Last night the Senate Finance Committee released its own tax overhaul bill, which will be taken up next week by the committee. The legislation retains important tax credits for wind developers, setting up a likely showdown with the House of Representatives during conference committee negotiations over the legislation before the end of the year.
The Production Tax Credit (PTC) enjoys outspoken support from an important bloc of Republican Finance Committee members, including Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD) and Dean Heller (R-NV). This development, however, does not mean smooth sailing for the industry. While the Senate would appear to hold the upper hand in any subsequent negotiations, this provision is expected to be on the table – amidst immense political pressure – when the time comes to hammer out a deal.
With respect to other energy technologies, the Senate version leaves in place existing credits for the solar industry, but continues to shelve credits for fuel cells, combined heat and power, “small” wind, geothermal and biomass projects.
Husch Blackwell’s Energy and Natural Resources group will continue to provide real time updates from Washington as this extremely fluid process continues to develop.