By Miriam Raftery
More troubling issues are coming to light regarding renewable energy developers and their projects. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration inspected records for 16 big renewable energy companies--and found that half had been double dipping.
The IRS says that many more wind and solar development owners may be taking money they are not entitled to, Rewire Magazine reports. Projects subsidized by the federal stimulus program are not eligible to also pocket wind power tax credits. The IRS says it doesn’t have way to check – but believes that over half the stimulus grant recipients should have audits to take a closer look.
Among small businesses examined by the Treasury Inspector General, it was even worse; 61% had filed for tax credits on projects that were already subsidized by taxpayers under the stimulus program.
Yet the IRS says it has no way to flag accounts of companies to challenge any that took tax credits on subsidized energy projects. That’s not the kind ot transparency promised by the Recovery Act to prevent waste, fraud or abuse of taxpayer monies – in this case, more than $18.5 billion doled out.
For energy companies, such funds are gifts that keep on giving, since tax credits continue to benefit them for power produced over the next 20 years. A single turbine in a windy location could generate up to a $30 an hour – or over a year, a quarter of a million dollars. For a typical large wind turbine with 100 turbines, that adds up to $50 million every year -- or a whopping billion dollars over the next two decades.