Legislative Opportunities for Clean Energy


Conservative Legislative Opportunities for Clean Energy

For too long, Republicans have lost control of the narrative on environmental issues. We must continue to oppose massive federal programs to solve problems that states, markets, and individuals can address on their own, but also propose meaningful policy, so we aren’t sidelined as the party of “no”.

The American people are with us. Despite recent headlines, top-down, heavy-handed environmental programs are neither supported by Republicans nor the majority of the American people. Poll after poll shows that Americans want solutions that deliver cleaner air and cleaner water. The majority of Republican voters support advancing clean energy too.

Now is the time for Congressional Republicans to lead on actionable, free-market solutions that provide a pathway to a cleaner environment while growing jobs and the economy, maintaining our energy independence and securing our nation.

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions has compiled a menu of market-friendly pro-growth legislative recommendations for Republicans to lead on in the 116th Congress. These solutions are:

  • Committed to innovation and positioning the U.S. as a global leader in clean energy
  • Leveling the playing-field so that different energy technologies can compete; the government should not pick winners and losers
  • Outcome oriented to deliver measurable job growth, capital formation, improvements in local air and water quality, and reduced greenhouse gases
  • Fiscally responsible and precise interventions that limit cost and growth in government
  • Empowering individuals, states, and the marketplace to act, invest, and implement the cleanest, lowest-emitting technologies available

Market-driven Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions

  • Voluntary Federal Framework. Establishing a nationwide system for voluntary reporting carbon emissions, clean energy procurement, and energy efficiency will empower states, municipalities, and businesses to decrease emissions. The framework will increase investment in clean energy and improve transparency and accountability for the benefit of consumers and investors who want results, not greenwashing. Instead of superseding the free market, federal policymakers can build on the achievements of states and momentum inside the private sector to reduce emission by creating a voluntary system that facilitates a “race to the top” with the lightest possible federal touch.

Introduced in 116th Congress

Issue Leadership

  • Green Real Deal Resolution. A conservative response to the unrealistic Green New Deal Resolution. The Green Real Deal stresses the need for, and effectiveness of, free-market solutions to address carbon emissions and subsequently climate change. The resolution argues for an “all of the above approach” to clean energy generation while also highlighting the need for enhanced R&D, carbon capture and sequestration, and recycling programs.

All-of-the-Above Clean Energy and Conservation

  • Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act expands the existing investment tax credit for solar energy and can apply to large, utility-scale energy storage projects or smaller battery systems for residential use.
    • S.1142 (Sens. Heinrich – NM, Gardner – CO)
    • H.R.2096 (Rep. Doyle – PA)
  • Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Expansion allows consumers to claim a $7,000 tax credit on electric vehicles on an additional 400,000 vehicles per automaker. Current law allows for up to a $7,500 tax credit on 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer, after which the credit is phased out.
    • S.1094 (Sens. Stabenow – MI, Alexander – TN, Peters – MI, Collins – ME)
  • RIVER Act reauthorizes hydroelectric production incentives and hydroelectric efficiency improvement incentives, and for other purposes.
    • S.859 (Sen. Gardner – CO)
  • Energy Jobs for Our Heroes Act establishes a program to prepare veterans for careers in the energy industry, including the solar, wind, cybersecurity, and other low-carbon emissions sectors or zero-emissions sectors of the energy industry.
    • S.876 (Sens. Duckworth – IL, Graham – SC, Bennet – CO, Gardner – CO)
  • Nuclear Energy Leadership Act establishes advanced nuclear goals, provide for a versatile, reactor-based fast neutron source, make available high-assay, low-enriched uranium for research, development, and demonstration of advanced nuclear reactor concepts, and for other purposes.
    • S.903 (Sen. Murkowski – AK)
  • Tax Extender and Disaster Relief Act of 2019 amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend certain expiring clean energy tax credits and provides disaster tax relief among other purposes.
    • S.617 (Sen. Grassley – IA)
  • Smart Manufacturing Act improves the productivity and energy efficiency of the manufacturing sector by directing the Secretary of Energy, in coordination with the National Academies and other appropriate Federal agencies, to develop a national smart manufacturing plan and to provide assistance to small- and medium-sized manufacturers in implementing smart manufacturing programs, and for other purposes.
    • S.715 (Sens. Shaheen – NH, Alexander – TN)
    • R.1633 (Reps. Welch – VT, Reed – NY)
  • Carbon Capture Modernization Act. modernize the Section 48A tax credit for clean coal facilities to better support the use of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. The Section 48A tax credit was first established in 2005, and CO2 capture projects were made eligible in 2008. However, the eligibility standards for the credit are not technically or economically feasible for CCS retrofit projects.
    • S.407 (Sens. Hoeven – ND, Smith – MN)
  • USE IT Act supports carbon utilization and direct air capture research. The bill would also support federal, state, and non-governmental collaboration in the construction and development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) facilities and carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines.
    • S.383 (Sens. Barrasso – WY, Whitehouse – RI)
    • H.R.1166 (Reps. Peters–CA, McKinley–WV)

From the 115th Congress

Technology-Neutral Research and Development

  • ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2017 reauthorizes the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) through FY2022 and further amends the AMERICA Competes Act to clarifies the categories of information collected by the recipients of ARPA-E financial assistance awards.
    • H.R.3681 (Rep. Johnson – TX) Science, Space, and Technology
  • Fossil Energy Research and Development Act of 2018 amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to advance environmentally responsible coal and natural gas technologies. Additionally, the Act further develops monitoring tools for the storage of sequestered carbon dioxide.
    • H.R.5745 (Rep. Veasey – TX) Science, Space, and Technology

Tax Incentives

  • Emerging Sector Innovation Credit Act of 2018 is a tax incentive for new and innovative energy technologies, which scales down as production scales up. The credit is technology-neutral, meaning new technologies and advanced retrofits may access the credit. The bill will bring energy policy in the tax code back to the essentials and encourage cutting-edge technologies to break into the market.
    • H.R.7196 (Rep. Reed – NY) Ways and Means
  • The Tax Extender Act of 2017 represents an important step forward in leveling the playing field for clean energy technologies. Additional clean energy tax credits—and their planned sunset schedules—create parity among energy generation technologies and fair competition for industries that show economic promise and environmental benefit.
    • S.2256 (Sen. Hatch – UT) Finance
  • Renewable Electricity Tax Credit Equalization Act aims to address an inequity for “baseload” renewable energy technologies including: biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, waste to energy, hydropower, marine and hydrokinetic energy. The §45(d) and §48 tax credits for these technologies have lapsed, while the credits for other renewable resources, such as wind and solar, received long‐term tax credit extensions. The tax credits for “baseload” renewable energy should be extended.
    • H.R. 4137 (Rep. Stefanik – NY) Ways and Means
  • Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act amends the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to the tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships as corporations, to expand the definition of “qualifying income” for such partnerships (known as master limited partnerships) to include income and gains from renewable and alternative energy generation projects (in addition to fossil fuel-based energy generation projects) and related infrastructure for transportation or storage, including energy derived from thermal resources, waste, renewable fuels and chemicals, energy efficient buildings, gasification, and carbon capture in secure geological storage.
    • S.2005 (Sen. Moran – KS, Coons – DE) Finance
    • H.R.4118 (Rep. Poe – TX) Ways and Means
  • Public Infrastructure Renewal Act would expand the opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of the nation’s municipal band federal buildings while creating good-paying construction jobs. This bill would exempt the bonds for government buildings such as schools, hospitals police departments and libraries from the volume cap on private activity bonds. This bill also would establish: (1) a $5 billion limit on the amount of tax-exempt financing which may be provided for government buildings, and (2) procedures for allocating and applying for the financing.
    • H.R. 960 (Rep. Kelly – PA) Ways and Means
  • Extension of the 179D Deduction would create construction and engineering jobs across the country while vastly expanding the energy efficiency of commercial buildings. The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to the deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings, to: (1) make the deduction permanent, (2) permit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations and Indian tribal governments to allocate the deduction to the person primarily responsible for designing the property in lieu of the owner of the property, (3) allow partnerships and S corporations to receive the full benefit of a deduction allocated at the partner or shareholder level, and (4) exempt property placed in service in a qualified low-income building from the requirement to reduce the basis of the property by the amount of the deduction.
    • H.R. 3507 (Reps. Reichert – WA, Reed – NY) Ways and Means
  • Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow tax credits for energy storage and battery storage technology. The bill expands the tax credit for investments in energy property to include equipment that receives, stores, and delivers energy using batteries, compressed air, pumped hydropower, hydrogen storage, thermal energy storage, regenerative fuel cells, or other technologies. The bill also expands the tax credit for residential energy efficient properties to include expenditures for battery storage technology.
    • S.1868 (Sen. Heller – NV) Finance
    • H.R. 4649 (Rep. Costello – PA) Ways and Means

All-of-the-Above Clean Energy

  • Renewable Energy Certainty Act allows Federal agencies to enter into 30-year power purchase agreements (PPA) for energy generated from renewable resources or cogeneration. Longer PPA’s improve the financial viability of wind projects. Apart from the Department of Defense, Federal agencies can currently only enter into 10-year PPAs with energy providers.
    • H.R.6538 (Rep. Welch – VT, Norman-SC) Energy and Commerce
  • Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017 designates the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the lead agency for coordinating all federal authorizations and reviews related to hydropower license applications. The bill expands the definition of “renewable energy” to include electric energy generated from hydropower projects. The bill also authorizes FERC to extend the length of time of preliminary permits and to extend the time limit that a licensee has to commence construction on a hydropower project.
    • H.R.3043 (Rep. McMorris Rodgers – WA) Energy and Commerce
  • Nuclear Energy Leadership Act establishes advanced nuclear goals, provide for a versatile, reactor-based fast neutron source, make available high-assay, low-enriched uranium for research, development, and demonstration of advanced nuclear reactor concepts, and for other purposes.
    • S.3422 (Sen. Murkowski – AK) Energy and Natural Resources
  • Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies Act amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to advance the research and development of domestic advanced, affordable, and clean nuclear energy. DOE must establish goals for research relating to advanced nuclear reactors, including by coordinating with members of private industry to advance the demonstration of various designs of advanced nuclear reactors.
    • S.1457 (Sen. Flake – AZ) Energy and Natural Resources
  • Nuclear Energy Research Infrastructure Act of 2018 directs the Department of Energy to carry out the construction of a facility to provide a source of high-energy neutrons to help researchers develop fuels and materials for a class of advanced nuclear reactors. The primary purpose of the facility would be to assist private companies that want to develop and sell fast reactors.
    • H.R.4378 (Rep. Weber – TX) Science, Space, and Technology
  • Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability Act directs the Department of Energy to develop and deploy high-assay low-enriched uranium for domestic commercial use and to develop a schedule for recovering costs associated with such development.
    • H.R.6140 (Rep. Flores – TX) Energy and Commerce
  • Advancing Grid Storage Act requires the Department of Energy to establish an energy storage research program, a demonstration and deployment program, and a technical assistance and grant program.
    • S.3376 (Sen. Smith – MN) Energy and Natural Resources
  • Better Energy Storage Technologies (BEST) Act & Energy Storage Goals and Demonstration Projects Act directs the Department of Energy to establish new goals relating to energy storage and to carry out certain demonstration projects relating to energy storage.
    • S.1455 (Sens. Flake – AZ, Heinrich – NM) Energy and Natural Resources

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Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization founded to engage Republican policymakers and the general public about commonsense, conservative solutions to address our nation’s need for abundant, reliable energy while preserving our environment. www.citizensfor.com

Contact: Brandon Audap, Vice President of Government Relations, [email protected].

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