Latest BETC iteration aims for balance
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
The latest plan for a BETC overhaul would retain incentives for rooftop solar panels on homes.
The latest proposal for overhauling Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit aims to keep some measure of renewable energy incentives in place while operating within the the state's budget constraints.
"What we really wanted to do is create some certainty for the market," said Rep. Jules Bailey, D - Portland, who has been active in the BETC-related policy debate this session.
The latest version of the bill would eliminate the current BETC program, which was created to provide incentives for renewable energy development but was widely criticized for being overly generous, and scaled back by the Oregon Legislature last year.
In its place would be a number of smaller programs, including:
- A program providing incentives for conservation, nicknamed "the Connie" would remain largely intact but would cover next-generation efficiency measures, not the low-hanging fruit such as switching out light bulbs. "We want to lead the market, not lag the market," Bailey said.
- The Residential Energy Tax Credit Program would eliminate incentives for energy-efficient appliances but continue to encourage residential solar deployment.
- A two-year pilot generation program, fondly known as "the Gennie," would provide cash grants to developers of renewable energy projects under 35-megwatts in size. The program would have $3 million to allot to such projects.
Market incentives including Oregon's Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires Oregon utilities to get 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025 — not to mention California's, which requires 33 percent by 2020 —is incentive enough for large-project developers, Bailey said.
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