Feds announce terms of cash program for renewable projects

Feds at last announce how to obtain stimulus package cash (in lieu of tax credits) for renewable projects.

Source: http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/tg202.htm

Treasury, Energy Announce More than $3 Billion in Recovery Act Funds for Renewable Energy Projects

Cash Assistance Will Increase Economic Development, Promote Renewable Energy Use

Program Guidance Now Available to Businesses to Facilitate Swift Implementation

WASHINGTON – As part of an innovative partnership aimed at increasing economic development in urban and rural areas while setting our nation on the path to energy independence, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Energy today announced an estimated $3 billion for the development of renewable energy projects around the country and made available the guidance businesses will need to submit a successful application. Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), the program will provide direct payments in lieu of tax credits in support of an estimated 5,000 bio-mass, solar, wind, and other types of renewable energy production facilities.

“The renewable energy program provides another important avenue for the Recovery Act to contribute to economic development in communities around the country,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “It will provide additional stimulus to economies in urban and rural America by helping to develop domestic sources of clean energy. This partnership between Treasury and Energy will enable both large companies and small businesses to invest in our long-term energy needs, protect our environment and revitalize our nation’s economy.”

The Recovery Act authorized Treasury to make direct payments to companies that create and place in service renewable energy facilities beginning January 1, 2009. Previously, these companies could file for a tax credit to cover a portion of the renewable energy project’s cost; under the new program, applicants would agree to forgo tax credits down the line in favor of an immediate reimbursement of a portion of the property expense. This direct payment program allows for an immediate stimulus in local economies.

Said Energy Secretary Steven Chu: “These payments will help spur major private sector investments in clean energy and create new jobs for America’s workers. It is part of our broad effort to double our renewable energy capacity in the next few years and make sure that America leads the world in creating the new clean energy economy of the future.”

In previous years, the tax credit has been widely used. It is considered a successful incentive for encouraging the development of renewable energy. In 2006, approximately $550 million in tax credits were provided to 450 businesses. The rate of new renewable energy installations has fallen since the economic and financial downturns began, as projects had a harder time obtaining financing. The Departments of Treasury and Energy expect a fast acceleration of businesses applying for the energy funds in lieu of the tax credit.

To expedite implementation of the program, Treasury and Energy are today making available the terms and conditions, guidance, and a sample application [applications not yet being accepted, btw] at http://www.treas.gov/recovery/1603.shtml so that companies can prepare successful applications in advance of the launch of the web based application in the coming weeks – yet another tool designed to facilitate the timely flow of program funds to eligible businesses.

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Nice, quick Green, Inc. summary here.

New York wind energy developments

East Bloomfield (Ontario County) adopts wind ordinance

The Daily Messenger (8/28) reports that

Tipping its hat to the town Planning Board members and critics who have jousted with them during the drafting of a windmill law, the Town Board on Monday unanimously passed a revised version on its second attempt.

Henderson (Jefferson County) wind project under consideration

From the Watertown Daily Times (9/2)

A fledgling investment group is eyeing the town as a location for a wind power project.

Ronald J. Scrudato has talked to town Supervisor Clyde E. Moore and one landowner. He represents an investment firm so young, it’s name isn’t set yet. But so far, it’s called Delfea and it is based in New Jersey.

Herkimer County conflict allegations

From the Utica Observer-Dispatch (8/30)

At least one Stark Town Board member and three town Zoning Board of Appeals members have signed leases with the developer behind the Jordanville Wind Project, according to Herkimer County property records. Stark town officials said they have been paying close attention to these potential conflicts of interest and have followed legal advice to make sure they haven’t done anything wrong.

Jefferson County wind project tax breaks discussed, criticized

From the Watertown Daily Times (8/31)

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but it may grow on windmills. The developers of the four proposed wind farms in Jefferson County could capitalize on tax breaks and incentives at the federal, state and local levels through their projects. Opponents say the subsidies take taxpayer money and give it to those who already are rich.

New York wind developments 8/22

Hammond (St. Lawrence County) wind ordinance

Councilmen conflict described in the Watertown Daily Times:

Two town councilmen won’t vote on a proposed wind farm ordinance, because they’ve signed contracts to lease their own land to a wind developer.

Orleans (Jefferson County) wind ordinance

Residents seek increased regulation, as reported in Watertown Daily Times:

Residents continue to push for tighter restrictions on wind turbine placement through amendments to the town’s zoning law.

Jiminy Peak ski resort (Massachusetts)

This is not strictly speaking a New York story, but with a chill in the upstate air of late, this InformationWeek story on the success of a single turbine at a popular destination for New York ski enthusiasts seems worth a mention. With New York’s recent net metering expansion legislation being enacted, one would expect to see businesses and farms in New York begin to enter the distributed energy sector like this ski resort successfully has:

Jiminy Peak, a western Mass. mountain resort, marked the one year anniversary on August 15 of flipping the switch and connecting its 1.5 megawatt GE wind turbine to the grid. The turbine, nicknamed Zephyr, is now generating a full third of the ski resort’s power. But getting there wasn’t exactly a breeze.