Thursday, February 23, 2012

Failed effort to extend tax credit program for wind projects - Greg Trimarche, CleanTech OC Board President

In mid-February 2012, a proposed deal in DC to renew the federal production tax credit for wind production (which provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents/kilowatt-hour for the production of electricity from wind turbines) failed.  (Wind proponents had tried to add the tax credit extension to the legislation extending payroll tax cuts, but effort failed as congressional leaders did not include it in that bill.)  There is still a possibility the extension for wind power tax credits could come through as a stand-alone bill or tied to other legislation, but Washington insiders say that is unlikely to happen before the election in November.  By then, the wind industry says it will be too late to avoid massive layoffs and project delays.  In order for developers to receive the tax credit, they must have their turbines up and running before year's end, and wind projects on the board for 2013 should be well into the planning and pre-construction stages by now.  Thus, the wind industry is predicting massive layoffs and a rash of stalled or abandoned projects.  Competition from cheap natural gas is also adding to the wind industry’s woes.

Feed-In Tariff for PV in Palo Alto Imminent
Palo Alto will soon have feed-in tariffs (FIT) if the City Council passes the program, which has been in development for the last few quarters. The program will be limited to medium and large commercial solar rooftops so as to reduce workload issues. The program is expected to pass on March 5.

New Enzyme Could Make Cellulosic Ethanol Competitive With Fossil Fuels
Huge fines prevented the creation of a market for cellulosic ethanol, but now a new high-efficient enzyme (called Cellic CTec3) from Danish industrial enzyme maker Novozymes  claims their enzyme will be available at a lower cost in 2012.