[NEWS] Seneca Biomass Power Facility Wins Additional $1 Million Subsidy
– by Christian Wihtol, June 18, 2016, Register Guard
Seneca Sustainable Energy LLC, the company that operates a wood-burning power plant north of Eugene, has prevailed in its lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Energy, winning an extra $1 million taxpayer subsidy.
The state Department of Energy previously had issued Seneca a tax credit subsidy worth $10 million. Seneca had sued, arguing that under state rules it was due $11 million.
The case, in Lane County Circuit Court, was put on hold while another lawsuit on the same general topic, in relation to a new biogas plant in Linn County, was being litigated. The biogas plant owners, SIF Energy LLC, prevailed in the Oregon Court of Appeals in December, winning an additional subsidy of $444,000 for themselves. Based on that ruling, the Oregon Department of Energy decided to concede the Seneca case and award Seneca the additional $1 million subsidy it was seeking, the state said in a filing in the Seneca case.
Seneca said it spent $65 million to build the wood-waste burning plant off Highway 99. Under green energy programs, federal and state agencies, including the Oregon Department of Energy, had awarded Seneca $28 million in subsidies. Seneca’s court victory pushes the tally to $29 million.
Seneca said it was pleased by the Oregon Department of Energy’s decision, formalized in a judgment of dismissal on June 2.
“We originally filed this case because the Department of Energy miscalculated a tax credit and therefore our tax liability. This mistake amounted to a million dollars of additional tax liability. We are pleased that the department recognized their error and issued new certificates allowing the case to be fully and finally resolved,” Seneca said in a statement.
Oregon Department of Energy spokeswoman Rachel Wray said: “Resolutions to outstanding issues with the Business Energy Tax Credit program mean the agency can focus on our future.”