U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., along with co-sponsors Sens. George LeMieux, R-Fla.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., have proposed extending a program proven to create clean energy jobs and help diversify the nation's energy mix. The proposal would extend Section 1603 of the Clean Energy Treasury Grant Program (TGP) through the end of 2012.
Set to expire at the end of this year, the Treasury Grant Program (TGP) was created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to promote and maintain strong growth in the renewable energy sector during tough economic times. The program provides cash grants in lieu of tax credits for renewable energy projects.
The amendment also would make nonprofit power producers eligible for the TGP. These non-tax-paying public power producers and rural electric co-ops are currently excluded from receiving grants under the program.
‘The evidence is clear that the Treasury Grant Program is one of the most successful in the entire 2009 stimulus bill in terms of incentivizing industry to invest in renewable energy alternatives,’ says Cantwell. ‘Extending this program for another two years will create tens of thousands of jobs and enable enough renewable power to come online to power millions of homes. This bipartisan amendment is fully paid for, and along with a predictable price on carbon, will jump-start America's urgently needed transition to a cleaner, more diverse 21st century energy economy.’
In a letter sent to the full U.S. Senate, BCSE President Lisa Jacobson urged the inclusion of the Cantwell-LeMieux amendment within the tax extenders bill expected to be considered by the Senate this week, arguing that the extension and expansion of the TGP is crucial to the creation of U.S. jobs and the growth of clean energy manufacturing and generation through 2012.
In addition to the BCSE, the amendment is supported by the American Wind Energy Association, Geothermal Energy Association, National Hydropower Association, Solar Energy Industries Association, Large Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and others.