Proposed Legislation to Limit ITC Grants for Renewable Projects
March 31, 2010
Senator Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and three other Democratic senators have joined to propose legislation that would place limitations on grants in lieu of tax credits for renewable energy projects under section 1603 of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The concern expressed by Senator Schumer and the other sponsors is that a significant portion of the grants paid so far have gone to non-U.S. companies. Senator Schumer has cited a supposed dependence on foreign-made equipment as evidence that the program is not sound policy and should be limited to projects using American-made equipment and producing jobs in America.
Co-sponsoring the bill with Senator Schumer are Senators Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jon Tester (Mont.). Senator Schumer originally stated he would press for immediate passage of his bill but has since backed away from that pledge.
The section 1603 grant currently applies to renewable energy projects, including wind, solar, geothermal and biomass, that are placed in service before 2011 or for which construction begins in 2009 or 2010 (and that are placed in service by certain dates). In its current form, if a project qualifies for the grant, the Treasury Department is required to pay the grant. Senator Schumer’s proposal would make payment of the grant subject to the discretion of the Treasury Department. It also would make the grant subject to the Buy American requirements of the stimulus bill, and would require that the Treasury conduct an analysis of the “domestic job preservation and creation provided by” a project with respect to which a grant application is submitted. The Treasury also would be required to report its findings to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. The proposed legislation would be effective with respect to any project for which the Treasury has not paid the grant as of the date of enactment.
The Obama Administration strongly supports section 1603 and has come out in opposition to the proposal. —A.I.M.
For more information on this bill, please contact: Greg Jenner at (612) 373-8857 or firstname.lastname@example.org