Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oklahoma 43rd in Promoting Energy Efficiency

A new report says Oklahoma is tied for 43rd in the nation for promoting energy efficiency to boost the economy, meet electricity demands, combat global warming and contribute to the nation's security. An analysis by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy states that Oklahoma's score was zero in five of eight categories that were examined, the Tulsa World reported from its Washington bureau.

Categories included efficiency programs and policies in the utility sector, transportation and land-use policies, appliance standards, energy efficiency in public buildings and research, development and deployment. Oklahoma's highest score — four out of a possible eight — came in the building code category. Its overall score was 5.5 out of 50. California topped the groups rankings with a score of 40.5, followed by Oregon, 37; Connecticut, 36; Vermont, 33; and New York, 32.5. Of Oklahoma's neighbors, Texas was ranked highest, with an overall score of 16 points, which put it in a five-way tie for 19th place.

Steve Nadel, the group's executive director, said energy efficiency should be viewed as the first fuel in the bid for a clean and secure resource because it is less expensive, cleaner and quicker to implement than others.

Federal Energy Efficiency and Alternative Energy Tax Credit Round-Up

The US Congress has extended several energy efficiency and alternative energy tax credits in this session. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act includes an extension of the federal tax credit of $2,000.00 for building energy efficient homes through December 31, 2009. Other building tax incentives include:

  • $500 homeowner's energy tax credit for improving the energy efficiency of existing homes for 2009.
  • Commercial Building Tax Deduction until 2013 allowing building owners to deduct up to $1.80 per square foot for energy efficiency improvements.

The bill also includes a new provision for small wind energy which will be of great benefit to our own Bergey Windpower located in Norman. The new federal-level investment tax credit (ITC) is worth up to $4,000 and available for units installed through 2016. The U.S. small wind industry projects that the enactment of this federal credit, combined with a forthcoming equipment certification program, will provide thousands of new jobs and could foster U.S. market growth of more than 40 percent annually.

Solar energy was not forgotten this year with the passage of the Renewable Energy Tax Credit bill which extends the 30% federal tax credit on solar thermal and solar electric systems through 2016. For both solar hot water and solar electric installations, home owners can now receive a full 30% credit toward the tax owed on the entire purchase price of systems installed rather than merely a deduction. Homeowners can apply the credit towards multiple tax years if the size of the credit is greater than the amount of tax owed in one calendar year.