Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - November 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reps. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., introduced H.R. 6437, the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act. The legislation, a companion bill to S. 3275, proposes a change in the federal tax code to make it easier for private capital investment in renewable energy. A master limited partnership (MLP) is taxed as a partnership but has shares traded like stock on the market. MLPs also access capital at a lower cost and have more liquidity in their finances. Currently only oil, natural gas, coal extraction and pipeline projects qualify for MLPs; S. 3275 would allow investors to support renewable energy projects in the same way. Some of the organizations endorsing the bill are Third Way, American Wind Energy Association and Solar Energy Industries Association. Read the bill at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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According to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA’s) second quarter 2012 report, the U.S. wind industry has increased the nation’s energy generating capacity by 35 percent during the past five years, an increase more than that of nuclear and coal combined. AWEA cautioned that the potential expiration of the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) Dec. 31 could subject the industry to the boom-bust cycle it experienced in the past. AWEA stated that when the PTC was allowed to expire in previous years, wind industry installations dropped between 73 and 93 percent, with corresponding job losses. Download the report at www.awea.org.

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A group of 65 Iowa individuals, businesses and organizations wrote a letter to their congressional delegates, urging them to support the renewal of the wind energy PTC. The letter addressed Iowa’s two senators and five representatives, including Sen. Chuck Grassley who wrote the first PTC bill in 1992. According to the letter, Iowa gains almost $5 billion from the wind industry with nearly 3,000 wind turbines producing 4,000 MW of electricity. Signers of the letter include the Iowa Wind Energy Association, Environmental Law & Policy Center and Midwest Wind Resources. Other signers include all three of the state’s public universities and every community college in Iowa. The letter can be found at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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A coalition of 19 companies including Yahoo, Starbucks and Johnson & Johnson, wrote Congress in September to urge renewal of the wind PTC. In their letter addressed to House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the companies argued that the PTC’s expiration would negatively affect not just the wind industry, but consumers and other businesses. In contrast, they argued, extension of the PTC would lower consumer prices across the board, keep America competitive in the global marketplace and encourage American job growth. The firms cited the 90 percent savings in wind energy costs made possible by the PTC since 1980 as a primary reason businesses are buying increasing amounts of renewable energy. Many of the firms are members of Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), a project of sustainability advocate Ceres. The letter is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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In a September press release, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced his plan to expand his state’s clean energy production by supporting the revival of the Section 1603 federal treasury grant program. Schumer said he hopes the revival of Section 1603 will give upstate New York dairy farmers the capital they need to invest in biodigesters, which convert organic waste into fertilizer and biogas. Biogas can then be used as a renewable source of electrical and heat energy. There are currently 20 biodigesters in upstate New York, with capacities to handle waste from herds of 350 to 3,500 cows. The press release can be found at www.schumer.senate.gov.

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