Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies
“You don’t need to be an accountant to know that our tax code is too complicated, takes too many dollars away from working Americans and makes it harder to create good-paying jobs… The wind production tax credit is a perfect example of the kind of provision Congress should kiss goodbye.”
With the Senate tax bill speeding toward a vote, renewable energy trade organizations on Wednesday raised the alarm about an obscure and “extremely problematic” provision they say would pull the investment rug out from underneath renewables projects.
The IRS flouted Congressional intent …and knowingly transformed the PTC phase-out into a 5-year PTC extension. Without reform, the PTC tax will grow to an additional $32+ billion in the next decade, not including the credits awarded projects already operating.
The Senate’s latest tax-overhaul bill includes rules that aim to make it harder for U.S. businesses to keep money overseas and shielded from U.S. taxes. The problem for the wind- and solar-power industries is that big financiers with international footprints have become essential to their development, and the new tax policy may dissuade them from keeping that investment going.
Executives of seven wind energy companies pressed Gov. Sam Brownback to lobby the state’s congressional delegation in opposition to a cut in a federal tax credit that could derail $1.5 billion in planned projects across Kansas.
Companies hoping to build new windfarms, solar plants and tidal lagoons, have been dealt a blow after the government said there would be no new subsidies for clean power projects until 2025 at the earliest.
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.
Ontario lost between $732 million and $1.25 billion over the past two years selling surplus clean electricity outside the province, an analysis by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) estimates. That’s the difference between what Ontario agreed to pay to produce nuclear, water, wind and solar power, and the bargain basement price it sold it for on the international market.
Congress needs to stop its habit of picking winners and losers in the marketplace. Twenty-five years of picking wind developers over more-reliable sources of electricity hasn’t paid off. Imagine what innovation we might unleash if we used the billions wasted on wind energy to invest in research to help our free-enterprise system provide the abundance of cheap, clean, reliable energy.
Alexander Floor Speech on Wind Production Tax Credit 11-14-2017
If a developer spent 5 percent of the project costs -- such as buying turbines or steel for towers -- by the end of 2016, that company qualified for the 100 percent tax credit. The House proposal would retroactively eliminate that provision and force projects to re-qualify for the credit by starting actual work on the projects.
When the House took its first pass at overhauling the tax code, it sent a chill through the swelling wind energy sector. Included in the original draft, perplexingly to wind lobbyists, was language revisiting a bipartisan compromise extending the tax break for operating wind turbines through 2019.
"We have turned our attention to tax reform and our principle challenge is to find tax breaks and loopholes to eliminate so that we can lower rates for taxpayers," he said. "And I think that at the top of the list should be ending the wasteful and expensive subsidy for a clearly mature technology this year."
The renewable energy industry — which includes wind power, solar, biofuels made from corn or other organic substances — exists because of government mandates and taxpayer subsidies.
The wind industry breathed a sigh of relief Thursday night when the U.S. Senate’s proposed overhaul of the tax system avoided cutting into a subsidy relished by wind developers and utilities. But at the same time, a handful of lawmakers in Wyoming are showing a renewed interest in increasing taxes on wind.
Sixty nine wind farms were paid to stop transmitting in last weekend of October. Payments have risen from £200,000 in 2010 to £85.4million in 2016. National Grid compensates energy providers if it asks them to switch off to prevent the grid becoming overloaded.
The wind lobby is crying foul on grounds that it has made commitments to projects that rely on the subsidy but may not qualify as “under construction” in 2017 under the new rules. It ought to be thankful the House is offering to let the scam wind down gradually rather than kill it. Even if the House proposal survives, the subsidy will take billions more out of the pockets of working Americans and transfer the money to rich investors.
Big wind’s complaint that the language reneges on a previous deal is entirely unfounded. The so-called ‘deal’ AWEA is trying to preserve … was a backroom negotiation between industry and Obama-era IRS lawyers to craft guidance that went well beyond the statute. Congress is finally taking corrective action. ...[T]he GOP tax bill is headed in the right direction on wind energy development. But if the goal was to simplify tax legislation, the GOP should go further and repeal the PTC altogether.”
“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.
Market conditions back in 1992 no longer exist. Big wind no longer needs the Production Tax Credit, and certainly cannot justify the extraordinary benefits received [3.5¢/kWh pre-tax]. Retaining the subsidy in light of lower installation costs and increased production serves only to further distort the market and bestow a bounty on big wind that far exceeds what 1992 lawmakers could ever have envisioned.