Oregon lawmakers vote to limit the business energy tax credit program

On February 23, Oregon lawmakers voted 58-0 to pass House Bill 3680 that amends Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program. The Senate approved the bill on Monday. BETC, initially created in 1979, was expanded in 2007 when the credit was increased to 50% of the certified cost taken over five years for projects that use or produce renewable energy or are a renewable energy resource equipment manufacturing facility.

The program recently came under scrutiny when it was determined that the credits, which are subtracted directly from state taxes owed, would exceed budgeted estimates by over $100 million in the current two-year cycle. The new bill limits the amount of preliminary certification credits that the Department of Energy may issue for renewable energy projects to $300 million for the 2009-2011 biennium and $150 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.

Under the bill, preliminary certification will be valid for three years. The bill also extends the credit to 6-years for renewable projects exceeding $10 million, however, the credit can’t start being claimed until the year following final certification. Credits for individual wind projects exceeding 10 Megawatts would be limited to $3.5 million for those pre-certified in 2010, $2.5 million for projects pre-certified in 2011, and then further reduced to $1.5 million in 2012. The bill also extends BETC for manufacturing to January 1, 2014 for pre-certification and for all other projects until July 1, 2012.

Source: David Boulanger

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