It has been a while since I last posted an update on the legislative outlook for the investment tax credit, production tax credit, and the Section 1603 grant. So what’s happened in the last few months?
Not a lot.
Members of Congress have put forth bills to extend the credits. They have given passionate speeches about the need for alternative energy and the loss of jobs if the credits are not extended. For example, House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee ranking member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) recently said that with the technology still in the infant stage and with layoffs and stalled or delayed wind projects a possibility, “at this stage of development we’re going to continue to need some sort of support inside the code.” President Obama has also repeatedly called on Congress to pass an extension of the tax credits.
On the other hand, opponents have decried the government “picking winners and losers.” For example, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) testified in favor of eliminating all energy-related tax credits, which he said pits one industry against the other. Trying to solve the nation’s energy problems through the tax code is the wrong approach, he said.
One thing is clear: given the political polarization in Washington, the chances of major tax legislation passing before the November election is slim to nil. With the in-service deadline for wind power expiring at the end of the year, and the deadline for most other types of property (other than solar) expiring at the end of 2013, a little clarity from Congress would be welcome news to the industry.