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Entries in biomass (2)


Tax Credits in the Spotlight 

The legislature is considering how much money to allocate to tax credits for manufacturing and installing energy conservation equipment.One of the questions still lingering this session is what tax credits will survive in a time of extreme budget austerity.

Of the existing tax credits, about $40 million worth are set to expire in 2012. Legislators would have to renew tax credits this session if they wish to keep them available.

Ways and Means budget writers have set aside about $10 million in the budget for tax credits, and a Joint Committee on Tax Credits is charged with sifting through the tax credits up for renewal and choosing whether to keep, reduce or let them expire.

When the joint tax credits committee was announced, it sparked a philosophical debate: are tax credits part of revenue policy or spending policy? At the Capitol, that makes a difference because tax issues are considered in the Revenue Committee, and budget issues are considered in the Ways and Means Committee. By creating a new committee, legislators didn't have to answer that question, though the best answer is that tax credits are part of both, and that's what the new committee enables.

Business Energy Tax Credit

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This Session's Magic Words: Woody Biomass

The legislature introduced 34 bills dealing with it, and the Governor paid it special attention when he announced his agenda for the session.

Biomass is the new black. Well, actually, it's the new renewable energy darling. Last session it was ethanol, and before that solar and wind farms.

Biomass, as defined on Wikipedia is "biological material from living or recently living organisms, such as wood waste, hydrogen gas and alcohol fuels."

In Oregon, it's woody biomass. Forest slash from logging operations, wood chips and saw dust from mills, and spent pulping liquor can be burned in large boilers to generate electricity, and Oregon's leaders view it as the newest in a long line of renewable energy sources in the state.

Governor John Kitzhaber thinks woody biomass can address three Oregon issues in one fell swoop: Creating jobs, managing forests and investing in renewable energy.

"Our forest products industry is well positioned to support the increased use of biomass, creating additional renewable energy market opportunities," Kitzhaber said in February.

The Governor's agenda is full of biomass-friendly proposals:

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