Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) and Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), both members of the Senate Finance Committee, have released a discussion draft of the Energy Sector Innovation Credit (ESIC) Act, a technology-inclusive energy tax proposal to encourage innovation in the clean energy sector. (A one-pager on the proposal is available online.)
According to its sponsors, the ESIC proposal would do the following:
- Promote clean energy innovation by allowing up to a 40 percent investment tax credit or a 60 percent production tax credit for low market penetration technologies across a range of energy sources, including nuclear, renewables, and fossil fuels.
- Phase out credits as technologies mature, which would provide an on-ramp for the most innovative technologies to get to market and then compete on their own, rather than allowing Congress to pick winners and losers when temporary credits expire.
- Group technologies that are substantively different from one another as determined by the Department of Energy, national labs, and other stakeholders.
- Provide flexibility for unforeseen clean energy technologies to be eligible for ESICs by including an expedited-consideration provision for Congress to take up new technology recommendations from the DOE.
A word from the sponsor: “We have plenty of good ideas for clean energy technology to battle climate change,” Whitehouse said on April 26. “The challenge is bringing them online quickly enough to make a difference. That’s why we need proposals like this one. Our legislation will hit the accelerator on promising new sources of clean energy and help those technologies compete with heavy-polluting sources on the open market. I’m glad to partner with Senator Crapo in beginning work on this bipartisan bill, and look forward to strengthening it as others weigh in.”