Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Monday that the federal tax credits for the wind and solar power industries should be eliminated.
Pruitt told a crowd at a Kentucky Farm Bureau event that the credits stand in the way of utility companies making the best decisions about power generation.
“I would do away with these incentives that we give to wind and solar,” he said, referring to wind’s production tax credit and solar’s investment tax credit.
“I’d let them stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources, and let utilities make real-time market decisions on those types of things as opposed to being propped up by tax incentives and other types of credits that occur, both in the federal level and state level,” he continued.
Pruitt conceded that any move to end the credits would be a “policy decision” for Congress, “not an EPA decision.”
Wind power’s tax credit starts phasing out this year before it expires completely in 2020. Producers currently can get a tax credit of 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour produced.
The solar credit expires completely in 2022. It lets companies that build solar power systems get credits for 30 percent of their investments.
The tax incentives have wide support among Democrats and environmentalists, while the industries’ competitors and some Republicans oppose them.
They’ve been credited with helping bring about the recent booms in solar and wind power and the resulting decreases in emissions.
Competing energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas also benefit from billions of dollars in tax credits.
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