The chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance vowed to fight for an extension of a federal program that provides grants for alternative-energy projects.

The Section 1603 grant program provides a cash grant for up to 30 percent of the cost of a qualified energy project, with no dollar limit. But in order to receive the grant, a binding contract must be in place by December 31, 2010.

Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, told the website North American Windpower that he will push for an extension of the program during Congress’s upcoming lame-duck session.

“Section 1603 is a priority, whether it gets extended in December or January and applied retroactively,” Baucus told the website. “I’m going to find a place for it.”

An extension would be good news for the burgeoning alt-energy industry in Ohio, particularly considering the uncertainty surrounding certain state incentives. But Baucus could have a tough time generating interest in alternative energy issues in the coming weeks, because the Finance Committee has numerous other issues on its plate, including a potential extension of Bush-era tax cuts.