US: Top Senate Democrat Calls For Permanent Renewable Energy, Storage, EV Tax Credits

on December 12, 2018

PV-MagazineThe 115th U.S. Congress has not even adjourned for the winter, and already a newly resurgent Democratic Party is making demands that reflect its majority status in the U.S. House come January.

Climate appears to be near the top of the list. Last Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic Leader in the Senate, sent a letter to President Trump demanding that any infrastructure package taken up in 2019 include “policies and funding to transition to a clean energy economy and mitigate the risks that the United States is already facing due to climate change.”

And in a list of policies that Schumer says should be included, the top item is “permanent tax incentives for domestic production of clean electricity and storage, energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, electric vehicles, and modernizing the electric grid.”

In concrete terms, this could mean an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and energy storage, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit.

Pressure from the Left

This strong statement on climate change, clean energy and infrastructure investment comes as at least 30 incoming members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed onto a call for the creation of a committee to explore a “Green New Deal” and to move the nation to 100% renewable energy by 2030.*

It also comes as Schumer has come under fire by activists for rumors that he plans to replace Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) with coal state Democrat Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) as the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

As such, one possible way to read these moves is that centrist leaders like Schumer are responding to pressure from an energized and newly elected Left wing of the Democratic Party. It is notable that Schumer’s program includes many of the aims of the Green New Deal, while avoiding any explicit use of that phrase.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsUS: Top Senate Democrat Calls For Permanent Renewable Energy, Storage, EV Tax Credits