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Geothermal industry calls for US tax credit extension

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has submitted a statement to the Select Revenue Measures and Oversight subcommittees in the US calling for the extension of the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC).

By Kari Williamson

The US geothermal market has grown from 2737 MW of installed baseload capacity in 2005 to 3102 MW in 2010. Going forward even more projects are under development, and there are geothermal projects under development in some 15 states.

Tax incentives for geothermal energy expire at the end of 2013. But this may not be enough time for many geothermal projects, which are counting on the incentives. These projects typically require between four and 8 years to complete, GEA says.

“We respectfully urge that geothermal tax credits be extended to provide continued support for new project development and the deployment of new geothermal energy technology,” GEA says in its submission.

“Our nation has among the world’s most promising geothermal energy resources, but without the support of long-term tax incentives, we will not see the investment necessary to develop this invaluable domestic source of baseload renewable energy.”

In the existing tax code, geothermal incentives expire at the end of 2013, but for solar energy the 30% Investment Tax Credit runs through 2016. In this Congress, legislation has been introduced to address the disparity by extending the 30% ITC for geothermal to 2016 as well.

H.R. 2408 was sponsored by Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), while in the Senate, Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced identical legislation (S. 1413).

“We understand that a principal reason for providing solar projects the 2016 deadline was the long lead-times expected for concentrated solar power projects,” GEA says. “We believe that geothermal projects, with considerably longer lead times than currently faced by solar projects, warrant a comparable time frame.”

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