ARLINGTON, Va. – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson today issued the following statement on House passage of the budget reconciliation bill.
“As electric co-ops work to reliably meet future energy needs at a cost that consumers can afford, they must have equal access to energy incentives and programs,” Matheson said. “The House bill would give co-ops access to direct-pay incentives for energy innovation and create a $10 billion program to support co-ops’ voluntary clean energy transition. This is appropriate recognition of the need to level the playing field for not-for-profit cooperatives, reduce costs and open new doors for innovation.”
The House bill includes two provisions relevant to co-ops:
Direct Pay Energy Innovation Tax Credits: Because electric co-ops are not-for-profit, consumer-owned businesses, they do not pay federal taxes. As a result, co-ops have not been eligible to receive federal tax incentives to promote renewables and other innovative technologies that for-profit utilities have enjoyed for years. The House bill addresses this inequity by providing direct payments to co-ops and municipal utilities to promote investments in new technologies.
USDA Voluntary Energy Transition Program: The bill includes $10 billion that can be used by electric co-ops to help defray the costs of voluntarily retiring coal plants or investing in renewable energy and other technologies that reduce carbon emissions.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.