Re­new­able en­ergy is tar­geted in quiet ways

GOP tax bill fa­vors fos­sil-fuel pro­duc­ers

The Buffalo News - - FRONT PAGE - By Brad Plumer and Jim Tanker­s­ley NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON – The Repub­li­can tax bills mov­ing through Congress could sig­nif­i­cantly hob­ble the United States’ re­new­able en­ergy in­dus­try be­cause of a se­ries of pro­vi­sions that scale back in­cen­tives for wind and so­lar power while bol­ster­ing older en­ergy sources like oil and gas pro­duc­tion.

The pos­si­bil­ity high­lights the de­gree to which the na­tion’s re­cent surge in re­new­able elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion is still sus­tained by fa­vor­able tax treat­ment, which has low­ered the cost of so­lar and wind pro­duc­tion while pro­vok­ing the ire of fos­sil-fuel com­peti­tors seek­ing to weaken those tax pref­er­ences.

Whether law­mak­ers choose to pro­tect or jet­ti­son var­i­ous re­new­able tax breaks in the fi­nal bill be­ing ne­go­ti­ated on Capi­tol Hill could have ma­jor ram­i­fi­ca­tions for the U.S. en­ergy land­scape, in­clud­ing the prices con­sumers pay for elec­tric­ity.

Wind and so­lar are two of the fastest-grow­ing sources of power in the coun­try, pro­vid­ing 7 per­cent of elec­tric­ity last year. Sharp de­clines in the cost of wind tur­bines and pho­to­voltaic panels, cou­pled with gen­er­ous tax cred­its that can off­set at least 30 per­cent of project costs, have made new wind and so­lar even cheaper than run­ning ex­ist­ing fos­sil-fuel plants in parts of the coun­try.

In dif­fer­ent ways, di­rect and

Tax on Page A4

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