House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Chair Mike Thompson (D-CA) on February 4 introduced the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act of 2021 (H.R. 848). First introduced in June 2020, the 88-page bill aims to use the tax code to address the threat of climate change. The bill is co-sponsored by the entire Democratic membership of the Ways and Means Committee, including Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA).
The bill marks the first salvo in what promises to be a robust debate regarding renewable energy resources and related policies. Some provisions could be enacted during this Congress, while others may form the basis for future energy laws.
The GREEN Act has been introduced in the past, but Democratic majorities in Congress along with unified support from Ways and Means Committee Democrats together give at least some of these proposals a reasonable prospect for inclusion in enacted legislation later this year. While the GREEN Act should be examined seriously as some provisions may become law in the near future, at the same time this proposal represents closer to the first than to the last word on the subject. Additional proposals from both Senate Democrats and the Biden Administration are expected. At the least, it seems likely that renewable energy technologies will receive a boost of new and additional incentives, and it is at least possible that this could be the start of a broader, economy-wide transformation of US energy infrastructure.
While there may be a debate between the traditional (House) and technology-neutral (Sen. Wyden) approaches, it is clear that both the Biden Administration and the new Congressional majorities see renewable energy as an important priority tied to their initiatives on climate change, infrastructure, and job creation.