Clean Energy Tax Incentives Caught Up in Year-End Negotiations

Updated December 21, 2018 | Lynn Abramson, President, Clean Energy Business Network

Updated December 21, 2018 with the latest developments.

Don’t be left out in the cold: Convey your priorities now

What’s on your company’s wish list from Congress to promote business growth in 2019? Many clean energy companies are seeking longer-term certainty on federal tax credits to help plan new projects in the coming year.

Since Thanksgiving, Congress has been simultaneously working on two closely related policy matters:

1) The House Ways and Means Committee has released several iterations of a tax package making technical corrections to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. An early draft of the bill would have reinstated and provided a one-year, retroactive extension of expired energy tax credits (e.g., those for energy efficiency, biomass, biogas, hydropower, and advanced fuel or vehicle technologies). These provisions were later stripped from the bill. Read more about the proposal and scope of clean energy measures under debate in the CEBN’s Nov. 27 blog post.

2) Congress has also been working to reach agreement on a federal spending bill addressing the remaining agencies that have not yet been funded for the entirely of fiscal year 2019, which extends through the end of next September. (Note: the Department of Energy has already been funded through this timeframe.) This is “must pass” legislation to avoid a partial government shutdown after December 21, 2018. The Senate has passed a short-term continuing resolution to provide fiscal year 2019 funding through February 8 for agencies vulnerable to a government shutdown, while the House has passed its own version that would meet President Trump’s demands to provide $5 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. With President Trump and Senate Democrats at an impasse over the border wall, several federal agencies are headed into a government shutdown at midnight on December 21.

Congressional leaders initially discussed the idea of hitching the tax package to the spending bill and enacting both together before the holiday recess. These recent developments, however, mean that the tax package is likely to linger into 2019.

Thank you to all the CEBN members who have been weighing in on tax policy issues in the past few weeks – your signatures are helping us make a strong showing of support for action on outstanding clean energy tax issues heading in the 116th Congress. For those who have not yet engaged, please add your voice to the growing chorus calling for action.

If your business is impacted by federal clean energy tax policy, use the CEBN’s action form to sign onto a group letter or send your own customized message to Congressional leaders on your policy priorities.

Your voice does make a difference. In the past year, CEBN members helped achieve significant improvements to energy provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, advance new expensing provisions for commercial energy efficiency improvements, and extend the investment tax credit for combined heat and power fuel cells, geothermal heat pumps, and microturbines.


The Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) works to advance the clean energy economy through policy, public education, and business support for small- and medium-size energy companies. Started in 2009 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the CEBN is now a small business division of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. The CEBN represents 3,000+ business leaders across all 50 U.S. states working with a broad range of clean energy and transportation technologies.