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United States

United States

Obama pushes for PTC extension

UNITED STATES: Barack Obama renewed his push for the permanent extension of the $0.023/kWh production tax credit (PTC) and 30% investment tax credit (ITC) as part of a $4 billion 2016 budget package.

It is not the first time the US president has moved to make the tax credits permanent, but to date he has had little success convincing Congress to go along. Most recently, lawmakers managed only a one-year extension to the end of 2014.

Speaking about the extension, Rob Gramlich, senior vice-president of government and public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association, said: "In releasing its proposed budget today, the White House clearly understands the benefits of wind having a long-term, stable tax policy in place. This has been a consistent part of the president's budget proposals.

"As he noted in his State of the Union address, the US is number one in the world in wind energy production. But in order to keep that position, Congress must act."

The combined price tag of extending the PTC and ITC is an estimated $31.5 billion over the next decade alone, according the budget documents.

The budget proposal also includes a $4 billion fund to encourage US states to make faster and deeper cuts to emissions from power plants and $7.4 billion to fund clean energy technology programmes.

About three quarters of that goes to the Department of Energy, including more than $710 million to increase the use of power from solar, wind, water, and geothermal energy while reducing the cost of these technologies, and $193 million to support grid modernisation and clean energy integration.

The president's plan, however, is only the first step in a long budgetary process that will see the Republican-led Congress push its own budgetary priorities, with the party expected to offer its own budget proposals this spring.

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