Lankford floats bill to phase out incentives for renewables

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sen. James Lankford introduced legislation today aimed at phasing out tax incentives for renewable energy.

Lankford’s (R-Okla.)¬†bill¬†would phase out all incentives for clean energy by 2026, including the production tax credit, or PTC, for wind power.

Congress allowed the PTC to expire at the end of last year after approving a one-year retroactive extension that covered 2014. In July, the Senate Finance Committee included the provision in a broad tax extenders package that passed on a 23-3 vote (E&ENews PM, July 21).

Lankford said his bill would help end the annual debate over the PTC by ensuring that Congress can’t revive the expired tax credit in the future.

“I am a fan of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and I certainly support wind as a large part of that goal,” Lankford said in a statement. The wind industry is now “efficient and self-sustainable [and] there is no need for the taxpayer to continue to subsidize a wind start-up tax credit.”

Wind power advocates say the PTC provides certainty for developers as the industry continues to grow. But Lankford argued that the industry has grown by 5,000 percent and added millions of megawatts of power since the PTC was created under the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

The two-year PTC extension in the Senate Finance Committee’s extenders package would cost $10.5 billion over the next decade, Lankford said.

The proposed legislation comes as both chambers grapple with the tax extenders issue.

Last month, the House Ways and Means Committee passed a small package of extenders that did not include incentives for renewable energy and dozens of other measures.

A floor vote has not yet been set in the House and Senate. In recent years, Congress has waited until the end of the year to take up the issue.