October 30, 2019

More Than 160 Members Urge House Democratic Leadership to Prioritize Clean Energy Tax Policies

Today the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), joined by the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led 166 members in calling for the inclusion of clean energy tax policies in must-pass legislation this year—demonstrating broad Democratic support for the immediate passage of these policies.

The urgency of the climate crisis requires the United States and nations around the world to advance climate policies as quickly as possible. The omnibus tax-extenders deal expected in the coming months is one of the best opportunities to pass proactive climate policies this year.

The letter reads in part:

“These outlined policies would go a long way in providing planning certainty for clean energy investments, furthering the advancement of clean energy across the country, and helping us strive towards and ultimately beyond our Paris Agreement commitments. In addition, these policies, along with others that ensure strong labor standards and incentives for domestic manufacturing, can help ensure American leadership in clean energy technology, drive domestic manufacturing, and the support the creation and maintenance of good American jobs in the next generation of technology. With only a decade to take transformative action, we can’t miss a single opportunity to pass pro-active climate policies.”

A signed copy of the letter can be found here. Specifically, the following policies outlined below should be included in must-pass legislation:

  • Storage: Make energy storage eligible as a stand-alone technology for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and provide it with an ITC extension; clarify the ITC to explicitly include energy storage technologies; and allow grid operators the flexibility to store clean energy and dispatch it when it is needed
  • Zero Emission Vehicles: Extend the tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles (EV tax credit) by increasing the cap for this tax credit and extend the tax credit for fuel cell vehicles. 
  • Offshore Wind: Give specific attention to the needs of offshore wind development by extending the 30 percent investment tax credit for offshore wind facilities through 2025.
  • Investment Tax Credit (ITC) Extension: Provide a broad extension of the ITC for all qualified technologies at the current 30 percent rate and expand eligibility to wind power.
  • Energy Efficiency: Extend the 179D deduction for energy efficient commercial and multifamily buildings. We also encourage extensions and updates for the 25C incentive for homeowner efficiency improvements and Section 45L incentive for energy efficient new homes that reflect new technologies and changed market conditions. Extending and modifying energy efficiency tax credits will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save customers and businesses money, and reduce dangerous air pollution. 

These policies are vital steps we can take right now to address climate change while we continue the fight for broader, more comprehensive action, and this letter demonstrates clear support among our Democratic colleagues for their passage this year,” said SEEC Co-Chairs Reps. Paul Tonko, Gerry Connolly, and Doris Matsui. “We can’t afford to miss a single opportunity to pass policies that will help reduce greenhouse gas pollution and protect our communities from the worst impacts of climate change.” 

“Here’s what we know.  We know climate change is real and is already posing a threat to communities across our nation and our world. We know - for the sake of our planet, our economy and our national security - it’s time for bold action,” said New Democrat Coalition Chairman Derek Kilmer (WA-06). “We also know that we there are powerful incentives that are working — that successfully encourage investment, development, and deployment of clean energy resources and renewable technologies.  Given what we know, if our country is serious about combating the climate crisis, Congress needs to continue these successful programs, rather than let them expire."

“The Progressive Caucus supports clean energy tax incentives as part of a bold and comprehensive strategy to address our climate emergency,” said CPC Co-Chairs Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). “As we speak, historic wildfires are raging in California – yet another example of the extreme weather conditions that have become the new normal for the country and the world. We are running out of time for bold action – Congress must act with urgency and vision to address this crisis before it’s too late.” 

A study released recently by the Rhodium Group found that a five-year extension for solar and wind tax credits could cause the technologies to grow to between 19% to 31% of total electric generation by 2030. It also found that an extension of clean energy tax credits could fill the Paris Agreement gap by 25% by achieving reductions of up to 125 million tons compared with current policies. Additionally, a coalition of health and medical organizations came out to urge the advancement of the same clean energy tax policies, explaining that “these incentives will lower pollution that threatens our health and exacerbates climate change, while improving health sector climate resilience.” 

Congress must act now to pass proactive climate policies that lower our emissions while ensuring American leadership in clean energy technology, driving domestic manufacturing, and supporting the creation and maintenance of good American jobs. SEEC, NDC, and CPC Members look forward to continuing to work with House Leadership to advance important climate policies immediately.