House Democrats Push To Expand, Extend Renewable Energy Tax Credits
WASHINGTON – Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday released details of a legislative proposal to extend and expand federal tax incentives designed to combat climate change by further boosting investments in renewable energy.
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), chairman of the tax writing committee’s Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee, announced the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act, which would extend the 30 percent federal solar investment tax credit, or ITC, for another five years. Other incentives in the bill are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and automobiles and advancing battery storage technology.
The proposal would allow for the tax credit for both residential and commercial solar installers to continue until January 2027. Both are currently set to expire for residential users of solar in 2022 and drop to 10 percent for both electric utility and commercial operations that same year.
The plan would expand the investment tax credit for the purchase of electric cars, and create new incentives to buy used cars. It would also give companies incentives to produce zero-emission commercial vehicles, including buses.
“Extending and building on these incentives for renewables would benefit both the economy and the climate,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “The solar tax incentives alone have proven to be wildly successful public policy that played a critical role in the explosion of clean energy and the precipitous decline in coal as the once-dominant source of electricity. And with the impacts of global warming unleashing unprecedented wildfires, flooding and hurricanes, Congress should use every tool it can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The U.S. solar sector employed 240,000 people in 2018, and solar installer is expected to be the fastest-growing occupation over the next 10 years. Solar energy generation alone has increased fortyfold since 2009. Solar plus battery storage is now competitive with smaller natural gas plants nationwide and larger natural gas plants with low capacity factors in most regions of the country.
Other sections of the legislative package would provide tax credits to universities to spur environmental justice initiatives and require the Treasury Department to use the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program to analyze the possibility of putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.