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$1.4 Trillion Omnibus Bill Contains Billions in Handouts for Green Energy Firms

'Christmas has come early for the renewable energy lobby...'

Congress was set to pass a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill that senators and representatives have not read, and that contains tens of billions in subsidies for green energy companies, Green Tech Media reported.

The omnibus bill, which accompanies a $900 billion economic bailout, would grant $35 billion to various energy research and development programs while extending numerous tax credits for solar and wind companies.

President of the American Energy Alliance Thomas Pyle criticized congressional leaders for succumbing to green-energy lobbyists and paying billions to renewable energy companies.

“Christmas has come early for the renewable energy lobby, as Congress has once again reached into taxpayers’ wallets to generously subsidize wind, solar, and biofuel producers,” he said in a press release.

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Green Tech Media described the funding for “energy research, development, demonstration and commercialization” as the “first major energy legislation passed in a decade.”

Congress would grant $35 billion to entities that seek to advance technology related to “solar and wind power, energy storage, geothermal power, marine energy, grid modernization, energy efficiency, nuclear power, and carbon capture, utilization and storage.”

The omnibus bill, however, does not order a mandatory reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, as Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have promised if they secure the White House.

The legislation extends the Investment Tax Credit for solar energy by two years, the Production Tax Credit for wind energy by one year, and tax credits for offshore wind energy through 2025.

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“Particularly shameful is the year-long extension of the production tax credit for onshore wind, which the industry had promised to phase-out but continues to go back on their word,” Pyle said.

The Investment Tax Credit offers a 26 percent rebate for solar projects that begin before 2022. The legislation directs the credit to fall to 22% in 2023.

The tax credit will then fall to 10% in 2024, though this will only apply to large solar projects, while smaller competitors will not qualify for any federal assistance.

These proposed phases do not indicate the actual trajectory for renewable energy tax credits, since lobbyists and politicians can extend them in future omnibus bills, as they did this year and in years past.

“On the one hand, the wind industry constantly claims they are now the lowest cost option for electricity generation, and on the other, they continue to spend millions lobbying Congress to send them billions in taxpayer subsidies,” Pyle said.

“If wind is such a good deal for electricity generation, why does the industry keep coming back to Congress with their hand out?,” he asked.

The Production Tax Credit will grant a 60 percent credit to developers of wind power.

Without this year’s omnibus bill, the PTC would have fallen to 40 percent, but lobbyists and congressional leaders negotiated an extension of the 60-percent rate through 2021.

“It is a disgrace how Congress operates these days,” Pyle said. “Both parties do nothing all year long except trade insults and then, in a lame duck session, they leap into bipartisan action by slipping a laundry list of special interest giveaways for their friends on K Street into a year-end must pass bill to fund the federal budget.”

“This year’s winter windfall might be good for wind, solar, biofuels, and an already bloated federal energy bureaucracy, but it is bad for the rest of us,” he continued.

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