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Off again: Clean energy tax extenders

October 9, 2015, Smart Grid News
By: Barbara Vergetis Lundin

Tax incentives for clean energy have been on again, off again for years.

Currently, they are off again, but industry groups are making sure the legislation that provides the extension of expired and/or expiring tax incentives for clean energy technology remain at the fore and moves in a positive direction.

As part of that movement, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) has joined with nearly 600 companies and organizations to urge the passage of the Clean Energy Tax Extenders bill.

"Businesses and investors need stable, predictable federal tax policy to create jobs, invest capital, and deploy pollution-reducing energy technologies," said Lisa Jacobson, BCSE president. "Allowing the lapsed clean energy tax provisions to languish undermines investor confidence and jeopardizes continued economic and environmental benefits."

The use of lower and zero carbon energy sources has grown rapidly over the past seven years, according to the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, from BCSE and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and these sectors are quickly embedding themselves into the mainstream fabric of the U.S. energy economy. Tax policy has played a critical role in this transition.

The clean energy tax provisions have a proven track record of helping scale up production and drive down the cost of clean energy technologies, thereby ensuring that market-ready technologies are deployed to their full potential. Extending expired and expiring clean energy tax provisions as soon as possible this year will help build the economy, create jobs, and deliver a safer energy future.

Just one in the suite of tax policies that Congress has been inactive on is the Production Tax Credit for wind.

"American wind power is building momentum right now, but Congress has yet to pass these critical tax incentives, and the clock is ticking," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) -- one of 580 organizations who have signed a letter to Congress. "The U.S. wind energy industry has rebounded from the loss of 23,000 jobs in 2013 due to policy uncertainty, and we can grow to support 380,000 jobs by 2030 with stable policy. That's why we join hundreds of other voices in the business community to call on Congress to take action now."

Congress has also failed to take action on tax incentives that offer credits for constructing energy-efficient homes and the manufacturing of energy-efficient appliances that save Americans money on electric bills.

On the inaction, Joel Serface, managing director of Brightman Energy, said, "It's simply inconceivable…that Congress sat back and let critical tax policies for wind energy and energy efficiency expire at the end of last year. Congress needs to reinstate these critical federal tax policies -- and do so now."

For more:
- see this letter