Senate Dems ask for extension of expiring clean energy incentives

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today, 24 members of the Democratic caucus ask for an extension to several clean energy tax credits and similar incentives set to expire at the end of the year.

With the Senate slated to leave town by the end of this week — and the House already gone — and with Baucus maintaining his focus on comprehensive tax reform, their request is certain to go unfulfilled in the near future. But the letter demonstrates continued support among Democrats for the tax breaks, including the renewable energy production tax credit, incentives to promote public transportation, and other credits aimed at encouraging efficiency in buildings and alternative transportation fuels.

Baucus has said he is working on an energy-specific draft piece of the tax reform bill he is writing, although it remains to be seen whether it would be released before the end of the year. Regardless, any tax legislation would not pass until next year at the earliest.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) organized today’s letter, which was signed by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), among others.

“If a broader tax code overhaul cannot be achieved by year’s end, it is imperative that these key clean energy tax incentives are renewed as soon as possible,” they wrote. “These tax credits have helped scale up production and drive down the cost of clean energy technologies. They remain critical to addressing the market failures that prevent cost-effective, market-ready technologies from being deployed to their full potential.