Clean Tech Projects Awarded $2.3 Billion

President Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in tax credits, called the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits (AEMTC), for clean energy manufacturing projects on Friday, January 8. The funds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). A total of 183 projects in 43 states will receive tax credits.

The AEMTC, according to a White House press release, are worth up to 30 percent of each project, and “will leverage private capital for a total investment of nearly $7.7 billion in high-tech manufacturing.” The companies selected say they will create more than 17,000 jobs. Approximately 30 percent of the projects will be completed in 2010.

The AEMTC will expand the domestic manufacturing of solar, wind, and efficiency and energy management technologies. According to the press release, the AEMTC is “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.”

“We’ll take an important step toward meeting the goal I’ve set of doubling the amount of renewable power we use in the next three years with wind turbines and solar panels built right here in the U.S. of A.,” Obama declared.

Referring to the AEMTC as “clean energy manufacturing initiative,” Obama said it will “help close the clean energy gap that’s grown between America and other nations.” Obama said the initiative will “give a much needed boost to our manufacturing sector by building new plants or upgrading old ones.”

Carol Browner, assistant to Obama for Energy and Climate, said in a statement that programs like the AEMTC “reveal the immense power of American innovation and ingenuity to create good jobs, and the vibrant workforce that has carried our nation to great heights before.” According to Browner, the AEMTC was “oversubscribed by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, reflecting a deep pipeline of high quality clean energy manufacturing opportunities in America.”

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the AEMTC will help make the U.S. competitive in the clean energy sector.  “The world urgently needs to move toward clean energy technologies, and the United States has the opportunity to lead in this new industrial revolution.”

The projects chosen to be part of the AEMTC include:

  • Itron Inc.’s OpenWay CENTRON meter is one of the first smart meters for the residential market with built-in, two way communications, and a remote on/off switch. By expanding the manufacturing capacity in its South Carolina facility, Itron will produce four million meters annually.
  • W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. are producing an advanced membrane for high efficiency fuel cells for buildings and vehicles which can help “enable lower-cost fuel cells for use in electric vehicles or to power homes and businesses,” according to the White House press release.
  • PPG Industries, Inc. will produce a double anti-reflective coating for glass to make solar cells more efficient. PPG created the first low-iron glass that is used in solar cells.
  • TPI Composites, Inc. is building a new manufacturing plant in Nebraska to create next generation wind turbine blades. The plant will create more than 200 new jobs and have the capacity equivalent to supplying 265 turbines each capable of producing 2.5 megawatts (MW) for a total electrical output of 663 MW. TPI will also expand its Iowa plant.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.