WSJ; Overheard On The Street: Solyndra's Ghost Haunts Any Discussion Of Political Support


Renewable energy on the table. But the Coons-Moran Maser Limited Partnerships Parity Act, reintroduced in Congress this week, could fail to make headway for a more mundane reason: it isn't a big enough deal in D.C.

The proposed legislation isn't a direct handout to wind and solar power firms. Rather, it would allow them to use the same MLP structure many oil-and-gas pipeline firms use to minimize tax payments and attract investment. This would cut the renewable sector's cost of capital through a market-based form of support that ought to be politically palatable.

But as Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov writes, the "ultra-narrow issue" of renewable MLPs "generates neither votes at election-time nor campaign contributions." To make it out of committee, he thinks the MLP act would have to be part of comprehensive tax reform, investors in renewable stocks are used to blue-sky thinking, but even they would have to agree that's a long shot.