New bill seeks to revive expired energy-efficient tax credits

At the end of last year, federal tax credits that were available for energy efficiency equipment and improvements expired, despite pleas from those in the environmental industry. Now, a new bill in the Senate from Oregon Democrat  Ron Wyden seeks to revive those credits for those individuals who want to take advantage of them.

The tax extenders bill was first proposed last week by Wyden, who is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. It would incentivize the production of biofuels and other energy-efficient measures for both residential homes and vehicles. It does not, however, include production tax credits (PTC) for renewable electricity sources – such as wind, hydropower and geothermal energy – despite President Obama wanting to make PTC renewal a strong part of his 2015 federal budget.

Senator Wyden's bill would make tax credits available for a whole host of energy-efficient upgrades. These include construction of new efficient homes, plug-in electric cars, fuel cell cars and production of renewable diesel. Wyden's proposed legislation seeks to make funding these projects easier, as he believes reducing our country's energy consumption is a crucial process for the future.

A committee aide working with Senator Wyden said that it is likely the bipartisan bill will include a PTC renewal amendment in its final draft, despite not being included in its initial form. The National Resources Defense Council said Wyden's bill is an excellent way to help open up a broader conversation of what tax credits should be offered to the general population.

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