The Tax Code’s current depreciation system – known as MACRS – is essential in driving private sector investment for the renewable energy industry. The paper illustrates the importance of MACRS to renewable energy development and the negative impact on the industry should MACRS be eliminated or radically scaled back.
Comments provided to the House Ways & Means Committee tax reform working group . Provided in response to their invitation for input from the industry on tax reform as it could apply to the energy industry.
The renewable energy market experienced record level growth in 2012, accounting for more than 49% of all new power generation capacity in the U.S. This trend leads to dramatic cost reductions as deployment increases. This paper provides an overview of market trends in the past several years, and illustrates the importance of federal and local policy support of the renewable energy industry.
The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program for solar projects has sharply accelerated the growth of the U.S. solar industry while providing a positive return to taxpayers. This paper seeks to analyze the economics of the expanded ITC program and demonstrate the potential return for the government. Moreover, it discusses the ancillary benefits of the program, including job creation, lessened dependence on fossil fuel, and improved public health.
Executive Summary and key highlights for RPS Programs white paper.
In the past several years, support for renewable energy demand has come chiefly from states in the form of Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates. Currently in place in 29 states and Washington DC, RPS mandates have driven creation of 1/3 of current US non-hydro renewable electricity. Going forward, consideration can be given to how to best coordinate transitional, supply-focused federal tax incentives with longer-term, demand-focused RPS programs as part of an integrated renewable energy strategy for America.
In response to a request from the DOE and multiple Congressional contacts, US PREF compiled an analysis of the tax equity market for renewable energy projects. This updated analysis focuses on the tax equity capacity for these projects from 2005-2011, and provides an estimate on the state of the market in 2011-2012 absent the 1603 Treasury Cash Grant Program. US PREF gathered this data by surveying 100% of the leading tax equity market participants in 2011. Absent the grant, the available tax equity is expected to shrink to $3.6B in 2012, an almost 50% decline from the expected tax equity deployment at the end of 2011.
This analysis estimates that at least $20 billion of the renewable energy pipeline could be affected by the expiry of the PTC and 1603 programs.
US PREF found that approximately 115,000 U.S. jobs have been created through the 1603 Treasury Cash Grant program since the program's inception in 2009. To gather this data, US PREF utilized the NREL Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) models and data from the US Treasury.
The 1603 cash grant has proven to be a more efficient, lower cost approach to spur additional private sector investment in renewable energy. Continuation of the 1603 cash grant, or its replacement with a new program that avoids the limitations of the tax equity market, will continue to make efficient use of capital and promote lower cost development of renewable energy in the domestic market.
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