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Government The Almighty Buck United States Science

Budget Deal Has Tax Credit Extensions For Nuclear, Fuel Cells, Carbon Capture (arstechnica.com) 104

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A two-year budget deal was approved by the House and the Senate this morning and signed by President Trump a few hours later. The budget (PDF) included a slew of tax credit extensions that will affect how the energy industry plans its next two years. Most notably, the deal extended a $0.018 per-kWh credit for nuclear power plants over 6,000MW -- a tax credit that is primarily going to benefit one project in the US. That project is the construction of two new reactors at the Georgia Vogtle nuclear power plant.

Interestingly, a bipartisan effort to increase and extend tax credits for carbon sequestration passed through this budget. The bill was pushed through by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). The bill would offer a tax credit per ton of carbon dioxide that is captured and either sequestered, used for another end product, or used for enhanced oil recovery. The credit applies to any facility that started carbon capture construction within the past seven years, and the credit extends for 12 years.

While the budget deal leaves the federal tax credit scheme for electric vehicles unchanged (automakers can still entice buyers with a $7,500 credit for the first 200,000 electric vehicles that roll off that automaker's line), the budget did include and extend some interesting tax credits for other kinds of non-traditional energy. Fuel cell vehicles saw an extension of tax credits that will allow purchasers of new cars a tax credit of between $4,000 and $40,000, depending on the weight of the vehicle (this is probably good news for potential customers of Nikola's in-development fuel-cell semis). Non-hydrogen alternative fuel infrastructure also scored, as the new budget lets installers of infrastructure for alternative fuels like biodiesel and natural gas deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing the new pumps. Two-wheeled electric vehicle buyers will also see a 10-percent credit extended (though that credit has a $2,500 cap). Per-gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel credits that expired at the end of 2017 will continue.

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Budget Deal Has Tax Credit Extensions For Nuclear, Fuel Cells, Carbon Capture

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  • Trump (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Gets all the negativity when he signs a bill the left hates, but receives 0 credit for signing a bill the left praises.

  • Nuclear credit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 10, 2018 @01:52PM (#56100631)

    So, will the nuclear credit cover the billions of dollars of cost in regulatory and judicial delays to nuclear construction? Nuclear is competitive; malicious politics is very expensive.

    • I suspect the USA will have cheap and plentiful nuclear energy about one year after China or Russia does.

      It used to be that the USA yearned to be first and best in everything, now it just doesn't want to end up in third place. What happened? Why is second place good enough?

  • not bad, what's the ##
    • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @02:19PM (#56100739) Journal

      not bad, what's the ##

      What's the ... catch?

      Reforestation is important, not just to capture carbon but also to replace trees lost to logging, development, fires, disease, and pests.

      The catch is that trees take a long time to grow. So they are only part of the solution to all of the above. Managing existing forests carefully has to be considered also.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

      Not just planting trees but also growing them and harvesting them - in other words sustainable forestry.

      Even better than trees, in terms of carbon sequestering, is pasture. Pasture sucks up far more carbon than forest and then our livestock turns that biomass (grass, clover, etc) into delicious meat. Green eggs and ham. This too is carbon sequestering.

      Those are both part of what we do on our farm but I doubt that there will be any tax benefit.

    • That Carbon Sequester tax credit could very well be a major environmental solution for Los Angeles. Take sea water, use electrolysis to get oxygen and hydrogen. Bottle the oxygen for medical purposes. Add smog to the hydrogen, use the Bosch process to create water and bulk graphite. Sell the bulk graphite for pencils or whatever, gather the distilled water and sell it for filling swimming pools.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by blindseer ( 891256 )

        Where do we get the power for these processes? That's where the nuclear power credit comes in. Too bad California has declared itself a "nuclear free zone". It seems a bunch of idiots in California have equated nuclear power with nuclear weapons, and somehow that nuclear weapons are bad.

        I wonder where how they think nuclear weapons are bad? I mean North Korea is developing nuclear weapons as a means to defend itself against nuclear weapon owning USA. I ask, does anything think that if the USA launched

        • Given the process, tidal generators would make a bit more sense than nuclear. (if you're sucking up seawater anyway for electrolysis, it's nothing to sequester a bit more in your tidal pool then add turbines on the outflow).

  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @02:01PM (#56100677)

    Carbon capture? Really? As in the fig leaf that defines 'clean coal'?

    I understand that the perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good - but the whole clean coal thing mostly marketing for essentially free-wheeling carbon spewing, rather than an actual process to prevent environmental degredation.

    It's like one of those phone calls for police/firefighter funerals - that when asked only give "up to" 15% of their take to their cause - they're PRETENDING to give to something you want to help, eating up all the good will that should be going to something the public wants to help, consuming that good will while the actual cause withers.

    Sure - carbon capture can take a small percentage off of some effects of carbon spewing - but it only exists to pretend that you're doing something about a fundamentally wrong approach for our shared efforts as humans. It's basically the opposite of actually doing anything for the environment and the future of humanity - a fig leaf instead of clothing.

    Ryan Fenton

    • Because you don't understand the chemistry of a simple Bosch Reaction? [wikipedia.org]

      • Because you don't understand the chemistry of a simple Bosch Reaction? [wikipedia.org]

        Everything I did in chem lab turned into a Botched Reaction. Course, everything I did in woodworking turned into sawdust. I got into software development because that and politics were the only options left where repeated failure was acceptable. I wasn't rich enough to be a politician.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Wind and Solar require that you place them in either exactly right area, or have high-uptime year round. Hell you can look in California and Texas over the last 40 years and find millions of dead solar farms and wind farms. They don't survive here because we already have cheap energy. In most cases they require massive subsidies in order to operate as well. North America is resource rich, very resource rich. It is cheaper to build a dam, and flood thousands of KM of land then it is to build windmills i

      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

        One problem with service jobs, aside from their dead-end (and frequently part-time or seasonal) nature, is that they require *other* people to have disposable income before you even HAVE service jobs. Once you're topheavy with service jobs, or when the economy takes a downturn, where does the money come from??

        As to wind power, earlier today I tripped over this interesting set of charts:

        https://stopthesethings.com/20... [stopthesethings.com]

        Last winter I spoke to someone in Ontario whose home was blessed with electric heat. Their

    • I understand that the perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good

      Before you can make that claim you need to consider if carbon capture can even be classified as "good". Outside of a small pilot here and there there's yet to be anything substantial to show this is even workable.

      What there has been is the promise of carbon capture in return for government funding and subsidies then bankrupt projects that make away with billions leaving the stock standard but brand spanking new dirty coal in their wake.

      Example: https://nextcity.org/features/... [nextcity.org]

    • This puts back credits for a couple of things that Obama cut (nuke, fuel cells, etc.). It doesn't remove the subsidies that solar and wind need to stay in business.
  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @02:17PM (#56100731)

    E.g. there's a shitload of extra cash for the military

    https://www.politico.com/story... [politico.com]

    Friday's pact, signed by President Donald Trump, adds $165 billion to the Pentagon budget over two years. That means the military will receive at least $1.4 trillion in total through September 2019 to help buy more fighter planes, ships and other equipment, boost the size of the ranks, and beef up training - a level of funding that seemed a long shot just months ago.

    Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has long pushed for a $700 billion annual budget for the military, said in a statement that the agreement finally gives the Pentagon the "budget certainty it needs to begin the process of rebuilding the military."

    "The deal is a huge win for defense hawks," said Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute. "The groundwork was being laid for years culminating in what I predict will be the peak year of defense spending since the last peak in 2010."

    Basically the deal is that everyone gets what they want and the deficit goes through the stratosphere. GO USA!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And Rand Paul is considered an extremist for opposing it.

    • by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @02:41PM (#56100819)

      Basically the deal is that everyone gets what they want and the deficit goes through the stratosphere. GO USA!

      So kind of like 2009, except for the everybody part?

      • by stabiesoft ( 733417 ) on Saturday February 10, 2018 @03:38PM (#56100969) Homepage

        one difference, in 09 we were on the verge of a collapse like the great depression. Now we are in moderate economic growth. During times like these is when you should start to prepare for the next downturn by reducing debt, not increasing it.

      • Republican keep harping that they are for reducing the debt and deficit, when they are not in power - you don't seem democrat making that point one of their campaigning point. But republican are are in power it is deficit & debt glutony all over. That is the hypocrisy Rand Paul as speaking about a few days ago.
      • No, it is like 1980s, and all of 2000, until O put a stop to it ( and then allowed it again in his last year; he turned GOP for his last year).
  • These are all subsidies that go to big business and they are obsolete, ineffective technologies.

    Nuclear just keeps getting more expensive. It's more expensive than coal, gas, solar, wind, geothermal, etc. It's inflexible and has nasty waste problems. The only people who like it are the big utilities since it lets them raise electricity rates.

    Fuel cells are fool cells. The most inefficient way to generate electricity. There are no natural stores of H2 so you have to generate it using natural gas (good for fo

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