Finance Hearing Statement: “Energy Tax Policy in 2016 and Beyond”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement for the committee’s hearing, “Energy Tax Policy in 2016 and Beyond.”

“Our country’s energy tax code can be a vehicle to drive economic growth and strengthen our energy sector by incentivizing the development and deployment of advanced energy technologies. Over the years, energy tax provisions have helped to spur advancements in renewable, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy sources. As a result, we’ve seen the benefits of greater access to low-cost energy sources and an increasingly diversified energy sector, which have increased our energy security and economic competitiveness as a country.

“Unfortunately, in recent years, Congress has pursued a path of extending energy tax credits for one or two years at time, providing no long-term predictability and certainty for businesses. That’s not a cost-efficient or effective way to spur investments within the energy industry, or to provide a nurturing environment for new energy technologies to bear fruit. Emerging, cutting-edge energy companies require predictable, long-term tax credits for research and development, capitalization, and cash flow optimization. This is especially true for transitioning technologies that take a longer time to install – including offshore wind, advanced biofuels and fuel cell technology. For example, the clean energy harnessed from fuel cells – like the ones being built by Bloom Energy in Delaware – provides reliable and off-grid power that can increase our energy security and create good-paying Americans jobs. But fuel cells require a long time to install, sometimes 18 months or more, which means a tax credit that expires at the end of this year is already impacting the investment decisions made today. 

“Because of the tax uncertainty created by Congress, new energy technologies are experiencing a boom and bust investment cycle that undercuts economic growth and jeopardizes our country’s energy security. I often say a major role of government is to create a nurturing environment where businesses can grow and create jobs. Providing predictability in our tax code is a key part of that effort — and we have a lot of work to do on that front.”