Gotta Get Rid of the GET Green Energy Boondoggle
By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.
It seems everywhere you look, “clean energy” is in the news. Portland just handed out nearly $120 million to local nonprofits who promise to provide clean energy technologies. Congress is expected to pass the slimmed down version of President Biden’s Build Back Better program, with more than $300 billion going to clean energy.
Much of this spending will be wasted if Oregon’s experience with an almost-unheard-of program is any guide. The program is called “1.5% for Green Energy Technology,” or GET.
Under the program, any government construction or renovation project costing $5 million or more must spend 1.5% of its budget on green energy technologies, such as solar panels.
Cascade Policy Institute reviewed all of the available annual reports from the GET program and found that almost none of the projects pencil out financially.
Portland was forced to spend $90,000 to install solar panels on a fire station, even though the city said the station is “not the best solar site.” The new Multnomah County Courthouse was required to spend $6.6 million on investments that will have a payback period of nearly five centuries.
When the legislature meets next year, one of the first orders of business should be to shut down the GET program. We can never get to a clean energy future if none of the projects make any financial sense.
The full report can be found on Cascade’s website: Solar Panels in a Dark Room.
Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.