The US Departments of Energy and the Treasury have announced the availability of $150 million in tax credits for clean energy and energy efficiency manufacturing projects across the country.
The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program, part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above approach to energy, was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The initial round provided $2.3 billion in credits to 183 projects.
The $150 million in tax credits are being made available because they were not used by the previous awardees.
Eligible manufacturing facilities include:
- Solar, wind, geothermal or other renewable energy equipment.
- Electric grids and storage for renewables.
- 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.
Other advanced energy property designed to reduce GHG emissions may also be eligible as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.
These remaining tax credits will be allocated on a competitive basis. DOE will assess projects based on: commercial viability, domestic job creation, technological innovation, speed to project completion, and potential for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The department will also consider additional factors including diversity of geography, technology, project size and regional economic development.
Over the past four years, the US has more than doubled clean, renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources, DOE says. At the same time, the American manufacturing sector has added 500,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010.
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), policymakers should consider increasing the federal tax incentive for energy efficiency of commercial buildings. The current deduction — $1.80 per square foot for buildings that reduce energy use by 50 percent relative to the requirements in the 2004 version of ASHRAE Standard 90.1.5 — isn’t enough of an incentive, ACEEE says, the 50 percent target is only achievable in new buildings, and the criteria to qualify for the deductions are too complex.
Legislation has been introduced to address these issues. The Commercial Building Modernization Act would increases the deduction for new buildings to $3 per square foot and adds a new deduction for existing buildings for achieving savings of 20 percent or more relative to the current consumption of the building, with the amount of the deduction increasing as the savings increase.