Carbon capture, renewable backers seek policy attention

Source: By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter • Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2020

A barrage of energy advocates are trying today to align congressional and administration tax policy to better deploy technologies they say are critical to reducing carbon emissions.

Leading the charge is bipartisan Senate frustration with the Treasury Department’s slow deployment of guidance needed to fully unleash an expanded carbon capture tax credit passed by Congress more than two years ago.

A group of lawmakers led by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) renewed their calls today for the IRS to publish the remaining guidance for the new 45Q credit.

“The issues involved in implementing the FUTURE Act are certainly complicated, but the loss of two years waiting on guidance has delayed projects from breaking ground and getting this technology out into the field,” Capito said in a statement.

Lawmakers were able to pass an expanded, easier-to-deploy carbon capture credit as part of a budget agreement in 2018, but the IRS has slow-walked the language needed for companies to use the incentive.

After two years, the agency published a first batch of documents last week, but companies are still frozen from fully using the credit without the complete guidance package (Energywire, Feb. 20)

“After a very long delay by the IRS, companies hoping to develop carbon capture technologies have some of the information they need to get started,” Whitehouse said in a statement. “Still, this guidance is not complete and I look forward to the IRS issuing the final piece of the framework as quickly as possible.”

Lawmakers may look to push back the construction deadline to qualify for the credit, currently set at the end of 2023.

Renewables push

In addition to carbon capture, a collection of 25 environmental and renewable energy trade groups are irked with a lack of congressional focus on energy credits.

The lobbying comes as the Senate prepares to take up a broad energy policy package next week, with a floor fight over taxes sure to hit the chamber (E&E Daily, Feb. 28)

Unveiled yesterday, the package from Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ranking member Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) features a host of measures to beef up Department of Energy clean energy research and development.

But it did not include a title to address a collection of credits, some of which would benefit renewable and energy efficiency, that did not make last year’s bipartisan spending and tax accord.

Environmental and renewable advocacy groups sent congressional tax writers a letter last night urging them to get serious about the issue.

“Tax incentives remain our most effective federal policy tool, but many of them are phasing down, in need of modernization, or will soon expire,” the group said. “We cannot afford to backslide on clean energy and the climate.”

“We ask that you come together to get these clean energy tax incentives done in the 116th Congress,” they added.