Scott Sklar

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Burning the Future

In Burning the Future: Coal in America, writer/director David Novack examines the explosive forces that have set in motion a groundswell of conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia.

Burning The Future: Coal in America
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Tax Credits

Currently clean energy receives Investment Tax Credits (ITC) for solar, energy efficiency and fuel cells, and a Production Tax Credit (PTC) for biomass power, geothermal and wind.

The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008
September 17, 2008


Extension and Modification of Production Tax Credit. The bill extends the placed- in-service date for the Section 45 credit through December 31, 2009 in the case of wind and refined coal, and through December 31, 2010 in the case of other sources. The bill expands the types of facilities qualifying for the credit to new biomass facilities and to those that generate electricity from marine renewables (e.g., waves and tides). The bill updates the definition of an open-loop biomass facility, the definition of a trash combustion facility, and the definition of a non-hydroelectric dam.  The bill also increases emissions standards on the refined coal credit and removes its market value test. The estimated cost of this proposal is $5.817 billion over 10 years

Long-term Extension of Energy Credit. The bill extends the 30% investment tax credit for solar energy property and qualified fuel cell property, as well as the 10% investment tax credit for microturbines, through 2016.  The bill increases the $500 per half kilowatt of capacity cap for qualified fuel cells to $1,500 per half kilowatt of capacity, and adds small commercial wind as a category of qualified investment.  The bill also provides a new 10% investment tax credit for combined heat and power systems and geothermal heat pumps.  The bill allows these credits to be used to offset the alternative minimum tax (AMT). The estimated cost of this proposal is $1.942 billion over 10 years. 

Long-term Extension and Modification of the Residential Energy-Efficient Property Credit.  The bill extends the credit for residential solar property for eight through 2016, and removes the credit cap (currently $2,000) for solar electric investments.  The bill adds residential small wind investment, capped at $4,000, and geothermal heat pumps, capped at $2,000, as qualifying property. The bill allows the credit to be used to offset the AMT. The estimated cost of this proposal is $1.294 billion over 10 years.


Specifically, it extends energy efficiency tax deductions for commercial buildings through 2013 and revives similar deductions for home improvements installed in 2009, adding a new $300 tax credit for energy-efficient biomass fuel stoves. It also extends tax credits for builders of new energy-efficient homes through 2009 and increases tax credits for manufacturers of energy-efficient appliances, while extending that credit through 2010.

Senate Energy Bill Not Enough
May 06, 2008

The one year energy tax extension proposed by the Senate Finance Committee is too short and not inclusive to meet stated Democratic Congressional leadership goals nor Administration goals in reducing energy imports, reducing greenhouse gas and regulated emissions, nor reducing the negative impacts of higher energy costs on the economy, said Scott Sklar. While the absence of an extension by Memorial Day, we're looking at 116,000 jobs at risk -- 76,000 in wind and 40,000 in solar -- and $19 billion in clean energy investments. A one year tax credit extension eliminates all utility-scale solar, wind, biomass and geothermal projects. By indiscriminately limiting certain renewables from accessing the tax credits, just exacerbates US energy, environmental, and economic problems more, said Sklar (see letter below from CEOs).

April 17, 2008

Members of the US Senate                         Members of Congress
US Senate                                                  US House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510                              Washington, DC 20515

Dear Member of Congress:

As leaders of companies in energy efficiency and renewable energy, we wish to strongly urge the Congress extend the energy investment and production tax credits and insure they include the breadth of clean energy technologies.

A host of legislation has been introduced to correct technical mistakes and inadvertent omissions in the 2005 and 2007 energy bills regarding tax treatment of important efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Public policy should not arbitrarily select clean energy technologies or subsets of technologies and therefore skew the market and create unnecessary roadblocks to energy innovation. Experts in the environment and global climate change, and in energy and national security have stressed the need for a large portfolio of technologies to achieve critical goals to reduce foreign energy dependence, reduce emissions that are changing our global climate, and reduce loss of dollars while increasing domestic jobs.

We strongly urge that the Congress extend the energy investment tax credits (ITC) for eight years AND include our technologies: combined heat and power (chp), ground-coupled heat pumps (geoexchange or geothermal heat pumps), small wind, solar daylighting, and water energy (freeflow hydropower, tidal, wave, and ocean thermal and currents), as well as biogas for pipelines under the production tax credit (PTC).

We have invested may years and resources to bring these technologies upto commercial levels in the US market - and now it is time for the Congress to do its part, to insure they are manufactured to scale and installed as quickly as possible.


Daniel Ellis, President
ClimateMaster, Inc (OK) – ground-coupled heat pumps
(geothermal heat pumps)

Andy Kruse, Cofounder
Southwest Windpower (AZ) – small wind

Mark Memmott President
DayLight Technology Corp (CA) – solar daylighting

Dick Munson, Senior Vice President
Recycled Energy Development (IL) – combined heat and power (chp)

George Taylor, CEO
Ocean Power Technologies Inc. (NJ) – wave energy

Last Updated ( May 06, 2008 )


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Programs and Tips

Energy Star is the national program that rates appliances and promotes energy savings activities. Experts at the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Energy have also sorts of programs and tips. Here are three sites: