US tax credit omitted from Senate bill

UNITED STATES: The US Senate has introduced its new tax bill but made no new proposals to the renewable-energy-supporting production tax credit (PTC), placing its on a collision course with the other legislative chamber, the House of Representatives (HoR).

The US Capitol building where both the House of Representatives and the Senate sits

The Senate bill made no mention of adjusting the PTC, honouring the agreement made in 2015 for a five-year phase out of the support scheme.

Last week, the other chamber of the US Congress, the HoR, introduced its new tax bill, which proposed cutting the PTC from its current value of $0.023/kWh to $0.015/kWh, as well as changing the qualification criteria.

The PTC, paid for the first ten years of a project's life, is a major driver in the current rush of wind development in the US.

The HoR bill also included an extension to a nuclear power tax credit, while also cutting credits for electric vehicles.

As well as keeping the PTC phase-out arrangement, the Senate's bill also kept the electric vehicles benefit in place and did not extend the nuclear power support.

"Fortunately for Americans, the Senate language honors Congress's commitment to these workers and Senators Grassley, Thune, Heller and others are speaking out against retroactive tax hikes proposed in House tax legislation," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.

The HoR's ways and means committee, which oversees tax legislation in that legislative chamber, rejected an amendment to the bill by Earl Blumenauer to honour the PTC phase-out.

Kiernan said the committee's decision to vote down the amendment increases uncertainty for the US wind industry's workforce.

"It is unsettling that the House ways and means Republicans would break their commitment to the wind industry and American workers, killing 60,000 jobs, putting $50 billion in jeopardy – hurting one industry and creating uncertainty for all," he said.