Lawmakers aim to save $800M tax credit for Plant Vogtle

House lawmakers are pushing legislation that would keep alive federal tax credits worth billions to the Plant Vogtle project and a similar plant in South Carolina.

A resolution passed last week in the House Ways and Means Committee would remove the tax credit’s current deadline requiring the two nuclear projects to be completed by 2021.

That extension could help preserve $800 million worth of tax credits that Georgia Power has been counting on to help lower the cost of the Vogtle project, which includes construction of two new reactors at the plant near Augusta.

The South Carolina project’s tax incentives total more than $2 billion, according to E&E News, a utility industry trade publication. That project is headed by SCANA Corp.

The resolution is expected to be voted on by the full House as soon as Tuesday, according to a House aide. The Senate also would have to approve.

The legislation could help clear the path to continued work on the two half-built nuclear projects, which were thrown into upheaval by the March bankruptcy of key contractor Westinghouse Electric.

The resolution would also allow non-profit partners in the two projects, which don’t pay federal taxes, to take advantage of the tax credits by selling them to for-profit project partners.

The resolution, H.R. 1551, lists several types of “eligible project partner” firms that would be allowed to take advantage of the credits, including for-profit owners, construction and nuclear design firms, suppliers of nuclear fuel, and suppliers of steam power-generation systems.

The Plant Vogtle expansion is about 46 percent owned by Georgia Power, while Oglethorpe Power, MEAG and the City of Dalton, all non-profits, own the rest.

Earlier this month Georgia Power also reached agreements with Westinghouse and its parent company, Toshiba Corp., that helped preserve a guarantee worth billions of dollars to the project.

Georgia Power has been studying whether to go forward with the Vogtle project in the wake of Westinghouse’s bankruptcy, which it has acknowledged will lead to more delays beyond its earlier projections to finish by the end of 2020.

As it is, the Vogtle project is already over $3 billion over budget and more than three years behind its original schedule.

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