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The Budget Deal & Energy

by Countable | 2.9.18

What’s the story?

The budget deal passed by Congress in the wee hours Friday morning is going to have significant effects on some parts of the energy sector by offering tax breaks, both going forward and retroactively. Not all sectors were winners, though, with some promising sustainability efforts dropped from the final version.

The deal offers tax breaks for "advanced nuclear energy", per the Washington Post. This tax break is targeted specifically at one nuclear power plant in development in Georgia which has stalled as other energy sources outmatched it in cost savings. The tax break is a complement to $3.7 billion in new loan guarantees promised to the project by the administration.

Makers of small-scale geothermal pumps and wind turbines got a tax break back that had expired back in 2015.

The deal reinstated a tax on oil companies for federal oil-spill response efforts that Congress let expire at the end of 2017.

A tax credit was extended to carbon-capture projects, based on bipartisan negotiations, which might actually contribute to making "clean coal" a reality.

Biodiesel producers got a tax break for fuel they produced last year, but not going forward.

Other measures meant to encourage sustainability that appeared in the Senate version were stripped out by House leadership before final passage. They included tax provisions to encourage large-scale geothermal generation, offshore wind energy, energy storage and waste heat to power.

Also, a new financing mechanism for carbon capture called a private activity bond was removed, as well as a provision giving renewable energy projects access to a legal entity called a master limited partnership, which allows oil and gas projects to lighten their tax burden.

What do you think?

Are you encouraged by these measures? Do you support some and not others? Do you think Congress should find a way to fund some of the things the House removed from the final bill?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(45)
  • Kathy
    02/10/2018
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    Why did the “tax provisions to encourage large-scale geothermal generation, offshore wind energy, energy storage and waste heat to power” getter stripped out of the bill? The one thing that has always kept the US ahead of the crowd was innovation, and it’s stupid to let China take the lead in clean energy. Additionally, only the scientifically challenged believe there is such a thing as clean coal. And Scott Pruitt is an ignorant fool who must have no concern for his children or grandchildren.

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  • Marylynn
    02/10/2018
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    Once again the oil companies are benefiting the most. Second, I don't want any more nuclear energy. I didn't see any tax breaks for solar and wind energy.. What's up with that???? What the heck is "clean coal"? There's no such thing.

    Like (34)
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  • Donald
    02/10/2018
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    Trump has to be impeached now he has no idea of what he is doing. Trump is doing his personal business while in office, trump just sold one of his properties to Russia for millions of dollars. While trump is office. The republican leaders needs to stop trump. Vote the republican leaders out of office. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are getting what ever they want including millions of dollars for getting that stupid tax bill through. They are not for the working class. Wake up stupid people

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  • Delmar
    02/11/2018
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    What about solar farms? Why don’t they get a tax break to produce more solar panels and power which is cleaning up the air and worming towards removing oil from the big power plants! And for that part also look into melted salt nuclear power plants as another alternative to oil and gas turbine power plants!! These plants are very old and need to be replaced!! Example look at plant Vogel in Georgia it’s going to cost over 20 Billion dollars and still will not be up and running what a waste of money for the cost of that plant we could have put solar panels up in farming communities and saved tons of carbon deposits and dirty air from polluting our air

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  • Kathryn
    02/09/2018
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    It doesn’t make sense to pull out the sustainability items. We need to plan for the long term

    Like (19)
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  • Andrew
    02/10/2018
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    REPLACE MEASURES THE HOUSE STRIPPED, AND REDUCE THE BURDENSOME TARIFF ON CHINESE SOLAR PANELS. PROVIDE TAX BREAKS FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE DOMESTIC PRODUCERS SOLAR PANELS !!

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  • Clint
    02/10/2018
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    There is nothing more important to this country at the moment than our president. What I want to know is what are you planning on doing to protect this country and it’s people from literally everything he does. I could give you a huge list but it’s been done. You’re all grown men. You know what’s happening. So you either agree with it or your scared. So I say this to you all. Man up or we find someone else who will.

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  • Robyn
    02/10/2018
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    Why is this Administration so obsessed with coal? There is no such thing as clean coal and there are several less expensive sustainable options which they refuse to embrace. Perhaps the White House should be powered by “clean coal” and allow the President to breathe it in everyday!

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  • NoHedges
    02/11/2018
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    Shall we look at all the lies and half truths this administration has told in regards to the budget and energy? Currently Mr trump has told more than 2000 lies while in office. Obama told "very few". So, who does it make sense to believe? A man that averages 5.9 lies everyday or a President who told very few lies throughout his entire 8 years office. Party politics aside the sane answer seems quite clear. ☄️ Or we could look at mr Trump's record on his related now mostly broken campaign promises such as: #18. “My only special interest is you, the American people,” not major donors, the party or corporations." this false statement was made during the final leg of Trump's presidential campaign. 🛑 There was voter fraud by the Trump campaigns and we don't require any special investigation to uncover it. Moreover, no trumped up memo can wipe the record clean. ✅ The evidence is seen daily in Donald Trump's blanton disregard for the truth both while in office and during his campaigning. Trump has failed to uphold his oath of office and should be removed.

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  • Dara
    02/10/2018
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    This administration has doomed our energy future, fossil fuels are the past. More swamp from a habitual liar.

    Like (10)
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  • Dawn
    02/10/2018
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    The House must put back in the items it stripped out! HOW SHORT-SIGHTED ARE YOU?

    Like (9)
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  • Teri
    02/10/2018
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    These empty suits we’ve elected need to DO YOUR JOB for your constituents rather than play party big business politics.

    Like (6)
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  • greg30808
    02/10/2018
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    We need to shutdown Plant Vogel not give more taxpayer money for loan guarantees. Rep. Hice you really don’t have any idea what you constituents want. I guess all you care about is the campaign donations by Southern Company.

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  • Thelma
    02/11/2018
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    I want to see an end to oil and coal use in my lifetime. These practices rape our land and destroy the environment, period. There are no benefits to these energy sources except to corporations who stand to lose financially. End this sick dependence on oil and coal. I do want to see more support for solar, wind, and geothermal use. Why were these provisions left out of this bill? I want to know why, and who was responsible for this. Americans want to lead again, let us do so in the science and practice of renewable and sustainable energy.

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  • River
    02/10/2018
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    Nuclear energy is the country's #1 source of carbon free electricity. Current projects need to be completed and future projects need to be supported.

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  • Hillary
    02/11/2018
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    This is as regressive as it gets with energy in this country. I can't believe we want to go backwards instead of forward in providing sustainable energy. Propping up oil and gas companies while shutting out new technology companies that work on renewable, clean energy is mindboggling. It's an embarrassment.

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  • George
    02/11/2018
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    So yeah. I have definite opinions about the tax breaks. But I have a maybe stupid question. You wrote the House removed some things in the Senate Bill. Doesn't that mean it has to go back to the Senate for another vote?

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  • Claude
    02/10/2018
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    Senato Rubio when are you going to stop the Tax breaks for big companies and the pork in this bill.

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  • L0u15e.N032L
    02/11/2018
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    Facisinating that a master limited partnership is ONLY for oil and gas, not other energy projects. I'd say there's some payoff in there somewhere. Why do oil and gas, which make billions, need these partnerships at all? Isn't it just a tax payer give away in yet another form? Why not wind or renewables? Interesting about Georgia and the nuclear plant. Lot of money went in there. What's their end of life approach /strategy? Where will waste be stored? We need a. Slanted energy plan, that's correct, but we are still protecting a polluting set of industries over more options? It's a step, but the oil and gas Trust needs to be weened. Now.

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  • Jim2423
    02/11/2018
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    I wish people would stop talk of impeachment. This is a childish way of thinking. Where is congress? Why is not congress working together to make America Great 👍 by working together to come up with new ideas to circumvent our President’s crazy ideas. Remember folks we have a system that provides checks and balances to limit power to one individual. Allow it to work or replace the waste with fresh blood.

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