U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) have introduced legislation that would create jobs by encouraging the manufacture of renewable energy technologies in the United States.
The senators’ American Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership Act extends the life of a successful tax credit that allows companies to write off 30 percent of the cost of creating, expanding, or re-equipping facilities to manufacture renewable energy technologies, like solar panels, wind turbines, and advanced batteries.
The legislation expands an innovative tax incentive first created at Bingaman’s urging in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Act authorized the Departments of Energy and the Treasury to award up to $2.3 billion in tax credits. But due to an unexpectedly high number of applicants, that program will run out of funds by mid-January. The senators’ American Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership Act (S. 2857) would provide an additional $2.5 billion in tax credits, enough to leverage $8.33 billion in new domestic investment.
“This tax incentive has been so successful that President Obama himself called on Congress to extend it, so that more companies can take advantage of it and create jobs,” Bingaman said. “Currently, the United States runs an annual ‘green trade deficit’ of almost $9 billion. But the United States should be the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of clean energy technology. This tax incentive will help us move toward that goal.”
“With all the talk about green jobs these days, it can be confusing to figure out just what a green job is. Well, this legislation promotes green jobs where they matter the most, in the domestic advanced energy manufacturing sector. Renewable energy is a rapidly growing field, and we’re joining together today to ensure that the United States maintains leadership in the development and manufacture of the best energy technologies, while keeping our nation on the competitive cutting edge,” Hatch said.
“In order to turn our economy around and create jobs, we need to build the clean energy technology of the future here in America. Otherwise, we will lose the race with other countries and see those jobs go overseas,” said Stabenow. “This manufacturing tax credit, which I co-authored in the recovery act, has already spurred interest to invest in advanced energy projects such as wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable resources across the country. It has also set aside critical funding for companies manufacturing technologies for the next generation of advanced vehicles. This initiative is central to any jobs package, and I am pleased to partner with my Senate colleagues to introduce legislation that will help put our economy back on track.”
“With one in ten Hoosiers unemployed and many more underemployed, job creation must be a first priority. Extending the Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit is a fiscally-responsible way of helping American workers and businesses use our manufacturing expertise to lead in new energy technology production,” Lugar said.
Until ARRA was enacted in February, all domestic tax incentives focused exclusively on business and consumer tax credits to encourage the use of such technology as solar panels. The 30 percent tax credit – created first in ARRA and proposed for expansion through the American Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership Act -- for the first time incentivized companies to manufacture clean technologies in the United States.
The American Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership Act was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. Bingaman, Hatch and Stabenow are members of that committee. Bingaman also chairs the Finance Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources & Infrastructure, and plans to convene a hearing in 2010 on tax incentives for energy manufacturing.
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