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updated: 4/17/2017 10:49 AM

Equalize tax treatment for renewable energy

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Some call it a drafting error, others a mistake. Regardless of how it happened, Congress passed a spending bill in December 2015 that extended tax credits for big wind and solar energy but left other clean energy technologies in the cold. As a result, residential and commercial tax credits for geothermal heat pumps, fuel cells, microturbines, small wind, and combined heat and power all expired on December 31, 2016.

Congress' failure to right this wrong is already having real consequences. Geothermal heat pump manufacturers project sales declines of 30-40 percent in 2017 and beyond. The entire industry supply chain, which is entirely U.S.-based, is at risk for loss of investment and jobs.

In northern Illinois, this includes large component manufacturer Grundfos, loop installer Great Lakes Geothermal, and contractor Advanced Geothermal Plumbing and Heating just to name a few. Without the tax credits, sales and projects using geothermal heat pump technology will decline, putting good paying domestic jobs at risk. We just can't compete on a playing field tilted against us in favor of other renewable energy technologies.

Some Members of Congress suggest the issue will be addressed during tax reform debate. But we can't wait. With thousands of jobs on the line, we urge House Ways and Means Committee Member Peter Roskam (R-IL 6th District) and his colleagues to take immediate action to fix the "error" and ensure equal tax treatment for all clean energy technologies.

Douglas Dougherty,

President and CEO

Geothermal Exchange Organization

Springfield

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