* MLP structure would help renewable projects raise capital
* Oil, gas infrastructure makes use of the tax structure
* Lawmakers see bipartisan support in Senate, House
WASHINGTON, Dec 12 A group of U.S. lawmakers
said on Wednesday that they plan to push ahead in the new year
to change the tax code so renewable energy projects could
qualify for beneficial tax structures commonly used by pipelines
and other energy-related companies.
Democratic and Republican sponsors of proposed legislation
said they think momentum is growing for their idea to allow
wind, solar, biofuel and other renewable projects to structure
as "master limited partnerships" (MLPs).
The structures allow companies to raise money in the stock
market, while having income taxed only at the unit holder level,
thus avoiding corporate income taxes.
"Small tweaks to the tax code could attract billions of
dollars in private sector investment to renewable energy
deployment," the 29 lawmakers said in a letter to President
Barack Obama, asking for the administration's support.
Their proposals come as Congress looks for ways to boost
government revenues and cut spending to deal with the U.S. debt,
and ahead of an anticipated push for comprehensive tax reform in
Some Democrats have said they want to get rid of tax breaks
for oil and gas companies, while many Republicans have
criticized temporary tax incentives for renewable energy.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said all types of
energy would gain if the MLP tax structure, widely used by
fossil fuel companies, is extended to renewables.
"It does not take anything away from oil or gas or
pipelines, as some other proposals would do," said Coons, who
sponsored proposed legislation in the Senate with Republican
Jerry Moran of Kansas.
"Why not have a predictable, clear, long-term tax advantage
financing vehicle for both, for a genuinely all-of-the-above
energy strategy?" Coons told reporters.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate
Energy Committee, has signed on as a cosponsor.
In the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, a
companion bill is sponsored by Ted Poe, whose Texas district is
home to refineries and pipelines, as well as Democrats Mike
Thompson of California and Peter Welch of Vermont.
"We need everything," Poe said, explaining why he supports a
plan to boost renewable energy.