Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from South Dakota
Scout Clean Energy gained a two-year advantage over competitors that would be worth “tens of millions of dollars” in tax benefits after the Boulder, Colorado-based company moved dirt at several wind-turbine sites in Hand County, commissioner Chris Nelson said.
“Don’t be playing in the dirt,” Hanson cautioned them, “until you get a permit.” ...The company moved dirt at several sites in Hand County during 2016, and did other work there too, all without the state energy-conversion permit required by South Dakota law.
Thus, the 30-year average tax revenue benefit to the Sanborn Central School District would be a meager $7,600 per year. They currently receive $4,877 per student from the state, meaning that tax revenue equates to a mere 1.6 students over the life of the project. If we have one young family move from Sanborn County, not wanting to live in the shadows of these behemoths, it would more than wipe out the supposed tax benefit.
One pending bill would raise the sales and use tax by one-half of a percentage point. That would apply to all business transactions, not just the construction of wind farms. The other tax bill eventually would effectively eliminate much of the local tax windfall that accompanies wind-farm development.
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.
People involved with the South Dakota wind industry have their fingers in the political winds, trying to gauge it. That's because people with a vested interest in the wind industry are getting nervous if an extension of a federal tax credit will be approved before the end of the year. However, it could be too late for an industry that helps produce 22.3 percent of South Dakota's electricity.
The South Dakota House failed Monday to override Gov. Dennis Daugaard's veto of a bill that would have refunded about half the construction taxes for large wind energy projects and an environmental upgrade at Big Stone Power Plant.
The developer for a Belle Fourche-area wind farm said South Dakota's pro-wind farm bill now on the governor's desk should have a lower threshold for refunds from state tax on construction costs.
The House voted 52-16 to accept the Senate's version of the bill, which would provide tax refunds beginning in January 2013 for wind energy projects or environmental upgrades at power plants costing more than $50 million. ...Current law gives partial refunds to large construction projects, but that law expires Dec. 31, 2012.
Deputy Revenue Secretary David Wiest, also a task force member, cast the only vote against the recommendation to reduce construction taxes, saying he is not convinced South Dakota's taxes on wind farms are significantly higher than other states. South Dakota has other advantages, such as wind.
A legislative study on wind industry incentives no longer will be sponsored by the industry itself. The Legislative Executive Board decided this week to use its own money to pay for the Wind Energy Competitive Advisory Task Force.
All of the tax credits that help wind power become affordable to consumers are directed in hopes of having tax benefits, but the cooperatives don't pay taxes and haven't been eligible. But as part of the federal stimulus package, the Treasury Department created a renewable energy grant program that provided an opportunity for South Dakota Wind Partners to develop a community-based wind project so average people could invest.
The overrides included a bill that gave large wind energy projects in excess of $500 million in tax refunds not available to other industries. Rounds vetoed the bill in part because it singled out the wind energy industry ..."If we have an incentive program for economic development, I think it is important to have a program that is available across the board rather than picking winners and losers among industries."
Gov. Mike Rounds vetoed a bill Friday that sought to modify South Dakota's tax refund program for wind farm development, saying it would have unfairly provided large wind farms a better deal than what was offered to other construction projects. But there's a good chance lawmakers will override the veto when they convene Monday for the final two days of this year's session, said House Republican Leader Bob Faehn of Watertown.
The state Senate refused Monday to re-open debate on Sen. Frank Kloucek's proposed tax break for noncommercial wind-energy systems. The legislation failed on the first attempt on Friday, when Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard broke a 17-17 tie by voting against it. An attempt to reconsider the bill on Monday fell short 17-18, as Sen. Jim Bradford, R-Pine Ridge, switched from yes to no.
The looming expiration date and uncertainty about whether Congress will extend the so-called renewable energy production tax credit is making it more difficult for wind project developers to line up financing, industry officials say. According to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, 25 wind energy companies have expressed an interest in developing about 1,000 megawatts of wind power in the state during the next few years. ... "This isn't emergency spending," said Herseth Sandlin, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. Johnson agreed that they need to find a way to pay for the extension.
Washington (AP) Senator John Thune is pushing provisions that would promote the development of wind energy as the Senate debates a new energy bill. The Senate today passed a Thune amendment that would promote the development of energy transmission infrastructure. It would promote the creation of "energy corridors" that would make it easier to transfer wind energy to high-demand areas. Thune says South Dakota already has the wind energy and that the missing link is the way to deliver the energy. Also today, the Senate Finance Committee passed energy legislation that would extend a production tax credit for wind energy. That bill will be added to the energy legislation being considered by the full Senate.
Renewable energy is proving to be an oasis of cooperation amid conflict in Congress, but technology probably will determine how long that lasts and how much South Dakota benefits. A U.S. Senate committee last week passed a measure by a 20-3 vote increasing ethanol production seven-fold. The majority included a proxy vote by Sen. Tim Johnson, according to a spokeswoman. Sen. John Thune proposed a major tax break for wind energy, and this week will hear arguments for increasing vehicle fuel-economy standards.
A large wind farm that’s being built in Brookings County, South Dakota, and Lincoln County, Minnesota, must be operating by the end of next year so it can qualify for federal tax credits.