Tax Breaks for Clean Energy? That's what some senators want

Tax Breaks for Clean Energy? That's what some senators want

A new bill is coming down the pipeline that will provide a number of incentives and tax breaks for clean energy that focus on technology-neutral tax credits for domestic production of clean transportation fuel and electricity, as well as performance-based tax credits for energy efficient homes and commercial buildings.

The intent of the proposal is to reduce carbon pollution through the next decade in measurable incentives for the promotion of clean energy and new technologies popping up in the private sector. This bill creates a performance-based neutral tax incentive that should be flexible enough to move between clean electricity technologies.

What makes it different beyond the other bills that have been introduced?

Taxpayers will be able to choose between a production tax credit, or an investment tax credit based on the carbon emissions of the electricity they generate. This will also create a technology-neutral incentive for domestic production of renewable transportation fuels, which could cut down on how much and how fuel is currently used. A 10-year production credit for facilities placed in service on or after January 1, 2018 will commence, with facilities who are in service prior to January 1, 2018 also able to qualify for a 10-year credit stream.

Other enhancements include policies that will give consumers access to their electricity data; creation of a federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard that will support development and research of smart buildings; invest in energy storage; integrate clean energy onto the grid; assist in the management of electricity demand, and other incentives.

Who’s behind this bill? A diverse group of Senate Democrats, including Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sen Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-New., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

“The tax code plays an enormous role in energy policy, but the current system is a crazy quilt of laws that suffocates innovation,” says Wyden. “This bill is built around the proposition that the law ought to reward clean energy with incentives that spark innovation in the private economy. Our proposal makes it possible to get more clean, renewable energy for less money.”

This bill is one to watch as it moves through the Senate.



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