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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)

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