Plan C: Hey, Let’s Try Tax Incentives

Plan A: Cap-and-Trade? Dead. Plan B: Renewable Energy Standard? Dying. Plan C, via National Journal:

After cap-and-trade legislation died this summer and with a renewable electricity standard facing a similar fate, clean energy advocates are lobbying Congress on a last-ditch hope to keep their industries afloat: tax incentives.

A handful of key financial incentives or related deadlines expire at the end of this year. They amount to roughly $7 billion ($5 billion of which goes to ethanol and the rest to renewable electricity sources, mainly solar and wind power). Congress is expected to vote on some type of omnibus tax package during the lame-duck session, but it remains unclear what tax extensions will make it into an overall bill.

“If the RES [renewable energy standard] doesn’t pass, and that’s a long-shot right now, and clearly we’re not going to have a price on carbon for a number of years, we’re left with tax policy as the only federal policy of any significance to promote renewable electricity generation,” said Richard Glick, director of government affairs for Iberdrola Renewables, the second-largest wind developer in the United States.

Advocates for renewable energy find themselves in an uncomfortable position fighting alongside ethanol proponents to extend tax credits. The extension of the 45 cents per-gallon ethanol tax credit has always been the No. 1 issue for corn-based ethanol backers. But renewable energy proponents had focused most of their lobbying on bigger targets, namely a renewable energy standard and policy that prices carbon emissions.

“It’s never easy to get tax policy to go your way,” Dan Adamson, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s top lobbyist, told National Journal last week. “But it is true that the politics of tax policy have not changed the way the politics of climate and the RES have changed.”

The rest here.

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