President Obama awards $2.3 billion for new clean-tech manufacturing

Recovery Act tax credits allot more than $7 billion in new manufacturing projects and are expected to create thousands of jobs.
By David Greenfield January 12, 2010

President Obama has announced the award of $2.3 billion in Recovery ActAdvanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy manufacturingprojects across the UnitedStates.

Geithner and Obama

Teasury Secretary Geithner and President Obama at press conference. Source: Zimbio.com

Behind these credits was a partnership between the Departments of Treasury

and Energy. The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit authorized Treasury to

provide developers with an investment tax credit of 30% for facilities that

manufacture particular types of energy equipment. Qualifying manufacturers will

produce solar, wind, and geothermal energy equipment; fuel cells,

microturbines, and batteries; electric cars; electric grids to support the

transmission of renewable energy; energy conservation technologies; and

equipment that captures and sequesters carbon dioxide or reduces greenhouse gas

emissions.

According to the White House, these tax credits, as part of the Recovery

Act, are focused on putting Americans back to work by building a "robust

domestic manufacturing capacity to supply clean and renewable energy projects

with American made parts and equipment." These credits are also said to be

an important step toward meeting the President’s goal of doubling the amount of

renewable energy the country uses in the next three years with wind turbines

and solar panels built in the United

States. 

"There is no greater priority for this Administration than getting

Americans back to work," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. "The

awards announced today, together with the more than $5 billion in private

sector capital spurred by our investment, will drive significant growth in the

renewable energy and clean technology manufacturing sectors, good jobs, an

energized private sector marketplace and a leadership role for the U.S. in these

crucial high-growth markets."

This effort, along with other Recovery Act investments, will drive

significant growth in the renewable energy and clean technology manufacturing

sectors and give the United

States the ability to lead globally in these

markets, said the White House.  The investment tax credits, worth up to 30%

of each planned project, will leverage private capital for a total investment

of nearly $7.7 billion in high-tech manufacturing in the United States. 

While projects selected for this tax credit generally must be placed in

service by 2014, approximately 30% of them are expected to be completed in

2010. Some of the companies and products awarded funds include:

  • Itron Inc.’s OpenWay Centron meter is one of the

    first smart meters for the residential market providing built-in, two-way

    communications and a remote on/off switch which is said to give customers more

    choice and enable utilities to provide higher reliability at lower cost. The

    expansion of manufacturing capacity in the company’s facility in South Carolina will

    allow an annual production of four million meters. Itron estimates that one

    year’s production of the meters will be able to reduce electricity use by

    approximately 1.7 million MWh per year.

  • W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. is producing an

    advanced membrane for high efficiency fuel cells for buildings and

    vehicles.  The company’s products can help enable lower-cost fuel cells

    for use in electric vehicles or to power homes and businesses.  The company

    is also manufacturing an advanced turbine filter to improve the performance of

    gas turbines to produce greater outputs at lower cost and reduce greenhouse gas

    emissions. 

  • PPG Industries Inc. will produce a double

    anti-reflective coating for glass to make solar cells more efficient.  And

    at its Louisiana

    facility, PPG will produce a special tire tread component that reduces rolling

    resistance and improves fuel economy.  Before the solar industry had

    begun, PPG pioneered the first low-iron glass that has been used in solar cells

    and on countless solar installations over the past two decades. Today, this

    credit will help to expand the manufacture of one of the critical components of

    glass solar cells, the transparent conductive oxide (TCO) coatings of the glass,

    without which the cells cannot function. 

  • TPI Composites Inc. is building a new

    manufacturing facility in Nebraska

    to produce next generation wind turbine blades. TPI says the facility will

    create more than 200 new jobs and will have a capacity equivalent to supplying

    265 turbines rated at 2.5 MW for a total electrical output of 663 MW. TPI

    will also be expanding its existing manufacturing facility in Iowa to meet the anticipated increased

    demand for composite wind turbine blades.  TPI’s composite materials made

    in both facilities are used to make lighter and stronger wind turbine blades

    and lighter and stronger (and more fuel efficient) vehicles.

For a full list of selected projects, click here.

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– Edited by David Greenfield , editorial director
Control Engineering Sustainable Engineering
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