Responding to concerns from Congressional democrats, Barack Obama has reportedly doubled, to $25 billion, his commitment to renewable energy tax credits and incentives proposed in his fiscal stimulus package.
Principal elements under consideration in the package include an $8.6 billion, two-year extension of the renewable energy production tax credit, tax credits for gas stations that install ethanol pumps, extending the biodiesel credit (pdf), and a $7500 tax credit for plug-in vehicles.
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The plan could also include a tax credit for coal-fired power plants that capture more than half of their carbon emissions, or at least could be retrofitted to do so “later” (it’s not exactly clear to me why the credit should be given until the carbon is actually sequestered).
The Washington Post also reported the package may establish a federally funded National Clean Energy Lending Authority; an idea proposed by Republican Representative Zach Wamp of Tennessee and Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen from Maryland. Funded with $10 to $20 billion in federal funds, the agency would extend low interest loans and guarantees for renewable energy projects to help push private capital.
“A new sheriff in town”
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning, president-elect Obama said,
“We’re going to have a collaborative, consultative process with Congress over the next few days. If people have better ideas on certain provisions we welcome that.”
Many Democrats see Obama’s recent actions as making good on his call for collaboration and ideas. It also sends a clear signal that “there’s a new sheriff in town”.
BloggingStocks.com talked with economist Peter Dawson, who said that the energy discussions between Congress and the incoming president make evident Obama’s “Washington savvy” as well as his firm intention to change the tone of federal energy policy:
“Obama knows oil as a primary energy source is not going away anytime soon, and it’s just not practical to think it won’t be used. But at the same time, he knows other energy sources, especially renewables, must displace oil in the U.S. for economic, national security, and environmental reason(s), so he’s moving aggressively to speed the arrival of that day. After eight years of energy policy stagnation, it’s a refreshing change in Washington and one oil companies need to pay attention to.”
‘Bye, bye Dick Cheney.
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