As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its massive tax overhaul plan today, largely along party lines.  The House package significantly scales back important production tax credits (PTCs) which renewable industry supporters believe have jump-started new investment.  All eyes now turn to the Senate as a backstop to keep these incentives in place.

This evening, the Senate Finance Committee is considering amendments in a feverish attempt to send its bill out of committee prior to Friday’s scheduled adjournment for the Thanksgiving holiday.  The panel appears to have sufficient support to reject any comparable PTC provision in its bill.  A  number of Senators, including outspoken PTC critics James Lankford (R-OK) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), may still attempt to offer a PTC roll-back amendment if the bill makes it to the Senate floor.

It is widely anticipated that any effort to scale back the credit – either in Committee or on the Senate floor – will be met with stiff resistance from Iowa Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA).  Grassley already fired a shot across the bow to wind energy detractors during this evening’s mark-up, noting that the PTC credit has been “badly hurt” in the House and “shouldn’t be screwed with” in the Senate.

Husch Blackwell’s energy group will continue to monitor issues affecting the renewables industry as this debate continues to play out on Capitol Hill.