Researchers tell Congress to pass ‘next generation’ of clean energy tax credits

Source: By John Sicilianco and Josh Siegle, Washington Examiner • Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2019

RESEARCHERS TELL CONGRESS TO PASS ‘NEXT GENERATION’ OF CLEAN ENERGY TAX CREDITS: As existing tax credits for renewables near expiration, researchers are asking Congress to pass the “next generation” of tax subsidies for clean energy technologies.

paper released Monday by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy recommends federal policymakers tailor new electricity sector credits to use applications rather than specific energy sources.

Rather than extending existing subsidies for wind and solar — credited with lowering their cost — lawmakers should direct credits to applications such as long-duration storage, carbon capture, and advanced nuclear.

“Successor policies to expiring tax credits are needed to bring a diverse range of emerging technology options to commercial scale,” write the authors of the paper, Columbia economist Noah Kaufman and Varun Sivaram, fellow for science and technology at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The authors say those application-specific credits should be coordinated with federal spending on research, development, and demonstration directed at emerging clean energy technologies such as carbon capture and energy storage so they can be commercialized with the help of tax subsidies.

And, third, the paper recommends policymakers set conditions for ramping down the tax subsidies, to keep costs from spiking.

While the authors say tax incentives aren’t ideal because of their inefficiency and distortion of the marketplace, it is the rare clean energy policy with bipartisan support.

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