Senate tax bill - Smart Energy Decisions

Regulation, Regulation, Solar, Wind  -  December 4, 2017

Roundup: The Senate tax bill's energy impacts

The tax legislation passed by the U.S. Senate early in the morning Dec. 2 includes, among other provisions impacting the energy industry, contains a number of elements that are expected to have a significant impact on the renewable energy industry should the bill pass through the House-Senate conference as is. 

In a joint statement issued Dec. 2, a coalition of trade groups and nonprofits including the American Council on Renewable Energy, the American Wind Energy Association and the American Conservation Coalition identified two key provisions that will negatively impact investments in clean energy: the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax, known as the BEAT provision, and the impact of the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT, on investment tools that have been important to the growth of the clean energy industry. 

"If these provisions are retained, they will result in broad instability and uncertainty for businesses and investors across many sectors, including the clean energy sector," the groups said. "We look forward to working with conferees to address these concerns so that the sector can continue to contribute to vibrant and diverse domestic energy production." 

Following this weekend's passage of the Senate bill, the Senate and House are expected to reconcile their separate versions of the bill this week. News reports and industry chatter suggest Congress aims to have a final version to President Donald Trump before they break for Christmas. 

If you're looking for more detail, we've rounded up the best news coverage of the bill's energy impacts below. 

U.S. Tax Plan Could Slash Clean-Energy Support From Big Banks (Bloomberg): Clean-energy developers are learning the hard way that every line of the U.S. tax code is connected. While the bill passed by Senate Republicans over the weekend would preserve crucial credits for wind and solar farms, it threatens to erode the value of those benefits by imposing a minimum tax on foreign transactions for JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and other large investors. Solar and wind stocks fell Monday.

Energy fights loom in conference talks (E&E News): The many differences that must be reconciled include competing proposals to scale back state and local taxes and mortgage interest deductions, as well as the Senate's late decision to retain the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT). While they may assume a lower profile in the talks, conferees will also have to sort out differences on oil and gas drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the tax treatment of clean and renewable sources.

Senate tax measure helps President Trump pivot away from clean energy and back to fossil fuels (the Los Angeles Times):  The Trump administration’s campaign for “American energy dominance,” which focuses on elevating the nation's fossil fuel production, received a potential big boost from Republican senators early Saturday. The tax measure they approved proposes to open the Arctic to oil and gas development, weaken investment incentives for solar and wind production, and end a big tax credit for new electric vehicles.

Last-minute provision in Senate tax bill could 'devastate' renewable energy (Utility Dive): Until recently, the renewable energy industry had been hopeful that the Senate’s tax cut bill would leave in place existing incentives for wind power. The House's version of the tax cut bill makes changes in the calculation of the PTC that could "kill" over half of planned wind farms, Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, has said.


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