Trump Treasury pick backs wind credit — for now

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin voiced support  for keeping the federal tax credit for wind intact during the first several years of the Trump administration.

At his confirmation hearing, Mnuchin was asked by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) whether he supported the current phaseout of the production tax credit for wind, which is not supposed to expire entirely until 2020.

“As we discussed, Congress has effectively put in place transition rules for some alternative energy, including wind,” Grassley said to Mnuchin in front of the Senate Finance Committee. “Based on our conversation, I believe we are in agreement that you would support the current phaseout.”

Mnuchin responded, “I absolutely agree with you that we do need to have phaseout rules when we change things. … I support the phaseout of that as you suggested.”

Currently, the production tax credit for onshore wind is slated to be phased out in increments. This year, it would fall to 80 percent of its current value, with additional 20 percentage-point drops in the next two years.

But there’s been speculation about whether the tax credit, which was renewed as part of a 2015 budget deal, could be a target for repeal in the case of a Trump tax reform package. ClearView Energy Partners, for example, didn’t rule out the idea in a research note after the election, considering dislike of the credits among some conservatives.

Trump has made numerous comments critical of wind, saying on the campaign trail last year that the industry kills birds.

Grassley is a longtime supporter of wind, which supplied more than 30 percent of Iowa’s electricity last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

In a statement, Grassley said: “A smooth transition and the certainty of the phase-out are necessary for a fast-growing industry that supports numerous jobs in Iowa and elsewhere around the country. The industry needs to be able to maintain its successful growth even as its tax credit phases out.”