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United States

Oregon governor to support reform of renewables tax credit system

US: Another step on the road to reining in Oregon's out-of-control Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) was taken last month when Governor Ted Kulongoski vowed support for reforms as soon state legislators convene in February.

Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton
Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton

A bill making similar modifications to BETC, widely considered the most lucrative renewable energy incentive programme in the US, was vetoed by Kulongoski last summer.

But the issue came to a head last fall after The Oregonian newspaper exposed a variety of abuses and runaway costs projected to reach more than $160 million in the current biennium (Windpower Monthly, December 2009).

Kulongoski now supports stringent cost caps and other accountability measures, along with project prioritisation and phasing out the incentives over five years.

At least one key issue remains – whether the new bill will make reforms retroactive beyond the currently proposed date of July 1, 2009.

Meanwhile, the state reports a surge in BETC applications as the changes have appeared increasingly imminent. The BETC deal, offers credits to those who invest in energy conservation, recycling, renewable energy resources and less-polluting transportation fuels.

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