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USA: Incentive applications flood Oregon energy department

The holiday season comes with a tongue-in-cheek gift for workers at the Oregon Department of Energy this year: 440 applications for the final awards of the Business Energy Tax Credit program.

That’s the number that inched in under the Nov. 1 deadline to apply for credits before the program’s sunset date, Jan. 1, 2013. Despite the seemingly high total, the 440 applications represent only 21 percent of the projects eligible for BETC awards at the end of 2012. Others failed to pursue tax credits for a variety of reasons, including failing to follow up, missing the deadline, and a tough economy that probably prevented some projects from ever being built.

The once-generous BETC program was downsized by the Oregon Legislature in 2011.

Projects had to have received a preliminary certification and start construction by April 15, 2011 to be eligible. A total of 2,089 projects had preliminary certifications heading into the 2012’s home stretch. Fourteen of those that applied have been denied or revoked, putting the remainder in line to claim a total $60 million in potential Christmas BETCs. That’s just under half the total costs to build the 426 projects: $131 million.

In the mix are mostly conservation projects, 80 in all, including upgrades to insulation, water heating, lighting changes, and HVAC, along with industrial process improvements and new LEED buildings, among other things.

The rest of the tax credit finalists include reycling (1), biomass (5), wind turbines (2), hydro projects (2), solar projects (21), transportation (17) and other renewable energy projects (14).

Five of those transportation projects were for The Wave, a coastal transit service operated by the Tillamook County Transportation District, where they cut emissions and expenses on four new buses and subsidized operational costs and received tax credits of roughly $670,000.


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