Senate blocks debate of clean energy tax credits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday blocked debate of a bill to offer about $17.7 billion in tax incentives for consumers to build renewable energy sources like windmills and solar arrays, and buy plug-in cars that run on electricity rather than gasoline.

The Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008 would have extended a tax credit to build windmills by one year through December 31, 2009, and extend for three years similar credits for renewable energy sources like biomass, geothermal, landfill gas and trash combustion.

The bill failed to garner enough votes to limit debate and move to a vote, leaving the fate of the clean-energy credits uncertain.

Extension of renewable energy credits was the most expensive portion of the bill, at about $7 billion over 10 years.

The bill also offered incentives for demonstrating ways to capture heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electric plants, and offered at least $3,000 in tax incentives for consumers to buy plug-in electric vehicles.

Reporting by Chris Baltimore; Editing by David Gregorio