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President Obama Awards $2.3B for Tax Credits for New Clean-Tech Manufacturing Jobs; GE Gets Largest Battery-related Award

President Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy manufacturing projects across the United States. The 183 projects in 43 states include several for the manufacturing of advanced batteries; biomass projects; and vehicles. The projects were competitively selected through a merit review process.

GE claimed the largest of the battery-related awards, with a $25.5 million tax credit to refurbish a pre-existing GE manufacturing facility in Schenectady, New York to 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.

GE has already invested more than $150 million in developing battery technologies, and the tax credit will supplement GE’s investments in the new product line that will serve the rail, marine, mining, telecommunications and utility sectors.

Scheduled to be fully operational by mid-2011, the facility will be in close proximity to GE Global Research in Niskayuna, where advances to the battery chemistry were developed. The batteries will rely heavily on new materials, new manufacturing technologies and intelligent controls.

At full capacity the plant could produce approximately 10 million cells capable of generating 900 megawatt-hours of energy per year—the equivalent of the battery power required for 45,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with an 80-mile range or enough energy to support 1,000 GE Evolution Series hybrid locomotives.

Other battery awards were:

GranteeDescription Award
Aerovironment, Inc Aeroenvironment plans to manufacture a Mobile Charger that combines a battery pack with a Level 3 DC connector. It is designed for on-road service trucks to provide a quick charge to stranded battery electric vehicles similar to an “out-of-gas” situation. $310,800
Aerovironment, Inc Aeroenvironment plans to purchase equipment for manufacturing 25 kWh LiTiO advanced battery packs and battery management systems. $369,600
Porocel Industries, LLC Porocel Industries, LLC will construct and operate a plant for drying, grinding, calcining, and packaging process steps for the production of intermediate material used in the production of Conoco Phillips’ CPreme Anode. The result will aid in competitive domestic battery manufacturing capability. $2,880,000
Rogers Foam Automotive Corporation Rogers Foam Automotive Corporation will manufacture a component to be used in the thermal management system of Lithium-ion battery assemblies for electrical vehicles. This sub-component consists of an outer gasket, which locates the component in the assembly, a multi-layer pressure conformable membrane,which provides the constant pressure and a bonding agent, which attaches the outer gasket and membrane. The resulting product will aid domestic battery manufacturing for electric vehicles. $300,000

Biomass. In the biomass sector, Novozymes Blair, Inc. was awarded a $28,401,000 credit to support the installation of 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.

RE-Gen LLC will receive a $903,480 credit to support building a factory to produce Biomass Gasification Furnaces with a capacity of 250 systems/year.

Vehicles. Among the vehicle credits, Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations LLC requested a $150-million tax credit for its plant in the area, and Think North America will receive a $16,970,145 credit to support the establishment of a US manufacturing operation/facility (a vehicle assembly operation as well as facilities for fabricating vehicle components) for the Think City light-weight EV-dedicated vehicle for sale throughout North America.

To foster investment and job creation in clean energy manufacturing, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included a tax credit for investments in manufacturing facilities for clean energy technologies (the Section 48C program). 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.

Comments

HarveyD

Wonder if the $700+B earmarked for Banks & Wall Street could not be redirected to similar new energy related projects.

It would certainly create more jobs an opportunities for USA's future economic well being.

SJC

This might have been called picking winners and losers by some years ago. Well maybe picking winners is not such a bad idea.

Matthew

We are out of things to call it now. We can only hope it ends with a new congress in 2010.

sulleny

This is a reasonable investment of U.S. tax dollars (actually a deferment of revenue)considering e.g. the $650B invested annually in military spending.

If by growing our own domestic energy resources to replace imported oil - we can redirect military spending to issues of education, poverty and health - this is a small step in the right direction.

Good on Obama and the Admin on this front. He's taken far too much heat over climate which his advisers have yet to grok is UNNECESSARY to end addiction to foreign oil.

SJC

We will see what happens in 2010. Even Steele admits they will probably NOT take over the house. It would just go back to borrow and waste trickle down anyway.

ESabre

Sure NBC looses ratings and money by blindly supporting the looting of the American treasury, but it looks like the parent company GE is making out like a bandit in return. (This is how it's done in Chicago folks.) As far as picking winners and losers, it wouldn't be so bad if the government at least had a history of not screwing that up. Can you say Ethanol.

Change is coming, hence all the rats deserting the sinking ship, but unfortunately, the damage will have already been done to the economy, the Constitution and to our children's future.

HarveyD

ES:

Your predictions may not materialize. Americans have been saving throughout 2009 and may start buying (cars etc) in 2010. Recovery program projects will boost employment soon. Unemployment will start going down by 2nd quarter.

An agressive incentive program to favour smaller more efficient vehicles could reduce imported oil and trade deficits.

A malus-bonus type of registration fees could work. Something like an extra +$1/lb over 3000 lbs and -1$/lb under 3000 lbs could be a good start. A 4000 lbs vehicle would pay an extra $1000/year while a 2000 lbs vehicle would receive a yearly $1000 bonus or tax credit.

This (Fed) progam could be 100% treasury neutral, if adjusted properly. No new fuel tax would be required other than what is required for new roads and bridges and regular (improved) maintenance.

sulleny

Harvey,

your method of action always entails punitive measures belying the ancient form of Puritanism. The US is a large country with a lot of people in it. Many of them still work on farms and ranges and on frontier or wilderness areas where having a vehicle capable of hauling and towing is necessary.

Why should these people have to pay a tax to purchase of a utility vehicle? We DO agree that SUVs with poor gas mileage driven by soccer moms are unnecessary. My solution is to engineer those vehicles (which people like) to meet reasonable energy and environment standards. It's happening before our eyes with electrification.

Your solution to any problem is put a tax on it and force people to change their choices and life to accommodate. That happens in totalitarian countries. The U.S. is not interested in mirroring totalitarian countries - and possesses the technical and engineering expertise to solve issues like energy transitions.

Up there in Canada you like centralized government. That's fine until it inevitably corrupts. Then you're stuck because there are no alternatives. You have no diversity as you do with competitive markets. The monopoly grows and becomes more corrupt and is soon so deep in CYA - no one can clean it up. This also happens in certain U.S. communities refusing to confront corruption. All in all power corrupts and tax schemes are the fuel of power.

Will S

Sulleny, I would have to agree that for issues of energy security (and others), having a tax on oil that is rebated equally rewards those who are frugal with scarce resources and penalizes those who are wasteful. I wholeheartedly agree with such a measure and see nothing at all totalitarian in it. We heavily tax some items such as tobacco products, for example, to discourage their use.

Less than 2% of the population is involved with agriculture production (farms, ranches, etc), so this represents a tiny fraction of the overall population. Those who are efficient with their 'hauling and towing' will stay competitive. And real agricultural operations have fuel tax exemptions anyway, so this is really not a point to begin with.

I agree with you that this is a reasonable investment of U.S. tax dollars, for the reasons you state.

SJC

These are tax credits and not grants, loans nor loan guaranties.
This means that the DOE thinks these companies can help improve the situation and will help them. It beats $14 billion in tax breaks for the oil companies that were already taking record profits.

Stan Peterson

Since when are taxes ever rebated? Increased taxes only give more moeny for politicians to buy votes and reward friends.

These 2.3 billion dollar rewards for boondoggles and questionable 'investments' that either would be financed anyway, or if not privately financed, really didn't merit it in a dispassionate analysis, anyway.

Government is a very good collector/extorter of moneys, but its record of dispersing it to worthwhile endeavors is very poor.

Please document some of these $14 billion in tax breaks to oil companies, or if you can't, it must be typical campaign demonization and propaganda.

Will S

I'm assuming SJC is referring to the 2005 "Energy Bill"

"Most of the $14.5 billion in tax incentives went to oil and gas companies and electric utilities."

http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/block/2005-08-01-breaks_x.htm

ChicagoBob

GE gets the lions share and this is why we are all doomed. I had much hope for this president when he came to power but now the back room deals kickbacks and payola are in your face. Who needs the money? Not GE who can not make a light bulb anymore. Universities and VERY SMALL companies need 100 million dollar grants and seed money to make clean cars real. This kind of stuff just makes me cry.

SJC

"rescinding an estimated $18 billion in tax credits for oil companies"

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8738.html

Google is a great search engine.

SJC

"Democrats have easily passed legislation in the House to rescind $14 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for oil drillers and reserve the money to develop alternative energy projects and conservation technologies."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/19/business/worldbusiness/19iht-oil.4263344.html?_r=1

And the hits just keep on coming...are we done yet?

sulleny

Will:

I meant to include builders and business owners who haul stuff. Another thing I acknowledge is a pickup truck to an American is a replacement for his horse of yore. We do need to address urban sprawl and endless development which is a result of population.

On the positive side we know that population mitigates with standard of living rise. Provided migration does not supplant mitigation.

Will S

I meant to include builders and business owners who haul stuff.

The economic situation is hampering investment in new buildings, and we are far overbuilt as it is already. Will the building industry recover? Perhaps, but maybe only at a fraction of it's former size.

Another thing I acknowledge is a pickup truck to an American is a replacement for his horse of yore.

So a pickup is a bubba-wannabe image prop? That's the embarrassing motivation that most don't talk about.

No wonder Bush said "America is addicted to oil", and that leads to grave problems with energy security.
http://www.secureenergy.org/site/page.php?index

We have to move pass an urban cowboy facade if we are to thrive as a nation.

sulleny

Of course elsewhere we see great leaps ahead with three production PHEVs coming from GM now. GM owns global PHEV production with no competitors in sight.

The fabled Fisker seems to have dropped off the map. And other PHEVs are still just vaporware.

Will S


Let's review the production PHEVs; The Volt, which is too expensive for the average buyer, then the Cadillac, which is also too expensive, etc.

GM actually states they produce EREVs, which is not the same as PHEV. On the other hand, Toyota will produce a PHEV, followed by China, etc.

Again, we have to move pass an urban cowboy facade if we are to thrive as a nation.

Henry Gibson

This means that General Electric is still serious about their version of the ZEBRA battery and they will bring their mass production and automation skills to the task of making them cheaper and more useful. The incorporation of Sodium Nickel Chloride batteries in locomotives is the most major step in the advancement of efficient locomotives since the diesel locomotive itself.

The availability of these very low maintenance and environmentally flexible batteries will alter the rail and grid industry significantly. ..HG..

HarveyD

Governments cant keep on giving $$$B without :

1) printing more $$$B

2) borrowing even more $$$B

3) charging more for services.

4) increasing fees and taxes.

Nos. 1) and 2) have already been used close to the limits.

Nos. 3) and 4 are never very popular but are part of the near future reality check for USA and Canada.

Money dont fall from heaven. We will all have to pay up sooner or latter.

HarveyD

Sulleny:

Bona fide farmers (2%) could get tax credits to cover part of the extra registration fees for their trucks but not for private cars because they could do well with 3000 lbs cars.

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