June 9, 2013

Heavy Hitters Push US Tax Bill

A number of the largest renewable energy players in the United States have joined forces to lobby for tax changes to level the playing field for clean energy development.

Founding members of the coalition include First Wind, Vestas, Gamesa, OWN Energy, Everpower, Invenergy, Geronimo, Pattern Energy, juwi, Keybanc Utility, Power and Renewables, Terra-Gen Power and TradeWind Energy.

The group, called Financing America’s Investment in Renewables (FAIR), supports a change in a law that currently allows oil, gas, coal and other natural resources-based energy projects, but not renewable energy projects, to use master limited partnerships (MLPs), a business structure that facilitates investment in qualifying projects.

Such a change has been proposed in the bi-partisan Master Limited Partnerships (MLP) Parity Act recently re-introduced in both the US House and Senate.

An MLP is a business structure that is taxed as a partnership, but whose ownership interests are traded on an exchange like corporate stocks. This provides the state and federal tax benefits of a partnership with the liquidity of a publicly traded company.

Renewable energy assets are not currently eligible to use the MLP structure.

The MLP Parity Act was introduced jointly by Democrat Senator Chris Coons and Republican Congressman Ted Poe. It has been assigned to a Congressional committee that will decide whether to send it on to the House or Senate.

“The lower the cost of building renewable energy projects, the less consumers will have to pay for clean American energy, so that’s why we are urging Congress to level the playing field to give all sources of domestic energy – renewable and non-renewable alike – access to the use of MLPs,” said First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor.

Added OWN Energy CFO Ray Henger: “If enacted, the MLP Parity Act would translate into jobs, new sources of revenue for towns and communities, and new sources of clean energy at a competitive price for consumers.”

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