GOP tax bill cuts credits for conventional hydro, marine energy

U.S. Congress

Production and investment tax credits for conventional hydropower and marine energy are absent in the massive tax reform bill introduced to the U.S. House Republicans.

The 429-page tome, called the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, is the GOP’s attempt to rewrite U.S. tax code for the first time in more than three decades, with significant cuts being proposed for businesses.

Helping account for the projected shortfall in tax revenue is the elimination of many breaks currently offered for renewables, including solar, wind, fuel cells, and combined heat and power.

Specifically, the bill would repeal the inflation increases for clean energy production tax credits — effectively raising taxes on hydro, geothermal, solar, wind and biomass — to net the federal government more than an estimated $12 billion over the next decade.

A Call to Arms
Though the National Hydropower Association said the cuts to hydro and other renewables was not unexpected, the advocacy group is urging industry members to contact their legislators about the importance of the tax credits.

“At this point, the need for constituent companies — utilities, developers, equipment suppliers and consultants — to weigh in themselves has never been higher,” NHA Deputy Director Jeff Leahey said. “Offices want and need to hear from you directly, more so than they want to hear from NHA.”

NHA is also urging industry members to ask their Representatives to co-sponsor the Renewable Electricity Tax Credit Equalization Act (House Resolution 4137), which was introduced by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., last week. The bill would apply tax credits to qualifying hydroelectric and marine hydrokinetic projects.

The organization also recommends contacting members of the Senate to emphasize the impact of hydro, as the other chamber of Congress works on its own tax package.

“Your companies are the companies that hire local workers; create local economic opportunities; and meet clean and renewable energy targets,” Leahey said. “That positive impact that you all cam make, and the need for the credits to be extended to remain competitive with other electricity resources, is the message your Representatives and Senators need to hear.”

NHA offers a resources page for those interested in speaking with their legislators, accessible via its website here.

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