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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Energy Tax Credit Sales Under Investigation
Steve Wilson
Wikimedia Commons
A view of the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in eastern Oregon.

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office has requested documents in an investigation of the state Department of Energy. The probe relates to tax credits for renewable energy projects.

Oregon gave out hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives to projects that promote renewable energy and energy conservation -- things like solar and wind farms. Project owners could use those tax credits or sell them.

In the early days of the program, when someone wanted to sell their tax credit, the energy department would help find buyers. But then those sales went to private brokers and, somewhere along the way, the state stopped enforcing pricing rules.

This was all under the Business Energy Incentive Program, which has since been replaced. Now, an auditor with the secretary of state’s office is requesting records on those private sales – more than 70 pages from 2013.

A Department of Energy spokesperson declined to comment for this story.