In the News
August 13, 2019
By Erin Voegele
Reps. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Scott Peters, D-Calif., introduced legislation Aug. 13 that aims to extend tax credits for investments in qualified renewable energy production, including closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, municipal solid waste, geothermal, qualified hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic.
The bill, titled the Renewable Electricity Tax Credit Equalization Act, or H.R. 4186, was introduced Aug. 13 and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. To date, no other members of Congress have signed on to cosponsor the bill.
Tax incentives for electricity produced from the technologies addressed by the bill have been expired for the past two years, since 2017. Extensions, however, have been provided for various other renewable technologies According to a statement released by Stefanik, the renewable baseload technologies addressed in H.R. 4186 play an indispensable role in maintaining a reliable and functioning electrical grid system.
The bill extends both the production tax credit (PTC) and the election to take the investment tax credit (ITC) to be available for qualified facilities on which construction begins before 2025. It also equalizes the treatment of renewable technologies by eliminating the arbitrary 50 percent reduction of the PTC for these technologies.
“I’m proud to introduce this legislation to stop the federal government from picking winners and losers among renewable energy production and to incentivize the utilization of clean renewable energy to bolster both our economy and environment,” Stefanik said. “Unfair tax policies have hampered efforts to work toward a clean energy future for far too long, and I’m proud to lead the effort to ensure equal treatment from the government within renewable energy production. This bipartisan bill will benefit our workforce, economy, and environment for many years to come.”
“We need to deploy more renewable resources in the transition to a clean energy economy,” Peters added. “As climate change continues to threaten our planet, health, and communities, we need to invest in innovative technology that can provide a baseload supply of energy.”
The American Biogas Council, Biomass Power Association, Energy Recovery Council and National Hydropower Association are among the groups that have spoken out to support the bill and urge Congress to include it in any upcoming tax extender legislation.
"For yet another year, critical incentives that drive investment in biomass power and other renewable baseload technologies have been allowed to lapse. We are grateful to Rep. Stefanik and Rep. Peters for introducing a bill that will fix this problem," said Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of Biomass Power Association. "Biomass power offers unique benefits like forest management, fire reduction, and well-paying rural jobs. It must remain a crucial part of our nation's renewable energy portfolio, and passage of this bill will help ensure that is the case."
“The biogas industry applauds the introduction of the Renewable Electricity Tax Credit Equalization Act which will fix inequities in our tax code and allow biogas systems and baseload renewable energy project development to grow,” said Patrick Serfass, executive director of the American Biogas Council. “We thank Representatives Stefanik and Peters for their leadership and action. The U.S. biogas industry has the potential to build at least 14,000 new systems which would catalyze at least $40 billion in new capital investment, create tens of thousands of new jobs and build the infrastructure we need for recycling organic material and protecting our air, water and soil.”
Additional information on H.R. 4186 is available on Congress.gov.