Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Last-ditch transmission tax push

Jan 17, 2024
Illustration of a hand gripping and holding high a transmission line structure

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The new Ron Wyden–Jason Smith tax package is getting injected with climate politics as leading renewables groups push to add a transmission tax credit.

Why it matters: Boosting transmission has proved a tough sell for Republicans this Congress. It's unlikely this will work, but it could keep talk about the idea alive.

Catch up quick: The Senate Finance chair and House Ways & Means leader on Tuesday unveiled a package of tax proposals on immediate R&D expensing, the child tax credit, and aid to disaster-hit areas.

  • Notably, though, energy-specific proposals weren't in the mix.

Driving the news: Major renewables groups, including American Clean Power, joined leading energy firms, unions and environmentalists in sending a letter Wednesday that was reviewed by Axios urging tax negotiators to include a transmission investment tax credit.

  • "A transmission tax credit, narrowly tailored to apply to high-capacity, long-distance lines, would provide developers long-term investment certainty when building regionally-significant transmission lines," the letter said.

Between the lines: Lawmakers have been trying to no avail to pass a transmission credit. Most recently, the idea was nixed when the Build Back Better Act went defunct.

But, but, but: The Wyden-Smith package still doesn't have buy-in from Finance ranking member Mike Crapo, whose approval would be crucial. It's hard to believe he'd accept something from Build Back Better.

Go deeper