The Ohio Senate on Wednesday approved a 3-year extension of last session’s “Senate Bill 232,” which significantly reduced the tax burden on certain advanced energy projects, in the latest version of the state budget bill. SB 232, originally sponsored by Senator Chris Widener (R-Springfield) and enacted in June 2010, exempts qualifying projects from real and personal property taxation, instead requiring project owners to make payments in lieu of taxes based on generating capacity and other factors. A summary of SB 232 is available here.

Without the extension, SB 232 is scheduled to sunset at the end of the year, potentially threatening the momentum of Ohio’s growing advanced energy market and derailing over a dozen wind, solar and other projects in development—and the jobs and investment these projects will bring. Two utility-scale wind farms are already under construction in Van Wert and Paulding counties, employing hundreds of Ohioans, and this extension is viewed as critical to future projects.

Under the bill, a project must be under construction (or filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board) by January 1, 2015, and placed in service by January 1, 2016 to qualify for the tax treatment. Without the extension, a project must be under construction by January 1, 2012, and placed in service by January 1, 2013 to qualify. The extension was included in the budget bill with the support of Senators Cliff Hite (R-Findlay), Mark Wagoner (R-Toledo) and Jimmy Stewart (R-Albany), along with Senator Widener and others.

The bill now moves to a joint conference committee where the House and Senate will try to reconcile their two versions before the June 30 expiration of the current budget. From there the bill goes to Governor Kasich.