For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Elliott Negin, enegin@ucsusa.org, 202-331-5439

Rep. Richard Neal’s Tax Package Would Help Maintain the Nation’s Clean Energy Momentum, Science Group Says

Legislation Would Boost Economic Growth and Cut Carbon Emissions

WASHINGTON - Legislation proposed today by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) providing tax incentives for clean energy technologies would accelerate U.S. clean energy momentum, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“Representative Neal recognizes that the tax code works best when it reflects our needs and our values,” said UCS President Ken Kimmell. “Tax credits that support clean energy will reduce carbon emissions and create jobs, strengthen local economies, and improve public health at the same time.

“Congress needs to pass as many of Neal’s tax incentives as possible before the end of the year to keep clean energy momentum going at a time when the federal government is going backward on addressing the greatest challenge we face: runaway climate change.”

Neal’s bill would expand tax credit eligibility for energy storage, extend the investment tax credit for solar and offshore wind, extend the production tax credit for onshore wind, and raise the cap on the number of electric vehicles eligible for a tax credit to encourage more sales.

Establishing a stand-alone energy storage investment tax credit would enable utilities to use more wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, Kimmell pointed out. More energy storage also would mean more reliable clean energy during and after extreme weather events and other emergencies.

The Neal bill also would extend tax credits for offshore wind. “Extending the 30-percent investment tax credit for offshore wind would give a much-needed boost to this promising new industry, generate jobs, and provide more clean energy tools to fight climate change,” Kimmell said. According to the Department of Energy, developers could install 22,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and 86,000 megawatts by 2050.

Currently new car buyers can take advantage of a federal income tax credit of as much as $7,500 for the first 200,000 electric vehicles each automaker sells, which has helped make electric vehicles cost-competitive with their gas-powered counterparts. However, that tax credit is phasing out for two U.S. automakers—GM and Telsa—which have sold close to 200,000 electric vehicles each. Neal’s legislation would increase the cap for all companies to 600,000 vehicles.

“Increasing the cap would make an already successful policy even better by putting more electric vehicles on the road,” Kimmell said. “The benefit of doing so is obvious: Electric vehicles dramatically reduce carbon emissions. The average electric vehicle generates 3.3 tons fewer carbon dioxide emissions than a comparable gas vehicle.

Neal’s tax package garnered support from his House colleagues even before he officially announced it. In October, 166 representatives signed a “dear colleague” letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asserting that the bill “would go a long way in providing planning certainty in clean energy investments … and helping us strive toward and ultimately beyond our Paris agreements.”

Kimmell agrees. “Despite the fact that the Trump administration formally notified the United Nations it will withdraw from the Paris agreement,” he said, “enacting Chairman Neal’s bill would encourage investment in renewable energy and reaffirm U.S. global leadership in combatting climate change.”

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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

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