GAO identified 82 federal wind-related initiatives, with a variety of key characteristics, implemented by nine agencies in fiscal year 2011. Five agencies–the Departments of Energy (DOE), the Interior, Agriculture (USDA), Commerce, and the Treasury–collectively implemented 73 of the initiatives. The 82 initiatives incurred about $2.9 billion in wind-related obligations and provided estimated wind-related tax subsidies totaling at least $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2011, although complete data on wind-related tax subsidies were not available. Initiatives supporting deployment of wind facilities, such as those financing their construction or use, constituted the majority of initiatives and accounted for nearly all obligations and estimated tax subsidies related to wind in fiscal year 2011. In particular, a tax expenditure and a grant initiative, both administered by Treasury, accounted for nearly all federal financial support for wind energy.
GAO recommended that to the extent possible within their statutory authority DOE and USDA formally assess and document whether the federal financial support of their initiatives is needed for applicants’ wind projects to be built.Read the full report