The tax bill that was causing so much contention in Washington has finally been signed and is set to extend much more than the Bush era tax cuts — it will also give an extension to green energy credits as well. That’s right, the renewable energy grants instated during the start of the recession were set to expire on December 31st of this year, but with a swoop of their pens, President Obama and Congress gave them another 365 days of life.

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Prior to the recession these green energy grants were tax credits, but when the financial turmoil hit and profits slowed they were altered to work as a grant program. Lawmakers saw the recession as being long gone by now and therefore decided to end the program at the finish of 2010, but green lobbyists in Washington have been running around for months trying to keep these grants alive.

Denise Bode, the head of the American Wind Energy Association, called the extension, “a great holiday present for the 85,000 American workers in the wind energy industry, tens of thousands of whom will now be able to get back to work.’’ The grants will continue flowing to the wind and solar industries, with pretax credits for employees commuting by bus or train and a formerly expired biodiesel tax credit. But to the chagrin of many environmentalists, the tax bill also extends a 45 cent tax credit on ethanol (it is debatable whether ethanol is really good for the planet). Though we have to set aside the ethanol credit it’s nice to see Washington pushing some cash toward boosting the green sector.

Via The New York Times