Brown, Portman reintroduce bill to spur investment in new energy technology

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio reintroduced bipartisan legislation to spur investment in an innovative new energy technology and support jobs in Ohio.

The bill would benefit companies like Sunpower Inc., located in Athens, which has developed a promising electric power generation technology – the high-efficiency linear generator.

The senators’ bill would provide parity to these companies by allowing them to access an investment tax credit that will help them scale their product to market.

“New energy technology keeps the U.S. competitive and helps reduce energy costs for consumers. That’s why we should be making it easier for companies with promising ideas to get them to market,” Brown said. “The investment tax credit would give Sunpower and other companies the opportunity to take this technology mainstream and support jobs in southeast Ohio.”

“Linear generators are exactly the type of innovative technology that can help lower utility bills for homeowners and businesses in Ohio and throughout the U.S.,” Portman said. “Yet, this technology is at a disadvantage because of inconsistencies between the tax code and the practical, technical definitions for fuel cell technology. This legislation simply levels the playing field, making our linear generators competitive enough to fully enter the market during the phaseout of the existing investment tax credit.”

Sunpower is one of a number of companies that have invested in the research and development (R&D) to fully develop linear generation, a form of onsite power generation that can produce fuel from any sources including: fossil fuels, natural gas, biomass, solar or wind energy. The technology is ready to enter the market, but is not eligible for the tax incentives available to other forms of fuel cell technology that could help it reach its full potential.

Linear generation is not eligible for an investment tax credit because it does not meet the existing definition for qualified fuel cell property in the tax code. This puts companies at a competitive disadvantage and makes it tough to compete with similarly priced options. It is a neutral platform that can produce energy from any source, rather than a renewable or traditional fossil fuel source, and a tax credit would help it gain foothold in the market.

Brown and Portman are both members of the Senate Finance Committee and have worked to boost tax incentives and credits for Ohio businesses so they can boost R&D and get new products and ideas to market.

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