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Federal law would allow clean energy companies to structure themselves like oil companies



  Wind turbines near Palm Springs, California.
Enlarge / Wind turbines near Palm Springs, California.

Last week, US Senators and Representatives introduced Senate and House Bill to a corporate structure originally reserved for oil, gas and coal companies to clean energy companies.

This structure, known as the Master Limited Partnership (MLP), allows fossil-fueled companies to use lower taxes on limited partnerships while allowing them to issue publicly traded stocks and bonds. If the newly introduced laws, supported by both parties in both the House and the Senate, cast their respective votes, clean energy companies could structure their businesses as MLPs and take advantage of tax and finance benefits] According to the sponsoring website of Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) Belong to the newly eligible energy resources solar, wind, marine and hydrokinetic energy, fuel cells, energy storage, combined heat and power, biomass, waste heat , Renewable Energy Fuels, Biorefineries, Energy Efficient Buildings and Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS). "

MLP structuring is one of the many incentives that fossil fuel companies can use to make their businesses more profitable. In 201

7, an article in Nature Energy featured $ 2 billion in annual tax incentives to boost domestic oil production.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has also recently focused on subsidies for fossil fuels on a global scale. Last week, the agency issued a report stating that, despite some progress in recent years, the global value of fossil fuel subsidies has increased to 2014 levels by 2018, "reflecting the incompleteness of price reforms implemented in recent years underlines ". The value of fossil fuel subsidies rose to almost $ 400 billion worldwide in 2018.

Subsidies for fossil fuels are inefficient in industrialized countries because they keep the price of carbon-emitting energy unnaturally low. "The continued spread of these subsidies – more than double the estimated subsidies for renewable energy – complicates the task of reaching an early peak in global emissions," wrote the IEA.

Unfortunately, incentives and subsidies must be removed by politically powerful energy companies For many politicians an unpopular move, especially as it tends to lead to higher energy prices for consumers.

Instead, politicians in the United States seem to feel more comfortable in providing incentives for renewable and zero-emission energy and subsidies for those sectors. For example, the US Senate introduced the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act last week. The bill provides federal grants to universities, governments, unions, and other organizations that train US workers on offshore wind jobs. Such a fund would reduce the cost of training workers for the offshore wind industry if adopted.


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