[NEWS] Seneca Biomass Power Facility Wins Additional $1 Million Subsidy

– by Christian Wihtol, June 18, 2016, Register Guard

Biomass-Receiving-Station

Photo: senecasawmill.com

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.”

READ MORE at Register Guard

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