The state’s wind power rebate program is in a tailspin, after the California Energy Commission accused a turbine manufacturer of fraud this week.
The program for getting wind power rebates was suspended March 4 to allow the commission time to review a flurry of applications from DyoCore Inc. customers, who have already collected more than $515,000 in rebates.
Another 249 rebates for systems using DyoCore turbines were approved for almost $6.4 million, but not paid, and 1,069 rebate applications using DyoCore turbines, totaling more than $31 million, are pending review.
The state may try to revoke some rebates already paid.
David Raine, chief technology officer and founder of DyoCore, denied any wrongdoing. He said his operation is being punished for offering low-cost wind turbine installations residential customers can afford.
Brian Pierce, owner of an Energy Pros DyoCore dealership in Rocklin, said the energy commission stiffed him for hundreds of thousands of dollars in promised rebates.
The commission alleges that DyoCore, based in Carlsbad, overstated the performance of its SolAir small wind turbine to get on a list of equipment eligible for a rebate.
“DyoCore actions have negatively impacted legitimate competition under this program, since other providers of small wind systems are unable to compete with DyoCore’s low-cost systems, claims that are based on a false premise,” Robert Oglesby, executive director of the commission, said in a press release. He said the commission hired a technical consultant who found DyoCore’s claims of energy generation are 7.5 times greater than theoretically possible.
The commission’s complaint against DyoCore is now in the hands of its chief counsel, Michael Levy, who could forward it to the state Attorney General for prosecution if he finds it has merit.
Since 1998, the commission’s Emerging Renewable Program has given rebates and production incentives to 577 customers who purchased and installed small wind systems. It received more than 1,000 rebate applications from January to March for systems using DyoCore turbines.
Many sites were in low wind areas, and the systems qualified for up to $28,000 in rebates, which essentially provided free systems to consumers, the commission said.
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