U.S. Wind Energy Industry Welcomes Treasury and Energy Department Grant Announcement

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) welcomed today’s announcement from the U.S. Departments of the Treasury and Energy that the Administration has begun issuing renewable energy grants under a program enacted by Congress in the economic recovery package earlier this year. The announcement included grants (in lieu of tax credits) of nearly $500 million for 10 wind power projects in Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“For these grantees and many other projects that are preparing their applications, we are seeing business activity picking up and turbine and parts orders being sent all the way up the value chain,” commented AWEA Senior Vice President for Public Policy Rob Gramlich, adding, “That activity had all but dried up and it is very encouraging to see this turnaround underway. Time will tell if that market signal is strong enough to keep the 85,000 people working in the wind industry employed for the next couple of years.”

The grants are designed to temporarily replace the production tax credit (PTC) that has been a major factor in the continued growth in wind and other renewable energy projects. The recession and the freeze in the credit markets that began late last year rendered the PTC much less useful as an investment incentive.

The U.S. wind industry accounted for 42 percent of new electricity generation installed nationwide in 2008, and created 35,000 jobs that year, boosting the number of people employed in wind power to 85,000. Figures for 2009 have suggested a slowdown in new wind projects due to economic conditions. In addition to the grants, AWEA has been advocating for a strong national renewable electricity standard (RES) as a way to send a clear signal to financial markets about the U.S. commitment to renewable energy.

Treasury, Energy Announce $500 Million in Recovery Act Awards for Clean Energy Projects

Initial Round of Cash Assistance for Wind, Solar Projects in Eight States Will Create Jobs, Increase Development

WASHINGTON– Marking a major milestone in the effort to spur private sector investments in clean energy and create new jobs for America’s workers, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced $502 million in the first round of awards from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) program that provides cash assistance to energy production companies in place of earned tax credits. The new funding creates additional upfront capital, enabling companies to create jobs and begin construction that may have been stalled until now.

"The Recovery Act is investing in our long-term energy needs while creating jobs in communities around the country," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. "This renewable energy program will spur the manufacture and development of clean energy in urban and rural America, allowing us to protect our environment, create good jobs and revitalize our nation’s economy."

Said Secretary Chu: "These grants will help America’s businesses launch clean energy projects, putting Americans back to work in good construction and manufacturing jobs. The initiative will help double our renewable energy capacity over the next few years and make sure America leads the world in creating the clean energy economy of the future."

Created under Section 1603 of the Recovery Act, the program is expected to provide more than $3 billion in financial support for clean energy projects by providing direct payments in lieu of tax credits. These payments will support an estimated 5,000 bio-mass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities in all regions of the country over the life of the program. As a result of this first round of funding, more than 2,000 Americans will have access to jobs in the renewable energy industry – both in construction and in manufacturing – while moving the nation closer to meeting the Administration’s goal of doubling renewable energy generation in the next few years.

The Treasury Department opened the application process for the 1603 program on July 31, 2009 and is today making the first awards in half the statutorily mandated turnaround time of 60 days. The following is a chart of projects funded as part of today’s announcement. Additional awards under the program will be announced in the coming weeks.

CO -Movement Gym PV System (Solar)- Boulder, CO- $157,809
CT -Solaire Development, LLC- Danbury, CT- $2,578,717
ME- Evergreen Wind Power V, LLC -Danforth, ME -$40,441,471
MN- Moraine II Wind Farm -Woodstock, MN -$28,019,520
NY -Canadaigua Power Partners, LLC (Wind)- Cohocton, NY- $52,352,334
NY -Canadaigua Power Partners II, LLC (Wind) -Cohocton, NY -$22,296,494
OR -Wheat Field Wind Farm -Arlington, OR- $47,717,155
OR -Hay Canyon Wind Farm -Moro, OR- $47,092,555
OR -Pebble Springs Wind Farm -Arlington, OR- $46,543,219
PA -Highland Wind Farm -Salix, PA -$42,204,562
PA -Locust Ridge II, LLC (Wind) -Shenandoah, PA -$59,162,064
TX -Penascal Wind Farm -Sarita, TX -$114,071,646
Total $502,637,546