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Budget deal has tax credit extensions for nuclear, fuel cells, carbon capture

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Enlarge / Atomic plant Vogtle, located in Burke County, near Waynesboro, Georgia. (Photo by Pallava Bagla/Corbis via Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

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. Vogtle’s future was uncertain last year after reactor designer Westinghouse went bankrupt. The plant's reactors, which are now billions of dollars over budget, are not expected to be in service until 2021 and 2022 at the earliest. Before this budget deal, new nuclear plants would have had to be in operation before 2020 to take advantage of a key federal tax credit.

Georgia’s public utilities commission approved a deal to move forward with the project in December, provided the federal government extend the in-operation date for the federal tax credit. With this morning’s budget deal, it seems that Vogtle will go ahead, unlike its sibling site in South Carolina, whose parent company is planning to shut it down and explore a merger with energy company Dominion.

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