Renewable energy fix will be in final bill — conferees

Source: Geof Koss, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, December 15, 2017

Key Republican senators said yesterday they’ve tentatively agreed on a compromise to fix provisions included in the Senate’s tax bill that renewable energy interests said would have threatened investment in U.S. projects.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said several days of negotiations on the base erosion anti-abuse tax (BEAT) provisions in the Senate bill — which renewable advocates say would have slapped a 100 percent tax on some foreign investment in domestic projects — have led to a compromise.

“I think we’ve gotten to where we’ve got a fix that we think will work,” he told E&E News.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), one of several GOP senators concerned about BEAT’s impact on renewables, said he was satisfied that his concerns had been addressed based on what he had been told yesterday.

“You might read something when the text comes out tomorrow that detracts from it,” he said. “But that’s what I’ve been led to believe now.”

Other tax conferees, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), said the BEAT issue was resolved.

Portman said the fix would also address related housing issues but said the details were unclear. “I don’t know what the final product’s going to look like exactly, but we tried to be sure we’ve been responsive to legitimate concerns,” he said this morning.

Thune confirmed “some other things will be covered by the fix” besides renewables. He declined to discuss the compromise in detail.

However, a lobbyist said the fix would allow the production and investment tax credits to offset between 80 and 90 percent of the BEAT but the final level was in flux.

A fix was among the top issues for renewable interests. “Major financial institutions have indicated that, under such a regime, they may no longer participate in tax equity financing, the [principal] mechanism for monetizing credits and financing renewable energy growth,” wrote the American Council on Renewable Energy earlier this month.

A host of other energy issues contained in the House bill, including revisions to a 2015 deal that extended and phased down the PTC and ITCs, are not expected to be included in the conference report, which is expected to be filed tomorrow.