President Obama Awards $2.3 Billion for New Clean-Tech Manufacturing Jobs

Filed under: 1sdn,Green Jobs & Careers,Policy | |

clean energy manufacturing jobsThe award of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for 183 projects in 43 projects across the United States will generate more than 59,000 high quality clean energy jobs and the domestic manufacturing of advanced clean energy technologies including solar, wind, and efficiency and energy management technologies.

by Tracey de Morsella, Green Economy Post

Yesterday, at the White House, President Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for  projects across the United States. The Obama Administration says that the 183 projects in 43 states will generate more than 17,000 high quality clean energy jobs and the domestic manufacturing of advanced clean energy technologies including solar, wind, and efficiency and energy management technologies.  This investment will be matched by as much as $5.4 billion in private sector funding likely supporting up to 41,000 additional jobs.

As part of the Recovery Act, these tax credits are focused on putting Americans back to work by building a dfomestic manufacturing capacity to supply clean and renewable energy projects with American made parts and equipment. These credits are also an important step towards 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 right here in 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.”

“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 Biden.

“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.”

This effort, along with other Recovery Act investments, is designed to 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. 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.

The projects were competitively selected through a rigorous merit review process and the companies chosen say they will create more than 17,000 jobs in some of the fastest growing parts of our economy.

Timing of Projects:
The statute authorizing the 48C tax credits allows projects that are completed on or after February 17, 2009, when the Recovery Act was signed.  Projects must be commissioned before February 17, 2013.  The statute favors 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 for the 48C program was October 16, 2009.  Over 500 applications were received with tax credit requests totaling over $8 billion.  The 48C applications pool was distributed across many clean energy technologies and was geographically distributed to more than 40 states.

The statutorily specified review criteria included:

  • Greatest domestic job creation (direct and indirect)
  • Greatest net impact in avoiding or reducing air pollutants or emissions of greenhouse gases; lowest levelized cost of energy
  • Greatest potential for technological innovation and commercial deployment
  • Shortest project time from certification to completion

Yesterday’s announcement includes tax credits for numerous clean energy technologies and companies, including:

Smart Grid – 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 will give customers more choice and enable utilities to provide higher reliability at lower cost.

The expansion of manufacturing capacity in their 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.

Building Efficiency and Energy Management – 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.

Solar Energy – PPG Industries, Inc. will produce a double anti-reflective coating for glass to make solar cells more efficient. At their 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.

Wind Energy – TPI Composites, Inc. is building a new manufacturing facility in Nebraska to produce next generation wind turbine blades. TPI says the facility will create over 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 their 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.

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

As part of an innovative partnership between the Departments of Treasury and Energy, the two cabinet agencies worked together to develop, launch, and award the funds for this program in record time. 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.

Expanded Support for 48C Tax Credits to Accelerate Manufacturing Job Creation:
Because the 48C program generated far more interest than anticipated, DOE and Treasury have a substantial backlog of technically acceptable applications. Instead of turning down worthy applicants who are willing to invest private resources to build and equip factories that manufacture clean energy products in America, the Administration has called on Congress to provide an additional $5 billion to expand the program.  Because there is already an existing pipeline of worthy projects and substantial interest in this area, these funds will be deployed quickly to create jobs and support economic activity.  In doing so, the Administration will employ new approaches to ensure that we maximize private investment for every dollar we invest.

One hundred eighty three projects have been selected for the tax credit. The following is a particial list of the reciepients.

Abound Solar, Inc. of Longmont, CO was awarded $12,600,000 to expand facility capacity with an additional manufacturing line. This facility is solely dedicated to commercial production of PV solar panels using cadmium telluride semiconductor technology.

CaliSolar, Inc.
of Sunnyvale, CA was awarded $51,563,980 to build a new manufacturing facility to process silicon feedstock into finished solar cells.

Brevini Wind USA, Inc. of Yorktown, IN was awarded $12,750,000 is will establish a new manufacturing facitlity that will produce Main Drive Gear Boxes for wind turbine manufacturers.  The product allows servicing of the gear box without the use of heavy lifting equipment to remove the entire gearbox from the wind turbine.

GEMX Technologies LLC of Schenectady, NY was awarded $25,500,000 to re-equip an existing manufacturing facility.  The facility will produce sodium metal halide batteries for various markets, including electricity grid support and regulation services to help support renewable energy penetration levels, enable remote power systems based on renewable energy sources, and help increase efficiency by reduced peak power demands.

Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. of Hemlock, MI was awarded $141,870,000 to expand a manufacturing plant that produces polycrystalline-silicon used in the production of solar panels.  The plants, when fully operational, will produce 19,200 metric tons per year.

Martifer-Hirschfeld Energy Systems LLC
of Angelo, TX was awarded $3,474,269 to  develop a factory for the production of steel towers for wind turbine generators.  This evolution will allow the wind tower plant to achieve considerable gains in terms of efficiency and in production times.

Novozymes Blair, Inc. of Blair, NE was awarded $28,401,000  to install equipment at a new manufacturing facility to produce biocatalysts (enzymes) used in manufacturing cellulosic ethanol from corn stover by the biochemical platform (biomass pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis, fermentation, distillation).  These biocatalysts will aid the production of biofuels as a renewable energy source.

Premium Power of  North Reading,   MA was awarded $3,000,000 to establish a manufacturing facility to produce its proprietary Zinc-Flow® advanced renewable energy storage systems. The technology will deliver high energy storage density, long product life, and deep discharge capability for use in SmartGrid.

Roller Bearing Co. of America, Inc Houston    TX $4,155,000  to  produce turbine blade and yaw bearings, both of which will be used in wind turbines.  The blades are attached to a hub by large pitch bearings which facilitate movement allowing optimal performance with varying wind conditions.  Yaw bearings allow the nacelle to be directed into the wind allowing more efficient conversion of wind into electricity. The resulting technologies will aid domestic production of wind turbines and renewable wind energy.

UTC Power Corp. of South Windsor,CT  was awarded $5,300,100 to open a new manufacturing facility to produce a clean, efficient and reliable fuel-cell powerplant offering more than twice the efficiency of traditional energy sources, while maintaining a low sound and emissions profile.

See the full list of selected projects (Exc el 115 KB).

© 2010, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.