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Energy & Sustainability Washington Updates – September 2019

Congress returns from its annual August recess on September 9 for a three-week work period before breaking again for the first two weeks of October.

Senate Finance Bipartisan Energy Task Force on Temporary Tax Provisions

On August 13, the Senate Finance Committee released the report of the bipartisan task force on tax policy for energy. There are six such task forces tasked with finding possible solutions for temporary tax provisions that expired, or will expire, between December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2019. There are more than 40 such provisions falling into several categories with corresponding task forces: workforce and community development, energy, business cost recovery, health tax policies, and a combined group consisting of individual, excise, and other temporary policies. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) led the energy task force. Found HERE, the energy task force report considered 12 expired or expiring temporary tax provisions.

Those provisions are:

  • the credit for certain nonbusiness energy property

  • the alternative motor vehicle credit for qualified fuel cell motor vehicles

  • the credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property

  • the credit for two-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles

  • the second generation biofuel credit (formerly known as the “cellulosic biofuel producer credit”)

  • incentives for biodiesel and renewable diesel

  • the credit for electricity produced from certain renewable resources

  • the credit for production of Indian coal

  • the credit for construction of new energy efficient homes

  • the special depreciation for allowance for second generation biofuel plant property

  • the special rule for sales or dispositions to implement Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or state electric restructuring policy

  • alternative fuel and alternative fuel mixture incentives

Senate Energy Legislative Hearing

On September 11, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Energy Subcommittee will hold a hearing on nine bipartisan bills: the Timely Review of Infrastructure Act (S. 607), the Department of Energy National Lands Jobs ACCESS Act (S. 1739), the Marine Energy Research and Development Act (S. 1821), the Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act (S. 2094), the Enhancing Grid Security Through Public-Private Partnerships Act (S. 2095), the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 2137), the Clean Industrial Technology Act (S. 2300), the Nuclear Energy Renewal Act (S. 2368), and the Clean Energy Jobs Act (S. 2393). The subcommittee will hear testimony from The Honorable Mark Menezes, Under Secretary of Energy, and Mr. Anton Porter, Executive Director of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Proposed Strategic Energy for America (SEA) Act

Over the August recess, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Murkowski (R-AK) released a discussion draft for the Strategic Energy for America (SEA) Act which would (1) enable the new Development Finance Corporation to support civilian nuclear energy projects in developing countries; (2) direct the Secretary of the Treasury to oppose any energy-specific restrictions imposed by multilateral development banks; and (3) establish a strategic energy portfolio at the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and reauthorize the bank through 2031. The discussion draft is HERE. Comments on the proposed legislation are due to the committee by September 15.

New Energy Legislation

Additional energy legislation introduced during August includes:

  • H.R. 4175, the Promoting Renewable Energy with Shared Solar (PRESS) Act, introduced by Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (D-NJ), is intended to promote safe and reliable interconnection and net billing for community solar facilities.

  • H.R. 4148, the Green Jobs and Opportunity Act, introduced by Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) with 35 Democratic cosponsors. The bill requires a report on current and future trends and shortages in the clean energy technology industry to achieve a clean energy economy and provides for grants to establish and enhance training programs for any occupation or field of work for which a shortage is identified.

  • S. 2422, the Clean Energy Grid Act, introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) with the goal of advancing integration of clean distributed energy into electric grids.

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About this Author

R. Neal Martin, Government Relations, Mintz Levin, Law firm
Senior Manager of Government Relations

With more than 10 years experience in government and government relations, Neal focuses on issues related to transportation and infrastructure, clean energy, trade, and federal appropriations. Working with a client portfolio made up of non-profits, clean energy start-ups, and large companies, Neal’s efforts have focused on increasing client visibility and influence with decision makers at the congressional and federal agency level, and providing strategic advice on public policy and federal funding opportunities. 

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