Tax Credits for ‘Green Energy Technology’ Include Solar Power and Electric Cars

By Penny Starr | August 13, 2009 | 6:54 PM EDT

( - Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday that $2.3 billion in tax credits are now available for American manufacturers that produce “clean energy” equipment. The money is part of the $787 billion “stimulus” bill that President Obama signed in February.
Critics of the program say that the credits subsidize businesses that are not competitive in the free market.
“It’s not enough to just rescue the economy, we have to rebuild it better – and that work begins with giving American manufacturers the resources to produce the clean, green energy technology that will be the foundation of our 21st century economy,” Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
“With the launch today of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act tax credits for green manufacturers, we are going to ramp up manufacturing of green energy materials in this country, while creating thousands of new jobs right here in our own backyard,” said Biden.
“From wind and solar power to electric vehicle technology, our recovery is going to be fueled by the Recovery Act incentives we are offering businesses today that will be the engine of our economy tomorrow,” Biden said.
The 30 percent tax credit will be available to manufacturers that produce such things as solar, wind, and geothermal energy equipment, electric cars and equipment that captures and sequesters carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
“This program will help encourage innovation in design of clean energy technologies,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, according to an announcement released by the Treasury Department.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu also lauded the program.
“These tax credits will help create thousands of high quality manufacturing jobs in some of the highest growth segments of the economy,” said Chu in the press release. “This is an opportunity to develop our global leadership in clean energy manufacturing and build a secure, sustained base of jobs for America’s workers.”
But Ben Lieberman, senior policy analyst for energy and environmental issues at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said giving tax advantages to targeted businesses creates artificial competition in the marketplace.
“It’s a way of subsidizing certain industries,” Lieberman told
He cited the high energy costs and unemployment in Western Europe where an alternative energy agenda has been more aggressively pushed than in the United States.
Lieberman also pointed to the example of California, a state that has led the way in carbon-emissions restrictions and taxes with disastrous results.
“In California, the economy tanked, and the middle class is fleeing,” Lieberman said. “It’s a cautionary tale.”