August 22, 2012

Feds looking at fuel cell tax credit

PHOTO/STEVE LASCHEVER
PHOTO/STEVE LASCHEVER
U.S. Rep. John Larson (D-CT) is pushing a bill that will offer tax incentives to buy fuel cells.

U.S. Congress is considering a tax credit program that would offer a significant boon to Connecticut's fuel cell industry.

Congressman John Larson (D-CT) announced on Wednesday that he and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) would introduce companion federal legislation to give fuel cells a 50 percent tax credit.

If passed, the legislation would be a windfall for Connecticut's fuel cell industry, which includes the world's two biggest fuel cell manufacturers: UTC Power in South Windsor and FuelCell Energy in Danbury.

"Investing now in this technology will help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, while also creating good jobs here at home and ensuring a strong industry for years to come," Larson said in his announcement at FuelCell's Torrington manufacturing facility.

The proposal – The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Infrastructure for America Act of 2012 – increases the tax credit for hydrogen refueling properties from 30 to 50 percent and makes fuel cells an eligible technology. More tax credits will be given to hydrogen and fuel cell installations with high levels of efficiency and waste heat recovery.

Although a non-combustion technology, most fuel cells run on natural gas, so most states exclude fuel cells from special programs designed for renewable energy. Connecticut, New York and California are the only states offering incentives on par with those for other technologies such as solar and wind.

"I am proud to introduce this bill modeled on Congressman Larson's measure, which promises major benefits to Connecticut companies, helping to make our state the fuel cell capital of the world," Blumenthal said in the announcement.

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