Pulling Out All the Stops
New Funding Gives GEO Big Push for GHP Tax Credit Extensions
Sept. 15 – The Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) and the geothermal heat pump industry have been strengthened by a sizable infusion of new funds. With that, GEO has taken immediate steps to significantly enhance its efforts to extend federal tax credits for both residential and commercial tax credits for geothermal heat pump (GHP) installations across the country.
The credits and depreciation benefits are set to expire on Dec. 31. “Congress extended the solar industry’s tax credits late last year to the exclusion of GHPs, and since then has presented a number of hurdles to our regaining a level playing field,” explained GEO President Doug Dougherty. “With this fresh infusion of support, we will pursue and an all-out effort to achieve parity with solar through Congressional action before the end of this year and into the spring of 2017 if we must.”
“We are more positive than ever that we can accomplish this goal for the industry,” said GEO Chairman Joe Parsons (EarthLinked Technologies). “We also recognize that there are no guarantees. But even if we are not successful in our work to extend the federal tax credits for geothermal heat pumps, we should be able to look in the mirror next spring and know that we did everything we possibly could to extend our tax credits for the benefit of our industry, the economy and the environment.”
The increased level of support for GEO advocacy is over and above the association’s current budget, for a commensurate increase in effort to get the tax credits extended for the benefit of the U.S. GHP industry. “Our new financial commitment is in support of the entire industry and that includes all of the manufacturers of GHPs, component manufacturers, distributors, contractors, drillers, engineers, architects and more,” said Dougherty.
GEO has already initiated its enhanced advocacy strategy to ensure that federal tax credits for GHP installations will continue on a par with solar through the end of 2021. These efforts will include:
- Hiring PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC to bolster GEO’s current advocacy team of Bracewell LLP and Heather Podesta + Partners (HP+P),
- Expanding Bracewell LLP efforts to include an aggressive public relations campaign and an advertising strategy in Beltway political dailies, and
- Bolstering the HP+P advocacy efforts.
“Optics are extremely important in D.C. politics and our enhanced advocacy efforts will send a stronger signal to congressional leaders that the geothermal heat pump industry is ‘all in’,” said Dougherty. “As I’ve stressed in the past, to be successful in this effort we must ‘Be Persistent, Be Seen and Be Consistent’.”
GEO will lead an industry “Fly-In” to Washington, DC on Sept. 20-22 with a coalition of supporters of tax parity for renewable energy. Participants will the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, National Ground Water Association, National Association of Home Builders, Distributed Wind Energy Association, Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association. GEO anticipates over 100 meetings with key members and tax committees’ staff.
“This coalition of national associations will demonstrate to members of Congress the importance of fair application of the tax code for all industries,” said Dougherty. “All of us will be driving the point home that Congress should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, and that this is a public policy issue of fairness.” (GEO)