Lawmaker lobbies to expand tax credit for batteries

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A senior House lawmaker is lobbying the Obama administration to authorize more tax incentives for energy storage technologies.

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), a member of the Congressional Battery Storage Caucus, is circulating a draft letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen to press the caucus’s case.

Treasury and the IRS are updating current guidance on the scope of the so-called investment tax credit, which helps companies buy alternative energy sources.

“In just the last few years, advancements in solar and wind technologies, in combination with the ITC, have led to the rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies across the nation,” Honda wrote to his colleagues.

“However,” he said, “energy storage has not been receiving the same benefits from the ITC as other renewable energy technologies.”

The draft letter to the administration says that “existing guidelines only allow for storage to be interpreted under a narrow definition as property that directly supports alternative energy sources.”

It says, “Supporting other alternative energy resources is only one of many applications that energy storage can provide, and energy storage has great potential to broadly impact both the energy and transportation sectors.”

Honda’s note to colleagues noted that California-based Tesla Motors Inc. and Stem Inc. are supporters of more ITC support for storage.

Democrats have also introduced legislation to expand tax credits for storage and energy technologies (Greenwire, Sept. 22, 2015).

Honda is locked in a tough battle for a ninth term in the Silicon Valley-based 17th District with Ro Khanna (D), a former Obama administration official. Honda beat Khanna by about 3 points in the 2014 general election.