Barnes Consulting Helps Defeat Anti-Wind Energy Legislation
Through the lobbying efforts of Barnes Consulting, legislation attempting to sunset the Wind Energy industry’s zero emissions tax credit early failed to advance twice, despite aggressive attempts to advance it in the Senate.
HB 3215 attempted to sunset the tax credit early, on December 31, 2017, as opposed to 2020. The bill would not have affected revenue for the upcoming fiscal year. The language was defeated early on in the session in HB 2818 in a House committee but was later resurrected in the House and Senate joint budget committees. However, when the bill reached the House committee, it failed by one vote.
A separate measure that was introduced, SB 1620, but not heard in the budget committees, would have ended the credit a year later, in 2019. SB 1138 would have prohibited the use of the zero emissions tax credits on or after Jan. 1, 2018. SB 1376 would have reduced the amount of the zero emissions tax credit by 25 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2016. SB 1443 would have prohibited any tax credits from being allowed for generation of wind power on or after January 1, 2018.
SB 883 also failed to advance. The bill limits the current tax credit of $0.0050 per kilowatt hour for the sale of electricity from zero-emission facilities to electricity generated by July 1, 2016. The bill establishes a $0.00375 per kilowatt hour tax credit for the sale of electricity from zero emission facilities for electricity generated after July 1, 2016.
Also failing this session was HB 1549, which would increase from at least 30 days to at least 180 days the time period before entering upon a surface estate for the purposes of beginning construction of a wind energy facility, the wind energy developer must provide written notice, by certified mail, of its intent to construct the wind energy facility to certain parties.
HB 2440 also failed. The bill modified the setback distance for airports from wind energy facilities to three nautical miles from the center line of a runway located on provided areas.
Also failing was HB 2817, which orders a legislative referendum on the Zero-Emission Facility Power Production Tax Code. The referendum would enact a new tax on the production of electric power. The tax would apply to electric power produced by wind, solar, hydroelectric or geothermal energy and would be 2 percent for the first 36 months of electrical production and 7 percent thereafter. The referendum would permit the 36 months to be extended if the power output dropped below a certain level but not for a period of more than two years. The referendum would require that both tax rates be applied to the revenue received by a business selling the electric power. The referendum would apply the tax to the sale of electric power assets put in service on or after Jan. 1, 2017. The referendum would require the tax revenue to be placed in a new fund called the Classroom Teacher Compensation Fund, which would be controlled by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and would be used for salaries for certified teachers in kindergarten through twelfth grade.