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Extension of key renewable energy financing program in doubt

The extension of a government treasury program that supports financing for renewable energies is looking more and more doubtful, according to members of Congress.

Speaking at the American Council on Renewable Energy’s policy forum last week, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) was “guardedly optimistic” about extension of the Treasury 1603 Program by years’ end.

The program, set to expire on December 31, reimburses companies for a part of the cost of renewable energy installations in lieu of tax credits.

“There are some vehicles in which we could include the 1603 provisions,” Udall said. “We have a harder job than we’ve ever had because we really do have to continue this conversation as to how we pay for tax incentives and subsidies and credits.”

A solar installation at Copper Mountain. Photo Credit: First Solar

But according to Environmental Finance, Representative Charles Bass (R-NH) says Treasury 1603 is the  “the most difficult and least likely” program to be extended. As Congress battles of the extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits, Bass thinks Treasury 1603 is “not going to get extended this month.”

Supporters of the program recently sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging for extension of the program. The letter argued that letting the program expire will decrease financing available for energy projects by 52 percent over the next year, while extending the program for a year will create an additional 37,000 jobs in the solar industry alone.

In a blog post on the National Journal, President & CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association Rhone Resch wrote that waiting until even early next year “will have a severe impact immediately. Make no mistake – if 1603 is not extended by the end of this month, projects are going to be cancelled, businesses are going to cut new investments, and jobs are going to be lost.”


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