More than a third of the credits issued under a tax credit program for renewable energy companies in Oregon went to problematic projects.
That’s according to an independent analysis issued Thursday by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.
The report was prepared by a Portland-based consulting firm that specializes in financial crimes. It was paid for by the Secretary of State’s office.
The report’s conclusion: The state gave away more than $300 million in tax credits to projects that showed shoddy bookkeeping, direct conflicts of interest or for projects that never got off the ground.
The Business Energy Tax Credit was created in the 1970s, but the Oregon legislature vastly expanded it in 2007 at the urging of then-governor Ted Kulongoski.
Lawmakers wanted to spur more investment in renewable energy projects in the state.
But the program turned out to be far more generous than anticipated. It was reduced and then phased out entirely in 2014.
In a written response, the head of the agency that oversaw the Business Energy Tax Credit acknowledges “significant mistakes” were made.
Oregon Department of Energy Director Mike Kaplan says the agency failed to implement the program “with care and duty.”