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Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - February 2013

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber issued a 10-year plan to meet the state’s renewable energy, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction and transportation goals. The plan focuses on three core strategies: maximize energy efficiency and conservation to meet new electricity load growth, remove financial and regulatory barriers to growth of the clean energy industry, and accelerate the market transition to a cleaner transportation system. Among its proposals, the plan calls for a new state building innovation lab that could conduct energy audits for every state-owned building, streamline the permitting process for renewable energy facilities and convert 20 percent of large fleet vehicles into clean energy cars. The plan is available at the State of Oregon website.

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A bipartisan group of 29 U.S. senators and representatives sent President Barack Obama a letter in December calling on him to include master limited partnerships (MLPs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs) in his “all of the above” energy plan. The letter argued that renewable energy projects should be allowed to raise capital by selling shares of MLPs, just as oil, gas and coal infrastructure projects already do. In terms of REITs, a Treasury Department ruling would be enough to open the investment vehicle for renewable energy projects. The group was led by the sponsors of the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act: Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Jerry Moran, R.-Kan., and Reps. Ted Poe, R-Texas, Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Peter Welch, D-Vt.

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The production tax credit (PTC) has been instrumental in the growth of the wind energy industry, according to a report prepared by Navigant Consulting Inc. for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) analyzing the offshore wind market. The report says 33 announced offshore wind projects are in varying stages of development in the United States. In other DOE news, the department announced in December an initial award of $4 million for each of seven offshore projects. The award will go toward completion of the engineering, design and permitting phases. The DOE will then give three of these projects up to $47 million each over four years for siting, construction and installation. The study also included a list of policies and programs that would best address the high cost of offshore wind production, including the PTC and the investment tax credit (ITC). Download the report from www.energytaxcredits.com.

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The Sierra Club filed a lawsuit in December against the Hawaii Department of Taxation for changing the state’s solar energy tax credit. The tax department issued new temporary administrative rules in November that limit the number of tax credits that can be claimed on multiple systems. The Sierra Club argued that the new rules would discourage homeowners from installing photovoltaic (PV) systems and would hurt utility-scale PV projects. The new rules were announced Nov. 9 and went into effect Jan. 1.

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Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, announced the first phase completion of its 1,100-acre, 92-megawatt (MW) PV solar power facility, Copper Mountain Solar 2. Located in Boulder City, Nev., the first phase of the project consists of nearly 1.5 million solar panels that can power 27,600 homes. Construction of phase one began in December 2011 and created 630 jobs at the peak of construction. Phase two will produce an additional 58 MW and is expected to be completed in 2015.

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Law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP added new partners to its energy regulatory practice at its Washington, D.C. office. Suedeen G. Kelly, who was commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for three years, is now co-chairing the firm’s energy regulatory practice. George D. Cannon Jr., who has handled matters on behalf of electric utilities, independent power producers and manufacturers of renewable technologies, will be partner. Cynthia A. Marlette, a former FERC general counsel, will be a senior counsel in the firm’s energy regulatory practice.

Journal Category:

Renewable Energy Tax Credits

Authors:

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