On Friday, January 8, 2010, President Barack Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy manufacturing projects across the United States. Funding for the selected 183 projects in 43 states will be matched by around $5 billion from the private sector, bringing the total investment in the program to $7.7 billion.
The investment tax credits will be worth up to 30% of each planned project and will create tens of thousands of high quality clean energy jobs as well as the domestic manufacturing of advanced clean energy technologies including solar, wind and efficiency and energy management technologies. In addition, the tax credits are an important step towards meeting the President’s goal of doubling the amount of renewables used in the next three years by having wind turbines and solar panels directly assembled within the United States.
“Building a robust clean energy sector is how we will create jobs of the future, jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced,” President Obama said. “[It] will help close the clean energy gap that has grown between America and other nations while creating good jobs, reducing our carbon emissions and increasing our energy sector,” President Obama added.
According to the White House, over 500 applications with tax credits requests totaling over $8 million were received and the 183 projects chosen were based on the greatest domestic job creation, greatest net impact in reducing or avoiding altogether air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions, shortest project time from certification to completion and greatest technological innovation potential. Although 30% of the selected projects will be completed by 2010, all of the selected projects must be in place by 2014 and must be commissioned by February 17, 2013.
Many of the companies received tax credits in the smart grid, building efficiency, solar energy, wind energy, fuel cell, carbon dioxide capture and sequestration, lighting and plug-in electric vehicle fields. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., recently stated that the tax credits have been so successful that President Obama has already called on Congress to expand the program. According to Mr. Bingaman, pending legislation, the American Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership Act, will provide an additional $2.5 billion in tax credits – an amount sufficient to leverage $8.3 billion in new domestic investment.
Even further, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of Energy have allotted $3 billion from the stimulus package for approved companies to receive direct payments rather than tax credits for biomass, solar, wind and other production facilities, and the Obama administration has announced an additional $3.4 billion award in grant money to 100 private companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other entities to modernize the U.S. electrical power grid.