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By Samuel R. Avro on Jan 23, 2009 with no responses

House Energy Panel Approves ‘Green’ Stimulus Plan


An estimated $54 billion for environmentally sound energy projects was approved by a Congressional panel on Thursday, in an effort to help stimulate the economy.

The plan, approved 34-17 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, includes the transmission of wind-generated electricity, expanding efficiency and conservation projects, and insulating low-income homes.

The measure is expected to be voted on next week in the full House of Representatives.

Republicans and Democrats, however, were deeply divided on which sectors the money should be spent. The Republican attempts to include more loan guarantees for nuclear and clean coal technologies were rebuffed.

“This is a job stimulus bill, and there are literally 100,000 jobs that could be added if we increase our nuclear portfolio,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

Upton introduced an amendment which would make nuclear and clean coal power eligible for the loans by changing the language of the bill to further apply to “zero emissions energy.”

The Democrats would have no part in the plan, arguing that an investment in nuclear power would not immediately create the much needed stimulus to the economy.

“No amount of incentives will change the fact that no nuclear projects are ready,” said Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

Instead, the committee elected to go ‘green’-only with the approved plan.

The approved energy measure is a portion of the $825 billion economic stimulus plan.

Also approved, were $20 billion in energy tax credits and related financial incentives for inclusion in the economic stimulus package.

The legislation, approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, extends tax credits through 2010 for individuals that make energy-efficiency improvements to their homes. Homeowners would be eligible to receive a tax credit of up to $1,500, or 30 percent, of the amount they paid for energy-efficient furnaces, hot water boilers and other energy savings improvements.

Facilities that generate their electricity from renewable energy sources, such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar, would also be available for an extended tax break.