Senators push for clean energy tax credit extensions

By Erin Voegele | December 18, 2013

A group of 24 senators, led by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., issued a letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Finance on Dec. 16 calling for support of programs that spur investment in the clean energy sector. Within the letter, the senators advocated for the extension of several tax credits that benefit the biofuel and biomass industries.

 “If a broader tax code overhaul cannot be achieved by year’s end, it is imperative that these key clean energy tax incentives are renewed as soon as possible,” wrote Markey and his colleagues. “These tax credits have helped scale up production and drive down the cost of clean energy technologies. They remain critical to addressing the market failures that prevent cost-effective, market-ready technologies from being deployed to their full potential. With continued support, clean energy will help Americans save money on their energy bills and reduce harmful pollution.”

The Section 30C alternative fuel vehicle refueling credit was among the 10 specific listed in the letter. It is a technology-neutral credit that incentivizes the installation of fueling equipment for E85, biodiesel blends, electricity, liquefied petroleum gas, and natural gas.

The letter also addresses tax credits for biodiesel, renewable diesel and second generation biofuels. According to the document, several advanced biofuel facilities have come online in the past year, demonstrating clear but fragile momentum in the industry. “To help ensure this progress continues, biofuel credits should be extended to ensure that production of these fuels continues to scale up while costs are pushed lower,” states the letter.

The senators also push for the extension of the Section 45 renewable energy production tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of the year. The letter notes the incentive has been a critical tool in supporting investments in biomass, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, anaerobic digestion, wind, hydropower, geothermal, hydrdokinetic power, tidal energy, wave energy and ocean thermal energy.

Senators that signed the letter, which is addressed to Finance Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, include Sens. Markey; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Al Franken, D-Minn; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.; Angus King, I-Maine; Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.; Barbara Mikulsk, D-Md.i; Tom Udall, D-N.M; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; Sheldon Whitehouse, R-R.I.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.;  Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Christopher Murphy, D-Conn.; Tom Harkin,, D-Iowa; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Tim Johnson, D-S.D.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Richard Blumenthal, D-N.Y.; and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

A full copy of the letter is available on Franken’s website.