In April, the GAO issued a report that reviewed federal outlays, loan programs, and tax expenditures for new electricity generation facilities during the period from 2004 through 2013. Most of this support was provided to renewable energy projects. The report notes that Treasury Department grants for renewable projects under Section 1603 of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act totaled $16.6 billion, which accounted for nearly all of the $16.8 billion in federal outlays supporting new electricity generation projects. Federal loan programs, including direct loans and loan guarantees, totaled approximately $1.2 billion during the same period. Tax expenditures supporting renewable and traditional projects accounted for 15.1 billion foregone revenue to the federal government. Renewable projects accounted for 91% of this amount, or $13.7 billion.
There is some general information regarding the impact of federal outlays and loan programs. Outlays subsidized 1,201 projects which developed 29,331 MW of new generating capacity. 1603 grants accounted for nearly all of all of this, funding 1,073 projects that produced 28,309 MW of new generation capacity. Loan programs provided subsidized financing to 70 projects that produced nearly 10,000 MW of generating capacity. The report contends that it is more difficult to assess the effectiveness of the tax expenditure programs because data about the number of projects supported or the MW of new generating capacity added is not available for the two largest tax expenditure programs, investment tax credit under IRC Section 48 (ITC) and the production tax credit under IRC Section 45 (PTC), which accounted for $11.5 billion of the total $15.1 billion in foregone revenue to the federal government. The report recommends that Congress should consider requiring the IRS to collect project-level data from taxpayers claiming the ITC and the PTC regarding the number of projects for which they are claiming credit, the technology used by the projects, and the total generating capacity of the projects.