THE US SENATE, AS PART OF corporate tax legislation S.1637, has excluded incremental hydro power from a renewable energy production tax credit (PTC). According to the National Hydropower Association (NHA) the legislation will leave as much as 4300MW of undeveloped domestic renewable energy without PTC.
The Section 45 PTC provides a 1.8 cent per kilowatt hour production tax credit for wind, solar, biomass,
geothermal, irrigation power and other ‘renewable’ sources. S. 1637 now waits for final House action before a House-Senate conference can begin, where the energy tax package faces an uncertain future.
In 1999, the Department of Energy identified approximately 4300MW of potential power that could be developed at existing hydro facilities. This later became known as ‘incremental hydropower’ in various versions of Section 45 PTC legislation introduced in Congress since 2001.
Incremental hydro power is new electricity generation achieved at existing hydro power facilities by increasing plant efficiency or adding capacity.