Quantcast
Business

Baucus Proposes Consolidation of Energy Tax Credits, Preserves Wind PTC Through 2016

U.S. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus. Photo credit: Center for American Progress

Though the head of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee chair says he wants to revamp the nation's energy tax credits, a draft he presented Wednesday shows his preference to let some expire while consolidating others.

There are currently 42 energy tax incentives, including 16 for clean energy, alternative vehicles and renewable fuels. About $16.4 billion in tax incentives are currently offered to producers of wind, geothermal and nuclear energy producers and other green companies. Under Chairman Max Baucus' (D-MT) plan, the 42 credits would be consolidated into just two.

“Our current set of energy tax incentives is overly complex and picks winners and losers with no clear policy rationale," the congressman wrote in a statement. "We need a system of energy incentives that is more predictable, rational, and technology-neutral to increase our energy security and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.”

Baucus has no desire to continue the country's trend of renewing expiring credits. His plan would allow 11 breaks to expire or be repealed, such as the credit for plug-in electric vehicles and for building energy efficient homes. The oft-discussed wind production tax credit is among the 31 that would remain in place for about three more years before being consolidated into one of the two new credits, according to Bloomberg.

"We commend Chairman Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee for putting forward a sound policy option to provide domestic energy producers with stability for the years to come," said Rob Gramlich, senior vice president of public police for the American Wind Energy Association. "We appreciate Senator Baucus' leadership in trying to find common ground to ensure that the U.S. is well-suited to face the energy challenges of the 21st century by promoting a diverse energy portfolio.”

Baucus says extending current incentives would cost $150 billion over the next decade. His new plan would divide clean energy incentives into a new production tax credit that would provide up to 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour or a new investment tax credit worth up to 20 percent.

The seven electricity generation incentives are among those the draft seeks to consolidate. That and other elements of the draft don't sit well with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which is fresh off promoting a historic quarter of installations.

“While we appreciate efforts by Chairman Baucus to make the convoluted U.S. tax code simpler and fairer for everyone, we’re very concerned that reducing the solar [investment tax credit] and dramatically altering the way companies depreciate their assets could jeopardize future clean energy development in the U.S.," Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. "At a time when we’re searching for creative ways to reduce carbon emissions, fight climate change and improve U.S. competitiveness, the continued development of a strong, viable solar industry in the U.S. is critically important."

Baucus seeks comments on his proposal by Jan. 31. The email address for feedback regarding the plan is Tax_Reform@Finance.Senate.gov

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Julie Dermansky

Nearly 400,000 Gallons of Oil Spews Into Gulf of Mexico, Could Be Largest Spill Since Deepwater Horizon

Last week, a pipe owned by offshore oil and gas operator LLOG Exploration Company, LLC spilled up to 393,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reminding many observers of the Deepwater Horizon explosion seven years ago that spewed approximately 210 million gallons of crude into familiar territory.

Now, a report from Bloomberg suggests that the LLOG spill could be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 BP blowout, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Keep reading... Show less

Strange Days: Ex-Hurricane Ophelia Batters Ireland Under Orange Skies

By Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland hard with full hurricane-like fury on Monday, bringing powerful winds that caused widespread damage and power outages. At least two deaths have been reported from trees falling on cars, and The Irish Times said at least 360,000 ESB Networks customers lost power in Ireland because of the storm.

Keep reading... Show less
Runoff from a farm field in Iowa during a rain storm. Lynn Betts / U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Drinking Water for Millions in Rural America Contaminated With Suspected Carcinogen

Drinking water supplies for millions of Americans in farm country are contaminated with a suspected cancer-causing chemical from fertilizer, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

The contaminant is nitrate, which gets into drinking water sources when chemical fertilizer or manure runs off poorly protected farm fields. Nitrate contaminates drinking water for more than 15 million people in 49 states, but the highest levels are found in small towns surrounded by row-crop agriculture. Major farm states where the most people are at risk include California, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kansas.

Keep reading... Show less
www.youtube.com

Trump's Approval Rating on Hurricane Response Sinks 20 Points After Puerto Rico

President Trump's approval rating for overseeing the federal government's response to hurricanes fell by 20 points after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS revealed.

Trump's approval rating for responding to hurricanes Harvey and Irma stood at 64 percent in mid-September. Just a month later, only 44 percent approve.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Photo taken by Hélio Madeiras, a firefighter in Portugal. Facebook

Wildfires Rage Through Portugal and Spain, Kill at Least 39

Wildfires have killed at least 39 people in Spain and Portugal since Sunday.

Hundreds of fires in both countries are being fanned by winds from Hurricane Ophelia in the north, currently barreling towards Ireland, and encouraged by extremely dry terrain from a scorching hot summer in the region.

Keep reading... Show less
Desperate for water, Puerto Ricans are resorting to any available sources, such as this stream in Cayey. Angel Valentin / NPR

Desperate Puerto Ricans Are Drinking Water From Hazardous Waste Sites

The ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee called for an investigation into the availability of potable water in Puerto Rico following reports Friday that residents are scrounging for water from hazardous waste sites.

After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed residents were trying to access water from three Superfund sites, and following a CNN story Friday featuring Puerto Ricans taking water from a fourth site, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote a letter to acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke asking if she knew about the situation and calling the reports "beyond disturbing."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Brant at Izembek Lagoon. Kristine Sowl / USFWS

Groups Slam Zinke's 'Backroom Deals' to Build Road Through Alaskan Wildlife Refuge

Ryan Zinke's Interior Department is working behind the scenes to build a controversial and long-contested road through the heart of Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, documents show.

The refuge was established more than 30 years ago to conserve wetlands and habitats for migrating birds, brown bears and salmon and other wildlife. 300,000 of its 315,000 acres has been designated as Wilderness in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

Keep reading... Show less
FAO / Giulio Piscitelli

On World Food Day, Pope Francis Says Link Between Climate Change and Hunger Is Undeniable

By Andrew McMaster

Speaking at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on World Food Day, Pope Francis addressed the need for governments around the world to acknowledge that climate change and migration were leading to increases in world hunger.

Francis received a standing ovation after a stirring speech in which he said all three issues were interrelated and require immediate attention.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox