Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) today introduced a measure to spur the development of renewable energy employment and construction, such as wind and solar farms and solar panel factories. The bill would primarily extend and expand a popular Treasury Department grant program that was established in Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in order to help diminish the impact of the economic crisis on the renewable energy sector.  The bill would help spur additional wind energy, solar energy, and other renewable energy project development.

The Treasury grant program helps renewable energy developers secure affordable financing to move forward with capital-intensive projects. It is currently slated to expire in 2010. The legislation introduced today by Senators Feinstein and Merkley would extend the program for two additional years, until 2012. It would also expand this program to allow public power utilities to participate, since they are currently ineligible.  Finally, it would create a new tax credit for solar manufacturing facilities and the construction of large solar projects on disturbed private lands.    Extension of Wind Energy Grant and Renewable Energy Grant