Fuel cell battery chargers remain a strong area of potential growth for the fuel cell industry with high-growth applications such as digital cameras, smart phones, and tablet computers open to the introduction of a reliable, efficient technology that allows for battery recharging independent of the main electrical grid. Niche markets such as outdoor enthusiasts and emergency
The Department of Energy, under its Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program, provides reimbursement of 20 percent of qualifying smart grid investments.
Qualifying costs include, but are not limited to, certain manufacturing related costs, software that enables computers or other devices to engage in smart grid functions, and metering devices, sensors, and control devices that are capable of engaging in smart grid functions.
Recently, questions have been raised as to whether the DOE grant under this program is subject to federal income tax.
The IRS, in Revenue Procedure 2010-20, concluded that the DOE grant is not subject to federal income tax.
More and more utilities are beginning to realize that building large power plants just to handle peak daily and seasonal demand is a very costly way of managing an electricity system.
Existing electricity grids are typically a patchwork of local grids that are simultaneously inefficient, wasteful, and dysfunctional in that they often are unable, for example, to move electricity surpluses to areas of shortages.
The U.S. electricity grid today resembles the roads and highways of the mid-twentieth century before the interstate highway system was built. What is needed today is the electricity equivalent of the interstate highway system.
The Chinese government will invest more money in the development of smart grid technology than the United States in 2010, according to a new market study.
China will spend more than $7.3 billion in the form of stimulus loans, grants and tax incentives this year, compared to $7.1 million by the U.S., according to an analysis by Zpryme, a Texas-based research firm.
“They’ve got a strong economy to push forward,” said Jason Rodriguez, director of research at Zpryme.
The U.S. Department of Energy has granted a $43 million loan to a Massachusetts-based company to prove the value of a new technology in which spinning flywheels are used to improve the efficiency of the electric grid. Beacon Power Corp. will build a 20-megawatt flywheel plant in upstate New York in which flywheels spinning up to 16,000 times per minute will act as a sort of short-term power storage system for the state’s electrical distribution system, according to the Associated Press.
When Congress returns from its summer vacation it will consider legislation that could energize investment in renewable energy projects with an almost “cash for clunkers”-like fervor.
Like the cash for clunkers legislation (and American Idol, and The Office), a feed-in tariff bill would be a ripoff of a European idea modified for American consumption. Bills that would require utilities to pay a premium for renewable power have been tried and failed here before, but the time (and composition of the Congress) may be right for the fight to take flight.
Introduced by Democratic Senators Jay Inslee (WA) and Bill Dellahunt (MA), the bill would guarantee a market for the renewable power projects and would do much to calms fears in today’s skittish investment arena. Feed-in tariffs have been overwhelmingly successful in Germany and Spain, basically creating the solar industries in both those countries.
Because a feed-in tariff promises American jobs and reduces foreign energy dependency, Congress will likely give the idea more of a fair hearing when the leaves begin to turn in DC.