House Democrats’ Infrastructure Package: A clean energy primer

June 25, 2020 | Andy Barnes, Program Manager, CEBN

House Democrats unveiled their $1.5T infrastructure package, the Moving Forward Act, on Monday, June 22, 2020. The bill includes funding for federal highway and transit programs ($500B), broadband ($100B), low-income schools ($100B), public housing ($100B), and hospitals ($30B). It also targets the clean energy sector through $70B in funding for clean energy projects, extending the investment and production tax credits through the end of 2025, and opening these credits up to new technologies.

The full text of the bill can be found here. The summary below includes links to specific sections of the bill pertinent to each item.

Electric vehicle charging infrastructure: There are many provisions in this bill dedicated towards ramping up electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country and improving electric vehicle access to low-income communities.

Electric Vehicle tax credit: Existing law provides a federal tax credit of $7,500 for purchasers of electric vehicles. Currently, once an automaker sells 200,000 electric vehicles total, tax credits for customers of that company will begin to phase out over the subsequent four quarters. Currently only Tesla and GM have reached this threshold. The bill would raise the manufacturer cap to 600,000 vehicles, lower the credit to $7,000, and shorten the phase out period from four quarters to one.

Energy tax credit extensions: The bill would include current levels of the investment tax credit (Sec. 48) through 2025, and ramp it down gradually through the end of 2027. It would also extend the production tax credit (Sec. 45) and  section 45Q carbon capture and storage tax credit through 2025.

New energy tax credits: Several technologies would be newly eligible for the Sec. 48 investment tax credit including energy storage, waste heat recovery, and biogas projects.

Refundability of tax credits: In addition to extending clean energy tax credits, the bill would effectively make the section 45 and 48 (PTC and ITC) tax credits partially refundable. Taxpayers would receive 85% of the value of the credit that they would otherwise be eligible for under existing law, and should an entity overpay, it would be eligible for a refund. Tribal governments would be eligible to directly receive 100% of the value of the tax credit.

Energy efficiency tax credits: The residential energy efficiency tax credit (25c) would be extended to 2025 and expanded from 10 to 15% of a qualifying project’s value. The maximum value of the credit would also be raised from $500 to $1,200. The commercial energy efficiency tax credit (179D) would also be extended to 2025 and increased from $1.80 to $3.00 per square foot.

Carbon emissions: The bill would establish a regime to track per capita carbon emissions from the transportation sector in each state based on a 2015-2019 baseline. The Department of Transportation would publish an annual report. The bill sets incentives for reductions including project funding for the 15 states with demonstrating the most improvement.

FERC transmission rulemaking: The bill also directs FERC to initiate a rulemaking to increase the effectiveness of interregional transmission planning.

Hazard Mitigation Revolving Loan Fund: In order to boost resilience of key infrastructure, the bill would establish a revolving loan fund to incentivize pre-disaster mitigation projects. Funds would be allocated to local governments for projects that would reduce future loss of life and property, insurance claims, and federal disaster payments. Payments for loans would flow back into the fund for future loans.

A vote on the infrastructure bill is expected in the House before July 4th. The Senate’s transportation component of an infrastructure package has passed a committee vote, but it has yet to be voted on in the full Senate. It is unclear at this stage if the Senate will proceed to further action on the package before the elections.