Bill would expand tax-saving arrangement to renewables
April 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm
Jennifer A. Dlouhy
A thick cloud of fog and morning light engulfs wind turbines at the BP Sherbino Mesa II Wind Farm in Fort Stockton. ( Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle )
Lawmakers unveiled a bill Wednesday that aims to lure investment dollars to renewable energy projects by giving the initiatives access to the same financing structure and tax treatment that have paid off for pipelines.
The measure, sponsored by Sens. Chris #$%$, D-Del., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., along with Reps. Ted Poe, R-Humble, and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., would allow renewable energy projects to qualify for master limited partnerships now available mostly to endeavors involving depletable natural resources, such as oil, gas and coal.
Beyond wind farms, solar arrays and other renewable initiatives, the bill would open up master limited partnerships to projects involving power from waste heat, carbon capture and sequestration, energy storage and energy efficient buildings.
The measure — revamped from a similar bill proposed last year — has picked up momentum, even in the oil and gas industry and its allies on Capitol Hill. Poe’s district in southeast Texas, for instance, is an oil and gas hotbed. And another oil industry ally, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is cosponsoring the legislation.
Poe and Murkowski say broadening the use of the partnership structure is about fairness and encouraging domestic energy development.
“The tax code currently hinders the United States’ ability to develop all energy and be more energy independent,” Poe told reporters Wednesday. “One way we can make our energy development across the board more competitive is to make these apply across the board.”
Master limited partnerships can issue publicly traded ownership shares as public corporations do. But they’re treated like partnerships that don’t pay corporate taxes, with income and