In a letter delivered today to U.S. House and Senate leadership, the clean energy sector is calling for the prompt repair and extension of critically important tax incentives to help renewable and clean grid industries surmount the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In their joint letter, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Energy Storage Association (ESA), National Hydropower Association (NHA), Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) write that the growth of the clean energy sector, one of the nation’s most important economic drivers, is placed at risk by a range of COVID-19 related impacts. These impacts include “supply chain disruptions that have the potential to delay construction timetables and undermine the ability of wind, solar and hydropower developers to qualify for time-sensitive tax credits, and a sudden reduction in the availability of tax equity, which is crucial to monetizing tax credits and financing clean energy projects of all types.”
On behalf of the thousands of companies that participate in America’s renewable and clean energy economy, the coalition of organizations is requesting the following to address pandemic-related disruptions:
- An extension of start construction and safe harbor deadlines to ensure that renewable projects can qualify for renewable tax credits despite delays associated with supply chain disruptions;
- Provisions allowing renewable tax credits to be available for direct pay to facilitate their monetization in the face of reduced availability of tax equity; and
- Enactment of a direct pay tax credit for stand-alone energy storage to foster renewable growth and help secure the more resilient grid we need in these difficult times
Gregory Jenner, energy partner at Stoel Rives (and former head of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy), responded to the organizations’ requests with the following comments:
“The easiest ‘solution’ would be for the IRS to announce that delays in deliveries on account of Covid-19: (1) will be considered an excusable disruption and will, therefore, not cause a taxpayer to not comply with the continuity safe harbor; and (2) will not be treated as causing the taxpayer to not comply with the requirements of the “3 ½ month rule” under Treas. Reg. § 1.461-4(d)(6)(ii).
“There are lot of double negatives in that, but that’s the way IRS would likely write it. It would be great if the organizations would focus their efforts on administrative fixes first (easier) than trying to pile onto a Christmas tree bill.”
News item from ACORE. Updated with Stoel Rives comments on March 20