Also on the call was Dan Reicher, who gave the MLP parity concept a boost last week in an op-ed in the New York Times with Felix Mormann. The pair, both from the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford, noted that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) have proposed leveling the playing field between fossil fuels and renewables by eliminating MLPs for oil and gas. But Reicher – and Coons – said it a better strategy for growth would be to allow renewables into the game.
Plus, Reicher said: “There’s another benefit to expanding the pool of renewable energy investors: It would help democratize, and thus build support for, these new energy sources. Today, all American taxpayers fund renewable energy subsidies, but only a deep-pocketed few can cash in on the tax benefits. Publicly traded master limited partnerships … would empower all Americans to invest and have a stake in the transition to cleaner energy.”
To hear these guys tell it, you’d think there was no downside to the MLP Parity Act. But if investors are paying less taxes on their income from these projects, wouldn’t the federal coffers take a hit? Reicher said there could be some cost, but said it was also possible that by spurring new investment, expanding MLPs to include renewables might actually result in a net gain to the Treasury. Coons said that remains to be determined by Congressional budget scorers, but even if there were a cost, it was likely to be small and well worth it.
“By allowing additional forms of energy development to access this market tool, we can go beyond political rhetoric and start delivering an all-of-the-above energy strategy,” Coons said.
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