Overlapping wind energy initiatives spark claims of waste, as IRS increases tax credit

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A recent government report shows billions in taxpayer dollars are being swept away by pricey wind energy initiatives that often overlap, even as the IRS moves to up the value of a popular tax credit.

The Government Accountability Office recently identified 82 federal wind-related initiatives implemented by nine agencies in fiscal year 2011. The nearly seven dozen initiatives were fragmented across agencies and had overlapping characteristics, and several that financed deployment of wind facilities provided some duplicative financial support, the report found.

Sixty-eight of the 82 programs overlapped with at least one other initiative “because of shared characteristics,” the 95-page report found. The five agencies that had the most initiatives, and therefore were looked at closest, were the Departments of Energy, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Treasury. Those five departments collectively implemented 73 of the 82 proposals examined by the GAO.

Wind energy has been the fastest-growing source of U.S. electric power generation for a decade. The increase in demand has exposed several weaknesses in the chain of funding wind energy-related government projects.

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