>>GE says wind farms pay off their own tax incentives
June 18, 2008, 3:05 pm
Filed under: Policy

General Electric this morning reported that wind farms built in 2007 generate more than enough in tax revenues to offset the tax incentives that got them built.

A report released at a renewable energy finance forum in New York, the GE Energy Financial Services Study says that Congress should stop dithering over how to pay for renewable energy tax credits, because they’re already paid for. The report estimates that “wind energy projects that began operating in 2007 have a positive net present value of $250 million to the US Treasury,” over and above any tax credits.

It looks like a canny end-run around the current impasse in Congress. House Democrats want investment and production tax credits extended beyond Dec. 31, but want the cost of the program paid for by rolling back subsidies and tax loopholes for other businesses. Republicans refuse to allow a vote on any program that would cut back subsidies and tax loopholes for other businesses.

A big part of the reason Democrats insist on a pay-for is that the Bush tax cuts have no pay-for. If they can enforce an across-the-board pay-for policy, it’s a powerful argument for allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. And that, in a new Congress, would be an important first step toward balancing future budgets.

The General Electric argument that renewable incentives pay for themselves might be accepted by Republicans, who often talk about wanting “a clean bill” — that is, a bill without offsets or pay-fors. It’s less likely to be accepted by Democrats, who may view it as a trojan horse on behalf of renewed tax cuts.


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