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Oregon Department of Energy filed new temporary administrative rules for portions of the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program on Friday, May 21. The new rules take effect Thursday, May 27.
This is the second phase of BETC rulemaking. The first phase of rule changes filed in November 2009 slowed the growth of the BETC program and created sideboards to provide more predictability, timeliness and consistency to reduce the impact on the state’s general fund. They also eliminated the practice of multiple applications for the same or similar projects and established new criteria for project eligibility and performance standards. Following public input, permanent rules to replace the November temporary rules were filed on April 30.
In this second phase, new rules implement program caps, tiers and project criteria that reflect changes requested by the Legislature in House Bill 3680 passed by the 2010 Legislature. They also include rules to simplify the BETC pass-through option’s rate formula and provide a uniform rate structure for the program as a result of House Bill 2068 passed in 2009.
“We’re committed to improving the BETC program so that it meets the highest standards and brings the highest value to the state in terms of investments in energy conservation, renewable energy development and job creation,” says Bob Repine, Oregon Department of Energy Director. “We’ve added a competitive element to the BETC application process that assures the best projects are supported.”
Under HB 3680 renewable energy tax credits are capped at $300 million for the current biennium (July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011). The Department has issued $218 million as of May 10, with the remainder to be distributed through the end of the biennium. A new tiered system has established funding cycles that are unique to each tier.
Tier One is for small projects with under $500,000 in eligible project costs (maximum tax credit of $250,000). $10 million is available in the current funding cycle (June 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010). Application requirements have few changes and are processed on a first-come basis over the ongoing funding period.
Tier Two includes projects with eligible projects costs ranging from $500,000 to under $6 million (maximum tax credit of $3 million). For the June 1 to August 31, 2010 funding period, $10 million is available and another $10 million covers the October 1 to December 31 funding period. Tier Three eligible project costs are $6 million and above (maximum tax credit of $10 million). $30 million is available. Both Tier Two and Three require a competitive review and award process.
The temporary rules are effective for 180 days ending Nov. 2, 2010. Rules are posted on the Department’s Web site at