Lawmakers float renewable energy finance bill

“This market-driven solution supports the all-of-the-above energy strategy we need to power our country for generations to come. Our legislation will unleash private capital, create jobs and modernize our tax code,” Coons said in a statement.

Master limited partnerships are investment arrangements that are taxed like a partnership, but whose interests are traded like stock. Proponents say it helps reduce the cost of capital by spreading risk among more investors.

Since it’s a tax bill, the legislation will go through the Senate Finance Committee in the upper chamber, and the House Ways and Means Committee in the lower chamber.

The companion bills will have supporters in those committees.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a bill co-sponsor, chairs the Finance Committee’s energy panel. And Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Finance Committee and chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also backs the bill.

In the House, Thompson is leading the Ways and Means energy task force.

Some prominent Republicans have signed on to co-sponsor the Senate version, including Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Moran.

The bill's sponsors expect to pick up more conservatives, with an eye on those from oil states.

Coons has previously said oil-patch lawmakers could support the bill as a concession to preserve master limited partnerships for conventional energy projects if Congress overhauls the tax code.

Murkowski encapsulated that sentiment in a Wednesday statement.

“The Master Limited Partnership structure has helped the oil and natural gas industry deliver the abundant and affordable energy that powers our economy today. Through a small change in the tax code, this legislation will provide renewables with the same opportunity,” she said.

And in a nod to the possibility of oil industry support, American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard said Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York that master limited partnerships are “a perfect example of an investment vehicle that can facilitate renewable energy.”

The measure has a list of supporters from renewable energy industry groups.

And the concept also has backing from the White House. The administration has touted it as a way to spark investment to help meet President Obama's goal of doubling renewable energy production by 2020.