Friday, September 19, 2008

The Senate is expected to Vote on Bill HR 6899

While looking into ways to reduce my energy bills since my electrical bill has doubled in five years, and my home heating cost has tripled, I came across some interesting information concerning federal tax credits for renewable energy.
The House of Representatives has voted and approved energy bill HR6899 and has sent the bill over to the Senate where it awaits approval. The Senate is expected to vote on extending the tax credits for wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy. These tax credits are all set to expire at the end of the year. With the price of heating oil at approximately $4 per gallon, Congress and the next president meed to develop an energy policy that will cut U.S. reliance on foreign oil.

The proposed bill would extend the tax credits for producing electricity from wind energy for one year, and other renewable sources of energy such as solar, geothermal and wave energy for two years. Businesses would get a 30% tax credit for 8 years for investing in wind, solar, geothermal and ocean energy. Homeowners would get a 30% tax credit for 8years toward the cost of installing solar equipment on their homes. The tax credits will be paid for by eliminating the 18 million dollars in tax breaks to the oil companies who have had record profits as a result of the high cost for a barrel of oil. Once the Senate passes the bill, it goes to the President to sign. This part will be tough because some of the president's senior advisers have indicated that they will recommend that the president veto the bill.
Here is a brief discussion of some of the more popular sources of renewable energy:
  • Solar Energy is the conversion of sunlight into electricity through solar cells or photovoltaic.
  • Wind Energy is the conversion of the energy of the wind into electricity though wind turbines.
  • Biomass refers to the use of biological material, both living and dead, in order to generate electricity or fuel.
  • Geothermal Energy is the use of heat that is generated by the Earth for heating and air conditioning.
  • Wave Energy refers to the energy of the ocean's surface wave to produce electricity.

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