Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tax Bill to Preserve Critical Credits for Wind, Solar, and Electric Vehicles

Despite the oil and gas industry's push against renewable energy, the bill now headed for a vote in Congress keeps the incentives, but also includes Arctic drilling.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics this fall listed solar installers and wind turbine technicians as the two fastest-growing occupations in the country. (Credit: Dennis Schroeder/NREL) Click to Enlarge.
The booming renewable energy industry is breathing a wary sigh of relief as Congress prepares to vote this week on a sweeping tax bill that preserves critical tax credits for wind energy, solar power, and electric vehicles.

As lawmakers were working over the past week to resolve issues between the House and Senate versions of the bill, the clean energy industry kept a keen eye out for details of the legislation, including provisions in the House bill that would have weakened or eliminated the tax credits for renewables.

By rejecting that approach, Republicans sent a message that they won't back attempts to kneecap ongoing growth in renewables, despite pressure from the oil and gas industry to scale back incentives for clean energy.  The credits have stoked growth in wind and solar, which for the first time this year provided 10 percent of the country's electricity, while jobs in clean energy are among the fastest growing in the country.

With costs for solar and wind generation continuing to plummet, along with the costs of large-scale batteries for energy storage, the industry would appear poised for further growth.

Even as the final bill maintains the status quo for clean energy, however, it hands a major victory to the oil and gas industries, thanks to an unrelated provision that will allow drilling in part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—a longtime goal of many Republicans and pushed by Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska).

The final bill maintains the production and investment tax credits for wind and solar, phasing them out according to a timeline agreed to by Congress in 2015.  It also removes the alternative minimum tax, which would have lowered the value of wind and solar credits.

"I think it's fair to say they weren't included in the final Senate bill because wind and solar energy enjoys strong bipartisan support, particularly in rural areas, due to their important role as a  jobs and economic driver," said Gil Jenkins, a spokesman for the American Council on Renewable Energy.

Read more at Tax Bill to Preserve Critical Credits for Wind, Solar, and Electric Vehicles

No comments:

Post a Comment