The broad spending and tax legislation compromise unveiled by House Republicans Tuesday night includes federal tax incentive extensions for renewable energy, including biodiesel, wind and solar.
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) commended congressional leaders for reinstating the expired biodiesel tax incentive in the tax and spending proposal released late Tuesday but continued pressing to reform the incentive as a domestic production credit
“Restoring this tax incentive will create jobs and economic activity at biodiesel plants across the country, so we want to thank leaders in the House and Senate for proposing this extension,” says NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “Unfortunately the impact would be muted because this proposal would continue allowing foreign biodiesel to qualify for the tax incentive. This not only costs taxpayers more money but it paves the way for foreign fuels that already receive incentives in their home countries to undercut US production.”
Under the current blender’s tax credit, biodiesel produced overseas that is blended with diesel in the US qualifies for the $1-per-gallon tax credit. This has caused imports to rise sharply in recent years. In 2012, the US imported fewer than 100 million gallons of biodiesel. This year, imports will exceed 650 million gallons, and the Energy Information Agency recently estimated that volume will grow to more than 700 million gallons in 2016. Most of the imports are coming from companies in Argentina, Asia and Europe.
Bob Dinneen, CEO and President of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said of the package, ““By including these important tax incentives in the spending bill, congressional lawmakers sent a strong signal that they are interested in ensuring and encouraging the continued growth and innovation of our nation’s biofuels industry” said Dinneen. “These incentives are crucial for leveling the playing field in a tax code that is, unfortunately, overwhelmingly tilted toward the oil and gas industry. Oil companies have long benefited from billions in accelerated depreciation, intangible drilling expenses, and countless other tax breaks that are permanently imbedded in the tax code. Fundamental tax reform is critical to correct this imbalance.”
Extensions for wind energy’s $0.023/kWh production tax credit (PTC) and solar energy’s 30% federal investment tax credit (ITC) are also part of the package. The wind PTC would be extended through 2020 and would decline in value each year after December 2016 until it is phased out entirely. The solar ITC would be drawn down gradually through 2022.
BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood also supports the passage of the tax extenders package. “The R&D Tax Credit is pro-innovation, pro-growth, and pro-America, and we strongly support making it permanently available to biotechnology companies as they search for new cures and treatments. The credit is a vitally important incentive that spurs private-sector investments and helps the biotech industry generate thousands of high-paying jobs, as 70 percent of credit dollars are used to support salaries. We strongly support the provision to allow eligible small businesses to claim the credit against payroll tax liability, which will improve small, pre-revenue companies’ access to the tax credit.”
“In addition, Greenwood continued, “appreciate the extension of credits that support the development of advanced biofuels and biorefineries. The advanced biofuel sector is creating thousands of new jobs and generating economic growth opportunities, while producing cleaner renewable fuels. We will continue to work with Congress members and Senators to encourage recognition of renewable chemicals in the tax code. Parity in tax policy for all applications of industrial biotechnology would help the biorefining sector grow and generate new jobs.”