Tax Credit Act, S.1764, Oct. 31 that would provide an additional $5 billion for the Advanced Manufacturers Tax Credit program. The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

The National Hydropower Association applauded the move, saying it would bolster clean energy manufacturing in the United States.

"As more and more developers look to construct all forms of hydropower throughout the country, ensuring manufacturing is done here will help us tap over 1 million new U.S. jobs in the hydropower industry," NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci said. "NHA has previously supported various congressional efforts to provide additional allocations to the program."

NHA also hailed introduction Nov. 10 of the Storage Technology for Renewable and Green Energy Act, S.1845, by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.

The bill would provide a 20 percent investment tax credit up to $40 million for energy storage systems that are connected to the electric grid and a 30 percent investment tax credit of up to $1 million to businesses and homeowners for on-site storage projects.

"The missing piece of the renewable energy debate has always been how to make those technologies reliable when the sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow," Wyden said. "Technologies that not only store energy to cover for intermittent output but also make the existing grid more efficient could be the very thing renewable energy technologies need to break through to the mainstream."

NHA's Church Ciocci said expansion of the investment tax credit to provide an incentive for energy storage technologies, including pumped-storage hydropower, is vital as variable renewable resources are brought on line.

"Pumped storage is an essential solution for grid reliability, providing one of the few large-scale, affordable means of storing and deploying electricity," the NHA official said. "A study by Navigant completed in 2010 found that we could bring 24,000 MW of pumped-storage capacity on line by 2025, with policies such as the STORAGE act in place."

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