When Evergreen filed for bankruptcy last week, saying its finances were mostly in pieces, others were already sharing the pain.
The Massachusetts state government provided Evergreen with million of dollars in tax breaks and incentives over the last few years in hopes of encouraging development of renewable energy within the state. The company’s Devens factory, which was closed in January, was built with $58 million in state incentives.
Although the state is now issuing the company a retroactive $1.5 million property tax bill, the majority of the money–$21 million of which was in cash grants–may not be recoverable.
Read more on the Evergreen bankruptcy filing: Not So Evergreen.
“This Chapter 11 filing was not unexpected and will not prevent the administration from recovering funds Evergreen owes the Commonwealth. We have already terminated the company’s tax incentive agreement, are aggressively pursuing recouping the $1.5 million in tax savings Evergreen realized this fiscal year and will move quickly to protect the public’s interests throughout the bankruptcy proceedings,” Kimberly Haberlin, spokesperson for the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development (EOHED), told Breaking Energy in a statement.
Secretary Greg Bialecki, who is head of EOHED, is also the chairman of the state-run MassDevelopment board, one of Evergreen’s creditors. The state’s broad-based financial support for Evergreen shows just how much promise the company once seemed to hold and how enthusiastic the state has been in trying to expand its renewable energy portfolio.
“It is important to note that this filing is not reflective of the growth we’re seeing in Devens or in the Commonwealth’s nation-leading clean energy sector,” Haberlin said. She added that the state plans to move quickly in reusing the Devens space, formerly a military base, for new technological projects that will feed the state economy.”
“The state’s clean energy sector is also thriving in spite of heavily-subsidized competition from other countries. Massachusetts has seen clean energy employment increase dramatically since 2007, with continued growth in the sector now supporting tens of thousands of clean energy jobs. Among solar companies alone, the administration’s policies helped employment more than double between 2007 and 2010, while the number of solar companies grew from about 30 to 200,” Haberlin said.
Photo Caption: A Red Line subway car, known as the T in Boston, crosses the Charles River March 12, 2001 in Cambridge, MA.