Mayors Call for Microgrid Tax Incentives in U.S. Infrastructure Plan

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A United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) energy committee has called for microgrid tax incentives to be included in a national infrastructure plan for Congress.

Called “The New Bedford Principles,” the proposal was released at the mayors’ summit on smart cities and new energy technologies September 14-15 in New Bedford, Mass.

The group presented six principles, two of which focus on microgrids.

Principal 2 seeks authorization of microgrid tax incentives and other forms of funding to boost not only microgrids, but also distributed generation and storage systems.

Principle 4 calls for direct funding to municipal utilities — or tax incentives to investor-owned utilities — to modernize local grids, including microgrids, to increase climate resilience.

The mayors want the energy recommendations to be incorporated into a national infrastructure proposal that the organization plans to release later this year, with an eye toward encouraging Congress to take up its cause when it considers infrastructure spending in 2018.

The event was hosted by New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, who serves as energy chair for the USCM.

With aggressive wind, solar and energy efficiency initiatives underway in New Bedford, Mitchell is viewed as a clean energy champion. His office describes New Bedford as having more installed solar capacity on a per capita basis than any other city in the continental United States besides San Diego. Its major solar installations represent more than $60 million in privately-financed construction, investments that the city says will save taxpayers $22 million in reduced energy costs over 20 years.

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The city also has the largest municipal electric car fleet in Massachusetts and landfill waste-to-energy projects. New Bedford recently undertook one of the largest energy efficiency performance-contracting initiatives anywhere in the Northeast, partnering with Siemens to retrofit nearly 100 municipal buildings.

Other mayors at the New Bedford energy summit included Gresham, OR Mayor Shane Bemis; Elizabeth, NJ Mayor Christian Bollwage; Fall River, MA Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II; Nashua, NH Mayor Jim Donchess; Providence, RI Mayor Jorge Elorza; Bridgeport, CT Mayor Joseph Ganim; New Haven, CT Mayor Toni Harp; Schenectady, NY Mayor Gary McCarthy; Findlay, OH Mayor Lydia Mihalik; Holyoke, MA Mayor Alex Morse; Baltimore, MD Mayor Catherine Pugh;Norwalk, CT Mayor Harry Rilling; Portland, ME Mayor Ethan Strimling; Mount Vernon, NYMayor Richard Thomas; Piscataway Township, NJ Mayor Brian Wahler; Newton, MA Mayor Setti Warren; and Denton, TX Mayor Chris Watts.

The New Bedford Principles
  1. Seek an energy-friendly tax reform package that doesn’t undermine current progress: a. Keep tax-exemption on municipal bonds; b. Keep state and local tax deductibility; c. Preserve and extend tax credits and other incentives to support renewable energ
  2. Authorize additional tax and other incentives to promote more investment in microgrids, distributed generation, and storage systems.
  3. Direct funding to support the development of local energy assurance plans to advance local resiliency efforts, especially those to combat climatic events.
  4. Direct funding to municipal utilities or tax incentives to investor-owned utilities to modernize local grids, including microgrids, to increase resilience to climatic events.
  5. Direct funding to support local energy block grants to support city energy independence goals
  6. Restore federal challenge grants to incentivize smart grid effort

Track news about microgrid tax incentives and other funding sources. Follow Microgrid Knowledge on Twitter @MicrogridNews 

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.