Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Minnesota
Lawyers and accountants in the renewable energy industry are poring over the details of the tax overhaul President Trump signed into law last week, trying to figure out what companies will lose or gain.
Now, the worry by Miller and other renewable energy advocates is that anyone considering solar or wind power won’t invest until it’s clear what, if any, extra fees they’ll have to pay their utility. ...The fears of fees as high as $85 stem from an Iowa cooperative utility’s proposal to significantly increase charges to customers who install new solar or wind generators.
The free pass from the typically hard-nosed state tax collection agency provoked local officials, who raised concerns over the secretive process. “We got a letter back just stating that they (Department of Revenue) granted the waiver, but no reason why,” said Stout. “And then, when we called to find out, they wouldn’t tell us and said it was confidential. We just really thought it was not a good deal.”
Pipestone County and the city of Pipestone have sent letters to Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans expressing their disappointment that a tax payback was waived for Suzlon Rotor Corporation after the wind turbine manufacturer breached its JOBZ (Job Opportunity Benefit Zone) contract.
Construction of a wind farm near Tripp is being delayed at least six to eight weeks because of investors' uncertainty in the wind industry's production tax credit. ...Paul Bachman, executive director of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association, said a bill to renew the tax credit is in the Senate, but isn't expected to be acted on until after the November elections.
The State of Minnesota is considering a bill that would increase the State's renewable mandate to 40% including a 10% solar carve-out. The bill is in conference but it appears rural legislators in both parties are reluctant to pass it through. Cartoonist Marie McNamara created this political cartoon to emphasize the mentality of lobbyists at the Capitol and the effect of the 40% mandate on Minnesota rate payers and businesses.
An embattled wind energy project proposed for rural Goodhue County is getting another chance to show state regulators that it is taking adequate precautions to avoid killing nearby nesting bald eagles. ...The commission also will consider whether the project can keep its status as a community-based project. A PUC staff report recommended the commission show why status should not be revoked.
Wind energy leader Xcel Energy says it wants to try to take advantage of a newly extended federal tax credit to see if it can pick up additional wind energy for cheap, even if it doesn't need it immediately.
Xcel won't need more wind energy until 2019 at the earliest, because it has built up a sufficient storehouse of wind energy, Xcel spokeswoman Mary Sandok said. Xcel will revive its idea for a consumer renewable credit with Congress this year when lobbying begins anew on extending the production tax credit beyond 2013.
The company has not made any final decision about its future with AWEA but is exploring options that would focus its Washington, D.C., lobbying efforts more on securing benefits for customers. It remains to be seen what the company will decide or whether it will seek to establish a splinter group of like-minded companies.
At some point, Democrats need to give in on this "green jobs" pitch. Extending the subsidy is a jobs-killer. Government doesn't pick winners and losers well, yet the wind subsidy certainly picks a winner. In doing so, it also picks losers (and many more losers than winners) by transferring billions of dollars away from more-effective job producers.
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., favors extending the production tax credit, known as PTC. But he struggles to find a scenario in which a majority of his colleagues in the Republican-controlled House will agree. "Wind energy is way down the list of priorities [of tax breaks] for extensions," Peterson said. "I just don't see how this gets done." Among those who don't support the extension is Minnesota Republican Rep. John Kline.
An initiative led by Congressman John Kline (MN-R) would do more than terminate the federal stimulus renewable energy program that funded the bankrupt $535 million notorious Solyndra solar power project. If successful, it would also knock the wind out of a key funding source for one of the nation's most controversial wind projects -T. Boone Pickens' proposed $180 million AWA Goodhue Wind farm in Kline's congressional district.
But with no energy policy, the future for wind, solar and other energy technologies depends, to a certain degree, on how well those interests can work the halls of Congress. To date, things aren't going so well in this department.
This is the first in a series of stories about wind turbines and their impact on the rural landscape. Future articles will look at projects coming to Nobles and Jackson counties and the impact wind farms have on our region's transportation system. A couple of years ago, Murray County collected more than $1 million in production tax revenue from the wind turbines that span the horizon along the Buffalo Ridge.
Austin Democrats are hammering out a compromise with party leadership that would boost wind tax revenue for townships at the expense of school districts. Reps. Robin Brown and Jeanne Poppe have been fighting to restore a wind tax benefit for schools set to expire on July 1. Last year, Minnesota schools received $146,000 from the wind energy production tax.
The Sargeant, Minn., resident said many of his fellow farmers signed agreements to have the wind turbines on their property, thinking they were helping their local school districts. But starting July 1, those dollars will no longer mean a boost in local school funding. And that has Gronseth upset. "The more I talked to people about this I just said, 'Enough is enough.' So I offered to help," he said.
The wind-energy boom has been seeded by federal and state tax credits that generally are most beneficial for wealthy investors, partnerships and corporations who might have unrelated income to offset. The federal stimulus bill appears to allow the tax benefits to be claimed by such a taxable pool, increasing profits and dividends to a lot of smaller owners, said Lee Schafer, director of investment banking at Northland.
How big a deal is two cents? Well, it's a big deal if you're trying to produce wind energy. A federal production tax credit of 1.9 cents per kilowatt hour is set to expire at the end of the year. Wind energy producers generally expect lawmakers to renew the credit, but Congress has yet to act. With time running out, the wind power industry is scrambling. ...Xcel's Frank Prager said the end of the tax credit on December 31, is rippling through the wind industry. He said many U.S. companies are rushing to finish projects before the deadline.
During the last night of the 2008 Minnesota Legislative session, Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed the wind energy production tax revenue proposal for Minnesota's rural school districts. Pawlenty held a gun to the head - figuratively speaking - of legislators, threatening to veto the property tax relief bill if the wind energy production tax revenue provision was in the bill. "I was in Southland that day visiting with Gary Kuphal for our regular superintendents' meeting," Brown recalled. "Here I was driving up and down Mower County roads and everywhere I went there were wind turbines, generating electricity from the wind. "When I heard the news, I literally got sick to my stomach," Brown said. "Districts like Grand Meadow and Southland were about to lose again."