PASCRELL, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE PASSES GREEN ENERGY INCENTIVES PACKAGE
Advancing America toward an energy independent future, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, today voted to pass H.R. 2776, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Act through the committee process so that it may be considered before the full House of Representatives.
The legislation would provide approximately $16 billion in incentives for renewable energy production and conservation efforts.
"The Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Act will give consumers, states and local governments immediate and tangible incentives to help America lead the way in ending wasteful energy consumption habits. It is a critically important bill and a fiscally responsible environmental imperative. I applaud my colleagues for working cooperatively toward passing this comprehensive energy independence package."
Pascrell was active in working with the committee to include a measure that would allow electric utilities to depreciate smart meters over a five year period. A smart meter is an automated electronic metering device that Pascrell hopes will soon replace outdated home and business electricity meters. Smart meters would allow consumers remote readings on an hourly basis, rather than once a month, giving them real-time access to their energy usage information.
"Smart meters have the potential to forever change the way Americans consume energy. The science and technology to enable intelligent energy consumption has arrived. Today the committee demonstrated a will to empower consumers with the tools to make the most environmentally and fiscally responsible decisions regarding their energy usage." stated Pascrell.
According to the Government Accountability Office and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, widespread adoption of smart metering technologies would save American consumers billions of dollars in electricity costs.
"The benefit of smart meter technology is twofold. It will help America conserve energy, and help families save a few bucks each month on their electric bills. Smart meter technology is a win-win formula that I will continue to push through Congress," stated Pascrell.
Renewable energy production incentives within the bill include investment tax credits for solar energy and fuel cell properties. The bill also removes a cap on credits for residential solar and fuel cell property owners and allows the credit to be used to offset the alternative minimum tax (AMT). It authorizes $2 billion in new clean renewable energy bonds that would be provided to qualified wind, biomass, geothermal, irrigation hydropower, landfill gas, and trash combustion facilities.
Conservation incentives include fringe benefits for bicycle commuters, deductions for energy-efficient buildings, and the extension of energy-efficient appliance tax credits.
New Jersey alone stands to benefit from $172,300,000 in new energy conservation and residential efficiency bonds. The newly created Qualified Energy Conservation Bond Program would extend $103,400,000 in tax credits for states and municipalities to promote green community program initiatives that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the Residential Energy Efficiency Bond Program would provide $68,900,000 in new tax credit bonds for states to implement long-term programs that will provide consumers with low-interest loans and grants for energy efficient property and efficiency improvements to existing homes.
"The new tax incentives approved today will help state and local governments fulfill their shared responsibility to promote conservation. I urge state and local official to be vigorous in their support of the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Act . Garden State communities stand to benefit tremendously from the conservation and efficiency bonds approved in the Ways and Means Committee today."