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Clean-energy technologies get tax breaks in budget deal

The two-year budget deal that the White House approved last week extends tax credits for several clean-energy technologies, including carbon-sequestration systems, alternative-energy vehicles, and energy-efficient grid and housing innovations. The tax credits made it into the budget plan with bipartisan support in the Senate and House.

Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Shelley Moore Capito all pushed for the carbon-sequestration measure, which raises an existing credit per ton of carbon dioxide that the recipients’ facility sequesters or reuses. The measure also extends the tax credit for 12 years and applies to any facility that instituted a carbon-sequestration system within the past seven years. Lawmakers supporting the tax credit praised its potential to mitigate coal pollution.

“This is a big win for our climate and the promising new carbon capture and utilization technologies looking to gain a foothold in the market,” said Whitehouse. “And it takes a key step forward in combating climate change by putting a dollar value on reducing carbon pollution.”

Carbon sequestration is consistent with President Trump’s energy goals. He has spoken repeatedly of preserving coal-mining jobs, and in his State of the Union address he called for more development of “clean coal.”

The deal also extends a $0.018 per-kWh credit for nuclear power plants that generate more than 6,000MW. According to energy news site Utility Dive, the tax credits may also help small modular reactors (SMRs), which Energy Secretary Rick Perry has advocated for throughout his tenure.

Tax credits for building micro turbines and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) turbines both got five-year extensions. The deal also preserved tax credits for energy-efficient buildings, two-wheeled electric vehicles, and biodiesel and renewable-diesel engines. In addition, tax credits for fuel cell vehicles got an extension, as well as tax credits for installing biodiesel and natural-gas electricity.

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