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USA: US$2.3bn in clean energy manufacturing tax credits

The US$2.3 billion in tax credits for clean energy manufacturing is being allocated on a competitive basis.

The clean energy projects are assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Commercial viability;
  • Domestic job creation;
  • Technological innovation;
  • Speed to project completion; and
  • Potential for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Department of Energy (DoE) also considered additional factors including diversity of geography, technology and project size, and regional economic development.

The clean energy manufacturing programme is currently capped at US$2.3bn in tax credits and was oversubscribed by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, reflecting a deep pipeline of high quality clean energy manufacturing opportunities in the USA, DoE says.

IRS has certified applications and notified the certified projects with the approved amount of their tax credit. Awardees will receive acceptance agreements from the IRS by 16 April, 2010.

Clean energy manufacturing tax credits will be allocated until the programme funding is exhausted. Subsequent allocation periods will depend on remaining funds.

Estimated jobs impact and timeline:

The clean energy manufacturing facilities will generate more than 17,000 jobs. This investment will be matched by as much as US$5.4bn in private sector funding likely supporting up to 41,000 additional jobs.

Timing of projects:

The statute allows projects that are completed on or after 17 February, 2009, when the Recovery Act was signed. Clean energy manufacturing projects must be commissioned before 17 February, 2013. The statute favours the selection of projects that are in service early. As a result, some of the selected projects already have been completed and begun operation.

Applicant pool:

The application deadline was 16 October, 2009. Over 500 applications were received with tax credit requests totalling over US$8bn. The applications pool was distributed across many clean energy technologies and was geographically distributed to more than 40 states.

Qualifying manufacturing facilities included the production of a wide range of clean energy products:

  • Solar, wind, geothermal, or other renewable energy equipment;
  • Electric grids and storage for renewable energy;
  • Fuel cells and microturbines;
  • Energy storage systems for electric or hybrid vehicles;
  • Carbon dioxide capture and sequestration equipment;
  • Equipment for refining or blending renewable fuels;
  • Equipment for energy conservation, including lighting and smart grid technologies;
  • Plug-in electric vehicles or their components, such as electric motors, generators, and power control units; and
  • Other advanced energy property designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may also be eligible as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.

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