SCENARIOS-US lawmakers may tackle energy in lame duck session

Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:22pm GMT
 

By Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON Nov 15 (Reuters) - A handful of energy tax credits could be extended when the U.S. Congress returns this week, but most energy legislation -- from renewables to climate -- will be punted to 2011.

Ethanol producers, along with the solar and wind industries, are pushing lawmakers to extend tax credits that are set to expire at the end of this year.

Supporters of the tax breaks feel they have a better shot of getting them extended this week during a "lame duck" session -- the period between the November elections and the start of a new Congress in January -- than with the next Congress, which will include newly-elected Tea Party Republicans who want to cut the deficit and may target tax breaks.

The fate of the energy tax credits could be tied to a deal between President Barack Obama and Republicans over Bush-era personal income tax cuts.

"A compromise on the Bush tax cuts increases the likelihood that expired and expiring energy taxes could be extended before year end," analysts at Robert W. Baird & Co. said in a research note.

Here are energy tax credits and other energy issues that could be addressed during the lame duck session.

SOLAR, WIND MAY GET NEW LIFE (possible)

Solar and wind developers, like First Solar (FSLR.O: Quote) and NextEra Energy (NEE.N: Quote), can get cash rebates for up to 30 percent of cost of projects that begin construction by the end of this year. Extending the tax break is vital for new business as private sector financing is still difficult to obtain, according to solar and wind company executives.   Continued...

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