The Senate Finance Committee voted to pass an extenders package that would renew 52 tax credits that expired at the end of the year. The package includes a two year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit – the wind industry's chief legislative vehicles.
By a 23-3 vote, the Finance Committee voted to extend the $95.2 billion in tax incetives through 2016. Reportedly, the no votes were cast by Sens. Dan Coats, R-Ind., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
The bill would extend more than 50 tax breaks through 2016, beyond the upcoming presidential election. The PTC, which provides a $0.023/kWh tax credit for each hour of electricity produced, expired at the end of last year.
The list includes a two-year extension of the construction-start deadline for new wind, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas and ocean energy projects. Such projects would have to be under construction by December 2016 to qualify for production tax credits on the electricity output. The owner could claim a 30% investment tax credit instead.
‘This legislation is going to lock these policies in place for two years, past the next election,’ says Sen. Ron Wyden, D- Ore., and ranking member of the committee. ‘This two-year bill is the right way to ensure these incentives live up to the hype. The budgetary math might look the same regardless of the date, but the economic value of these incentives virtually disappears when Congress waits until the end of the year. The economy would get about as much use out of spending those billions on 8-track tapes and pocket pagers.’
‘It's my hope that once the committee reports this legislation, the Senate will act quickly. And I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with our colleagues in the other chamber to get this legislation to the president's desk as soon as possible and to returning to work toward comprehensive tax reform.’
While its unclear how the Senate bill will correlate with a forthcoming House extenders package, advocates were nonetheless encopuraged by the news.
‘This is a big step in the right direction,’ notes Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). ‘We applaud the committee's vote because it recognizes that the vast majority of American voters support these policies and want them continued. We urge the full Senate and the House of Representatives to follow the Senate Finance Committee's bipartisan lead and quickly pass this tax extenders package, which will continue to grow American jobs and heavy manufacturing, and will support rural economic growth.’