Senate Dems press for lame duck action on renewable power grants

Sens. Maria CantwellMaria CantwellTrump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule Nine Dem senators say hiring freeze hurting trade enforcement Overnight Energy: Congress does away with Obama coal mining rule MORE (D-Wash.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDem: Trump's China trademark looks like a quid pro quo Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick Flynn told FBI he didn't talk sanctions with Russian envoy: report MORE (D-Calif.) and 24 other Democrats are asking for a two-year extension of the program – which sunsets at year’s end – in “any tax package the Senate considers during the current lame-duck session.”

Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) joined 26 Democrats on the letter.

The letter notes the grants have been  “widely credited with maintaining strong growth in the renewable energy sector in 2009 and 2010, despite the severe economic downturn” and helped create jobs.

“Prior to the economic meltdown, clean energy project developers relied on ‘tax equity partnerships’ with investors to take advantage of clean energy tax incentives.  In 2008, the economic meltdown froze the $8 billion tax equity market, jeopardizing billions of dollars in clean energy investment.  The TGP [Treasury Grant Program] proved an effective replacement for these partnerships, supporting around $18.2 billion in clean energy investment to build 8,600 megawatts of renewable energy generation through October 25, 2010,” states the letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidIf Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief Democrats declare victory after Puzder bows out MORE (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRepublicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy Americans brimming with optimism on the economy McCain hopes Americans can be confident GOP-controlled Congress can investigate president MORE (R-Ky.) and the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee.

“With most utilities and developers still unable to utilize existing production and investment tax credits, and our nation’s economic recovery dependent on the creation of new jobs, we believe a two-year extension of the TGP is critical,” adds the letter, which is signed by senators including Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), John KerryJohn KerryHow dealmaker Trump can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict John Kerry to teach at Yale on global issues The case for Julian Castro as the 2020 Democratic nominee MORE (D-Mass.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowTrump's pick to lead Medicare won't say if she supports negotiating prices with drug companies Overnight Finance: Fed chief tries to stay above partisan fray | Bill would eliminate consumer agency | Trump signs repeal of SEC rule on foreign payments Lawmakers urge Trump to raise trade issues with Abe MORE (D-Mich.) and others.

“We believe that any tax package should be designed to stimulate economic growth and job creation, and should include an extension of the Treasury Grant Program with an appropriate offset,” the letter states.