Thursday, September 3, 2009

Start Me Up with $503M

While most of us are chiming in on the healthcare debate and watching the news on the SoCal fires, you might have missed some BIG CASH news from the DoE. In fact, nearly $503 million was dished out to companies with the intent to spark the solar and wind categories. The lucky, big winner is Spain’s Iberdrola Renewables, who whirled in close to $300 million of the nearly $503 million, for five projects in the U.S. Two specific projects include the Penascal Wind Farm (84 turbines) in Texas and Locust Ridge II (51 turbines) in Pennsylvania.

The purpose of these grants, provided under the stimulus package, is to offer up-front cash in lieu of tax credits, which will help private investment and keep clean energy developers from getting stuck in the mud. Right now, projects have to be up and running in 2009 or 2010 to qualify for the grants, and this is the first time, wind-farm developers have the option of receiving 30% of the cost of the project in cash, rather than getting tax credits over the life of the wind farm. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Sure there are bird advocates and concerned citizens who scream not in my backyard. However, from my point of view, the more diverse our renewable energy sources can be will just help us reduce our dependency on foreign oil and force us to rethink our energy consumption habits.

Source: Earth2Tech, American Wind Energy Association, Image Source Flickr

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