Renewable energy tax cut rewrite may be uphill battle for GOP

April 17, 2017 -

Source: Washington Times

By Ben Wolfgang 

The past decade has brought about a monumental shift in how fuel sources benefit from the U.S. tax code, with renewable energy more than lapping its counterparts in the oil, gas, and coal sectors.

Federal tax “preferences” — such as tax credits for energy production, specific write-offs or deductions, or other benefits aimed at an energy subsector — have moved dramatically toward wind, solar and other renewable fuels since 2008. That increase has come as tax preferences for fossil fuels have declined or stayed relatively flat year after year.

In 2016, renewable energy received $10.9 billion in tax preferences, compared to $4.6 billion for fossil fuels. A decade ago, fossil fuels got $8.2 billion while renewables pulled in only $5.3 billion in tax preferences, according to Congressional Budget Office figures recently presented to Congress.

The dynamic began to shift in the early days of the Obama administration. The massive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, along with ramped-up production in the wind and solar power sectors, shifted tax preferences toward renewable energy; from 2008 to 2009, for example, tax preferences for green fuels jumped by nearly $10 billion, from $7.4 billion to $17.1 billion.

At the same time, tax preferences for fossil fuels decreased from $5.5 billion in 2008 to $3.6 billion in 2009.

While the gap has closed significantly since then, it still highlights how the current tax code seems to tilt toward renewable fuels.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of ASME.

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