Every day, it seems that people are taking more and more steps to live greener, more sustainable lives. From better recycling programs to restrictions on water use, communities and individuals everywhere are taking a good, hard look at their actions and how they affect the world. It’s no wonder then that the green building and construction industry is booming,
Amid all the negative publicity that Solyndra’s failure has brought to the Administration’s cleantech efforts, one cleantech program has received broad bipartisan support: DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-e). In 2012, ARPA-e will receive $275 million, a 53% increase from the prior year with both the House and the Senate supporting significant
With the aim of fomenting renewable energy within academia, the Fundación IBERDROLA, which is kept by renewable energy giant Iberdrola, has announced the first round of its program of scholarships for postgraduate studies in energy and the environment at academic centres in the United Kingdom and the United States.
In the latest installment of green energy finance, I will address government incentives and other programs. I will also highlight some factors that may make green incentives go from rare bird to endangered species.
As always, I am not a finance professional, and the goal of these posts is simply to give a high-level overview of government
Since January 1st, the British Department of Transport started to issue grants of £5,000 (US$7,724) to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) as part of a larger, £400 million (US$618 million) drive to reduce emissions from road transport.
In response to the initiative, the Electrical Contractor’s Association (ECA) has issued
Many are aware of the subsidies, tax credits, and grants available to property owners and utilities to install and utilize alternative energy (i.e., wind, solar, biomass, etc.). Unfortunately, many forget that these technologies need to be manufactured somewhere. The majority of the panels that go into a photovoltaic array and the large blades that make up wind turbines are currently being manufactured overseas, often in China. This directly contradicts President Obama’s plan to spur green job growth with the passage of the Stimulus Bill. Enter the Security in Energy and Manufacturing Act (SEAM Act).
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.
The Obama administration is awarding $3.4 billion in grants to modernize the national electric grid. One-hundred companies, utilities, manufacturers, and cities will receive the grants — ranging from $400,000 to $200 million — for projects that help build a “smart” grid that cuts energy costs, reduces blackouts, and has the capacity to deliver more wind and solar energy to American homes and businesses. Calling the nation’s grid system “dilapidated,” Carol Browner, the Obama administration’s top adviser on climate and energy issues, said federal funds would be used to expand the national grid and make it work more efficiently.
The federal government has made it abundantly clear that they want the upcoming plug-in and electric vehicles to succeed. The government has awarded $2.4 billion in stimulus funds for the manufacture of vehicles and their components as well as to establish a vehicle charging infrastructure.
Among the grants is funding for establishing 12,500 charging stations across five states. Another 2,550 charging stations could be becoming very competitive in installing public charging stations. Also, big box retailers are expected to offer free charging to encourage people to shop and recharge their batteries.
But government agencies need to walk a fine line in building out the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The government is keen on eliminating “range anxiety” — the fear that an electric vehicle might run out of battery power before it can be recharged — that could discourage consumers from buying electric vehicles. (Extended range vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt can tap the gas tank, so it’s less of a concern.)
In a move that will surely provide an additional boost for the alternative energy industry, and perhaps T. Boone Pickens‘ plan, the US Department of Treasury has finally released guidelines for claiming the grants instead of the federal tax credit. Applications will be submitted online. However, the Treasury will not be accepting applications at this time.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in February allowed for business taxpayers to apply for direct payments instead of claiming a tax credit on their income tax return. This applied to the credit under Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) Section 45 (Energy Produced for Certain Renewable Resources) and IRC Section 48 (Energy Credit). Property that applies to this includes geothermal, biomass, micro wind turbines, and solar amongst others.