Obama Awards Clean-Tech Manufacturing Tax Credits Worth $2.3 Billion

WASHINGTON, DC, January 8, 2010 (ENS) – President Barack Obama today announced the award of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for 183 clean energy manufacturing projects across the United States.

“Building a robust clean energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future,” said President Obama. “The Recovery Act awards I am announcing today 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 security.”

Scientist Harv Mahan makes anodes for litium-ion batteries. (Photo by Jack Dempsey courtesy NREL)

“Harnessing new forms of energy will be one of the defining challenges of the 21st century,” said the President. “And unfortunately, right now the United States, the nation that pioneered the use of clean energy, is being outpaced by nations around the world. It’s China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient.”

“We spearheaded the development of solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it,” Obama said. “And almost all of the batteries that we use to power our hybrid vehicles are still manufactured by Japanese companies or in Asia – though, because of steps like the one we’re taking today, we’re beginning to produce more of these batteries here at home.”

The investment tax credits, worth up to 30 percent 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, administration officials said.

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.

Worker examines aluminum parts at the National Renewable Energy Lab. (Photo by Pat Corkery courtesy NREL)

“By investing in innovative clean energy manufacturing projects like these, we are not only creating good jobs now, but helping lay a new foundation to keep America competitive in the 21st century economy,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “This is what the Recovery Act is all about.”

Projects in 43 states are expected to create tens of thousands of high quality clean energy jobs.

“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.”

These credits move the country towards meeting the President’s goal of doubling the amount of renewable energy America uses in the next three years with wind turbines and solar panels built in the United States.

“The world urgently needs to move toward clean energy technologies, and the United States has the opportunity to lead in this new industrial revolution,” said Secretary Chu. “Today’s awards will create new jobs and jumpstart the industries we need to both solve the energy problem and ensure America’s future competitiveness.”

Awardees will use the funding to create new products large and small that will make energy manufacture and consumption cleaner and cheaper. On the solar side, a random sampling of the 183 selected projects finds:

Amonix will manufacture low-cost solar electricity systems using inexpensive plastic lenses that concentrate sunlight. The systems generate 500 times more solar electric power from small, high-efficiency solar cells.

Dow will produce photovoltaic cells built into residential and commercial roofing and siding products. Dow’s technology imbeds solar cells into shingles, sidings, and other building materials.

GreenRay will manufacture a simplified “plug and play” AC solar electricity system for residential rooftops.

Nanosolar will factory-produce tools for the manufacturing of low-cost, low-GHG emission solar cells, using nanotechnology-enabled roll-to-roll processes.

PPG Industries will produce a double anti-reflective coating for glass that will permit increased light transmittance in solar modules. At their Louisiana facility, PPG will produce a special tire tread component that reduces rolling resistance and improves fuel economy.

On the wind side:

Eagle Claw will manufacture large wind turbine towers, a component piece of wind turbine systems used to generate electricity from wind energy. Towers are typically 250 to 400 feet high.

Great Lakes Industry will manufacture component precision gears for multi-megawatt wind turbine gearboxes.

Ingeteam Inc. will manufacture wind turbine generators in various technologies and will also manufacture power converter and control systems.

Johnson Plate & Tower Fabrication will establish and design a facility to manufacture commercial wind towers.

Martifer-Hirschfeld Energy Systems LLC will develop a factory for the production of steel towers for wind turbine generators.

Merrill Technologies Group will invest $73 million in advanced manufacturing equipment to support the production of nacelles for Northern Power’s new 2.2 MW utility-scale wind turbines.

Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Inc. will create a new facility that will manufacture nacelles for 2.4MW wind turbines.

Siemens Energy Inc. will expand a wind turbine blade manufacturing facility.

TPI Composites, Inc., a developer and volume manufacturer of large-scale composite structures for the wind energy, transportation and military vehicle markets, is building a new manufacturing facility in Nebraska to produce next generation wind turbine blades, creating over 200 new jobs.

Companies receiving tax credits for other technologies include:

CalStar Products will manufacture bricks and pavers from coal power plant fly ash. The process uses 88 percent less energy than traditional “fired” clay products, while avoiding the CO2 emission associated with concrete, and makes beneficial use of fly ash.

GEMX will re-equip an existing manufacturing facility to produce sodium metal halide batteries for electricity grid support and regulation and help increase efficiency by reduced peak power demands.

General Electric will redevelop manufacturing facilities to produce Energy Star compliant heat pump electric water heaters, heat pump clothes dryers, and efficient refrigerators, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions and energy savings.

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. They are 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.

While projects selected for this tax credit generally must be placed in service by 2014, approximately 30 percent of them will be completed in 2010.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2010. All rights reserved.

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