Business, enviro groups call for extension of renewable energy incentives

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hundreds of environmental groups and clean energy firms are urging Congress to renew the production tax credit and other incentives that expired at the end of last year.

The letter sent today by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and more than 450 other organizations comes amid continuing debate on Capitol Hill over how to handle the several dozen lapsed tax breaks collectively known as “extenders.”

Although an extenders package typically has been a relatively routine order of business toward the end of congressional sessions, House Republicans have resisted calls to extend all 50 or so of the tax breaks and instead are pushing for just a few to be made permanent, such as the research and development tax credit. Senate Democrats said all of the breaks should be extended through the end of next year so as not to disrupt a variety of industries ahead of more difficult tax reform discussions.

The PTC, which primarily benefits wind energy, has become a focal point of the debate because it has the highest price tag of the various energy-related tax breaks; an extension through next year would cost about $13 billion over a decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Several conservative groups, many with ties to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, have mounted an aggressive campaign to encourage Republicans to strip the PTC from the extenders package, although GOP leaders don’t seem to be itching for that fight at this point (E&E Daily, Nov. 12).

The business council and the other clean energy proponents said the Senate extenders bill should be passed as is. In addition to the PTC, it also provides incentives for biofuels production, other alternative fuels, home weatherization and additional efficiency upgrades.

“Businesses and investors need stable, predictable federal tax policy to create jobs, invest capital, and deploy pollution-reducing energy technologies,” the groups write. “Allowing the lapsed clean energy tax provisions to languish undermines investor confidence and jeopardizes continued economic and environmental benefits.”