US Senate Republicans have put forward their own tax reform plan this week which, unlike the tax reform bill proposed by the House, does not take aim at renewable energy provisions such as the wind Production Tax Credit.
Never let it be said that the American Republican Party is a monolithic entity working together to progress in one sensible direction. Earlier this month GOP representatives in the House proposed a tax reform bill which was widely met with derision and disappointment — including from the renewable energy industry. It not only proposed eliminating the vehicle tax credit, but also proposed a retroactive tax hike on the wind industry by modifying the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind, as well as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar.
“Weakening the PTC and ITC would reduce the number of wind and solar projects that get built, stalling the amazing progress the country’s made on shifting to cleaner sources of electricity,” explained Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “While building a wind project can take a year or less, the planning of those projects can take several years. Taking away the inflation adjustment and commence construction provisions of the PTC could effectively pull the rug out from the large number of projects that are in advanced stages of development and the jobs, investments, and tax revenues in rural communities that go along with them.”
Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Goldman Sachs both projected that messing with the PTC in this way would have a massive impact on the country’s wind energy industry, potentially cutting new wind projects in half, putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs in the industry, and cutting at least $50 billion in investments.
A week later, however, and GOP Senators have released the first information about their own tax reform plan which, among other things, leaves the PTC, ITC, and electric vehicle tax credit intact (as well as a number of tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry).
“The Senate tax reform bill keeps a promise to America’s more than 100,000 wind energy workers and restores the confidence of businesses pouring billions of dollars into rural America,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “For a rapidly growing number of Americans, including our nation’s veterans, wind power means well-paying, stable jobs. Fortunately for Americans, the Senate language honors Congresses’ commitment to these workers and Senators Grassley, Thune, Heller and others are speaking out against retroactive tax hikes proposed in House tax legislation.”
“The Senate has shown leadership in putting together a tax plan that works for US wind workers, rural communities, and consumers who want affordable, reliable wind energy — but the fight to preserve America’s wind jobs isn’t over,” said Kiernan.