Renewable Energy Tax Credits Extended

January 9, 2013

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the investment tax credits will be extended through the end of the year under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was passed by Congress on January 1, 2013, and signed into law on January 2 by President Obama. The extension of the PTC, included in the bill to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff," would apply to all U.S. wind projects that start construction in 2013. In addition to the PTC, the law also covers investment tax credits for community and offshore wind projects.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said the incentives will allow continued growth for wind energy. Last year, the amount of wind energy installed in the United States comprised a record-setting 44% of all new U.S. electrical generating capacity, according to the Energy Information Administration and AWEA. See the White House Blog, the White House American Taxpayer Relief Act fact sheet, and the AWEA press release.

The law also includes geothermal, biomass, and hydropower tax credits as well as a range of other energy efficiency and renewable energy credits. For example, the law extends the biodiesel tax incentive for 2012 and 2013, which expired on December 31, 2011. The $1-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive was first implemented in 2005. According to a study conducted by Cardno ENTRIX, a consulting firm, the biofuel industry would support more than 112,000 jobs nationally in 2013 with the tax credit in place versus nearly 82,000 without it. See press releases from the National Biodiesel Board and the Geothermal Energy Association.

Also, the measure provides one-year tax credits for energy-efficient additions such as exterior windows, doors, and skylights which are eligible for the non-business energy property tax credit; alternative-fuel-vehicle refueling stations; a $2,500 tax credit for two-wheeled or three-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles; and construction of energy-efficient new homes and the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. See the text of the bill.