(GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA) --- U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) announced today he will introduce major energy legislation to promote the development of renewable energy and hydrogen fuel cell technology. Dorgan said the bills are meant to boost new research, spur economic growth, and work toward American energy independence. Dorgan announced the new bills at the 2005 Renewable Energy in the Upper Midwest Conference, which he sponsored with the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC).
One of his bills will provide a five-year extension of the soon-to-expire production tax credit (PTC) for facilities that generate electricity from renewable energy sources. The bill also encourages additional development of renewable energy by allowing tax-exempt rural cooperatives, municipal utilities, and others to benefit from the credit.
“The renewable energy production tax credit has been a big boost to getting new energy technologies off the ground in North Dakota and across rural America,” Dorgan said. “Extending the credit for five years will give investors and developers the certainty they need to move forward with major projects and make big breakthroughs in renewable energy technology.”
Current law provides a 1.8 cent-per-kilowatt-hour credit for facilities that produce electricity from wind, closed-loop biomass and animal waste, as well as from geothermal and solar projects. A smaller credit is available for electricity produced from open-loop biomass, small irrigation power and municipal solid waste. These credits are scheduled to expire at the end of this year. Dorgan’s bill would extend the credit for five years, through 2010.
Dorgan also announced he will introduce a major hydrogen energy technology bill that would invest $8 billion in hydrogen research and development in the next decade. He said the EERC, which is already a national leader in hydrogen energy research, could continue its role under the new initiative.
“America needs an ‘Apollo Project’ for hydrogen fuel-cell technology, and this bill will get it started.” Dorgan said. “We need to prepare now and make hydrogen power a real part of our energy picture. The EERC, with its proven record of world-class hydrogen research, is a natural site for much of the work ahead that could change the way we look at energy—creating new industries and thousands of new jobs, and spurring a new generation of advanced energy technology.”