Congress Wraps up the Year with Energy Efficiency Gifts to America
Omnibus Appropriations and Tax Extenders Legislation Includes Energy Efficiency Provisions that Benefit Consumers, Businesses and the Environment
Today, Congress delivered an early gift of energy efficiency tax incentives to help American consumers and businesses invest in products and technologies that will return energy and dollar savings. The omnibus appropriations and tax extenders bill approved by Congress reinstates and extends until 2016 a tax incentive of up to $500 for families that purchase qualifying energy efficiency products; provides home builders and/or manufacturers up to $2,000 for building energy efficient homes; provides a tax deduction to encourage efficiency upgrades of commercial buildings; and, makes permanent the tax credit for investments in research and development. “Energy efficiency is the gift that keeps on giving and with Congress’s action today, American families and businesses will have even more reason to make efficiency upgrades and investments since the “up-front” cost will be lowered through the availability of tax incentives,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan upon passage of the bill.
The omnibus bill also includes a modest increase in spending for Department of Energy (DOE) work to advance energy efficiency across the economy. The bill allocates $2.07 billion for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), an increase of $149 million above FY 15 enacted funds. Of particular note, important programs like the Building Technologies Office, the Advanced Manufacturing Office and the Vehicle Technologies Office all received substantial funding increases, of 17 percent, 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively, over FY 15 levels. “Additional funding better positions DOE to fulfill its mission to make our economy more energy-productive,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan but she added, “Congress should double funding to energy efficiency programs administered by the DOE in the coming fiscal year as each public dollar invested not only saves money and energy but also benefits our environment.”
“Passage of legislation that advances energy efficiency gives me great hope that in the coming year we will witness an “outbreak” of passage of bipartisan bills that put in place national energy efficiency policies, programs and funding,” said Callahan, adding “The most obvious (and overdue) way for Congress to continue to do right by consumers and businesses would be to pass the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, S. 720/H.R. 2177 as a first act in the New Year.”