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Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - August 2014

On June 10, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed an amendment to H.B. 3644 that renames the Renewable Tax Credit Incentive program as theSouth Carolina Clean Energy Tax Incentive program. H.B. 3644 also extends the tax credit until Dec. 31, 2020, from its previous end date of Dec. 31, 2015. The bill applies to tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2014. The bill also lowers the threshold investment for new equipment. The investment threshold was decreased to $50 million in a tier four county; $100 million in a tier three county; $150 million in a tier two county; and $200 million in a tier one county. In addition, H.B. 3644 increases the job retraining credit amount from $500 to $1,000 for retraining a production or technology first line employee or immediate supervisor. The amendment also increases the total limit of the retraining credit from $2,000 to $5,000 over a five year period. The South Carolina Department of Revenue is required to audit any business that claimed the job retraining credit every three years. The bill is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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On June 26, a coalition of 302 clean energy groups sent a letter to Congress urging for the passage of the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act. The tax extenders bill, if passed, would extend more than 50 expired tax credits, including several that benefit the coalition members’ respective sectors. In the letter the coalition argues that businesses and investors need stable, predictable federal tax policy to create jobs, invest capital and deploy pollution-reducing energy technologies. The letter asserts that the tax credits promote economic development, job creation and a cleaner environment. The group said that it is essential to restore stability in the marketplace by extending the expired provisions through 2015 and by making the provisions retroactive to the beginning of this year. The coalition represents companies and associations from the renewable energy, energy efficiency and biofuels industries. The letter is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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On June 18, the Office of Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of the Treasury released the audit report, “Recovery Act: Audit of MSL Development LLC Payments Under 1603 Program.” The OIG audited MSL Development LLC (MSL) for six solar energy properties in southern California. The OIG said its audit objectives were to assess the eligibility and accuracy of the awards by determining whether the property existed, if the property was placed into service during the eligible timeframe and whether the award amount was appropriate. MSL submitted separate claims for payments in lieu of tax credits for these six solar properties and was awarded a total of $53,550 in July and August 2010. The audit report says the OIG found that five subject properties were ineligible for award because the company didn’t meet the ownership requirement for the specified property. The report also says the claimed cost basis contained ineligible and unsupported costs. In the report the OIG recommended that MSL reimburse the Treasury the amount of $44,908 for the excessive Section 1603 cash grant payments it received for the six properties. In addition, the report found that for another 11 projects reviewed, four of them did not qualify for the Section 1603 program. It also indicated that MSL failed to submit required reports and certifications. The treasury is seeking to recapture $60,000 for these four projects. The report is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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On June 10, Rhone Resch, president and chief financial officer of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released a statement following CaliforniaGov. Jerry Brown’s signing of S.B. 871. The bill extends an existing solar property tax exclusion until Jan. 1, 2025. Resch said SEIA commends Brown and the California Assembly and Senate for extending the longstanding, existing state policy, which was initially established through a ballot initiative more than 30 years ago. In his statement Resch noted that the extension of the exclusion doesn’t take funds away from any jurisdictions where taxes are currently being collected; it doesn’t affect the general fund; it reduces wholesale solar electricity costs for utility customers; and it reduces barriers to accessing solar for customer-sited projects. Resch said that this will help achieve the state’s carbon reduction and clean energy goals. The statement is available at www.seia.org.

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On June 19, Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, D-Pa., and Christopher Gibson, R-N.Y., introduced the Power, Efficiency and Resiliency (POWER) Act (H.R. 4916). The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. The bipartisan bill modifies the tax incentives for two energy efficient technologies: combined heat and power, and waste heat to power. The POWER Act increases the investment tax credit (ITC) for combined heat and power from 10 percent to 30 percent. The bill also applies the ITC to the first 25 megawatts (MWs) of power of combined heat to power projects (up from 15MW) and eliminates the 50MW project size cap. The bill is applicable to properties placed in service after Dec. 31, 2016. The POWER Act extends the ITC to Jan. 1, 2019. The bill is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced June 12 a collaboration between the WINDExchange initiative and six regional resource centers. The WINDExchange is intended to help communities weigh the benefits and costs of wind energy, understand the deployment process and make wind development decisions. Through the WINDExchange website, the DOE provides resources and tools such as wind resource maps, e-newsletters, webinars, podcasts, databases, economic development studies and fact sheets. Under the collaboration, the regional support centers across the country will act as wind energy information centers and will determine the specific priorities and challenges relevant to their regions. The WINDExchange site is http://energy.gov/eere/wind/windexchange.

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On June 19, FirstWind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, announced the finalization of four 20-year power purchase agreements with Rocky Mountain Power for four project sites located in Utah’s Beaver and Iron counties. Per the power purchase agreements, Rocky Mountain Power will purchase the output of the Four Brothers solar development, a planned 320MW development that includes four separate 80MW projects. Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and be completed in 2016. Approximately 500 construction jobs will be created. Once complete, Four Brothers will generate more than 800,000MW hours per year.

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On June 27, the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) launched theState and Local Energy Data (SLED) online tool. The new site provides state and local decision makers access to energy data specific to their location. Resources and data are available for supporting strategic energy planning processes and establishment of clean energy projects. Users can enter a city and state or ZIP code into the SLED tool and determine how their current electricity prices compare to state and national averages. Users can also learn about applicable policies and incentives, find available renewable energy resources, receive details on alternative transportation fuel costs and more. SLED replaces the Community Renewable Energy Deployment Project Development tool and combines data from varying sources, including but not limited to the Energy Information Administration, the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, the Alternative Fuels Data Center and NREL. SLED is located at http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/sled.

Journal Category:

Renewable Energy Tax Credits

Authors:

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