U.S. lawmakers approved $1.8 trillion worth of federal spending and tax breaks today in a bipartisan action. The Senate voted 65-33 to approve sweeping legislation that averted a government shutdown, locked in billions of dollars of tax breaks and scrapped a 40-year-old ban on the export of U.S. oil, according to a Reuters report.
The package includes multi-year extensions of solar and wind tax credits, plus one-year extensions for a range of other renewable energy technologies. The 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar will be extended for another three years. It will then ramp down incrementally through 2021, and remain at 10 percent permanently beginning in 2022, Greentech Media reported.
The 2.3-cent Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind will also be extended through next year, according to the report. Projects that begin construction in 2017 will see a 20 percent reduction in the incentive. The PTC will then drop 20 percent each year through 2020.
Industry leaders and others reacted to the news favorably, saying the multi-year extension supplies their companies with a level of predictability needed to keep U.S. factories open while adding new wind projects to the pipeline:
“Pattern will be expanding its project development for the coming year because of the PTC extension. Having PTCs for five years will allow us to make more supply commitments and build more projects, creating more jobs. It also allows us to work with the turbine vendors to lower the cost of our projects and minimize the economic impact of phasing down of the credits.” -- Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy and Chairman of the Board for AWEA.