Many nurseries looking to cut their operating costs have found that energy efficiency projects pay strong dividends — particularly when incentives are available to help pay for them. Since 1979, the state of Oregon has offered the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program, which proved to be very popular. Not only did it save businesses money, but it also freed up power supply capacity for other users without forcing power companies (and their customers) to pay the high cost of developing new power sources.
The state’s recession-driven budget crunch, however, led the state Legislature to end the BETC program in its current form with House Bill 3672. Although the bill was not signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber until Aug. 5, it required that the state turn away (PDF) any BETC applications received prior to April 15, 2011. Those applications that got in before the deadline were processed. Those after? Out of luck.
The Energy Trust of Oregon has stepped in with a set of incentives for commercial and industrial power customers impacted by the sunset of the BETC program. Bonus cash incentives are being made available for qualified lighting upgrades and custom capital energy efficiency improvements. To be eligible, a project must be enrolled with Energy Trust September 1 or later and be completed by December 15, 2011. The bonus incentives will be available for eligible projects served by existing buildings, existing multifamily and production efficiency. Head on over to their site for more details.
State energy efficiency incentives will not go away entirely in Oregon. Officials are working on a new replacement program for BETC, as directed in HB 3672. This new, smaller program is likely to be funded by the auction of energy tax credits. More information is available here.
About a year ago, the Oregon Association of Nurseries set a goal to reduce nursery industry energy consumption in Oregon by 25 percent over the next 10 years. As an OAN publication, Digger magazine will continue to point out opportunities that businesses have to use less and save more.