NewEnergyNews: WHAT A DIFFERENCE SUN POLICIES COULD MAKE

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    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT WEDNESDAY,:

  • TTTA Wednesday-ORIGINAL REPORTING: California’s Rooftop Solar Supports Questioned
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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  • FRIDAY WORLD, May 27:
  • The New Energy “Lifeline”
  • The New Energy World At War

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    WHAT A DIFFERENCE SUN POLICIES COULD MAKE

    U.S. Solar Policy Impact Analysis: Economic Impact of Extension of the Treasury Grant Program (TGP) and Inclusion of Solar Manufacturing Equipment in the Investment Tax Credit (MITC)
    May 19, 2010 (EuPD Research)

    THE POINT
    A coal mine disaster that crushed 29 and an oil well rupture that incinerated 11 and is despoiling an ecosystem mark the way. Spring 2010 is tolling the doom knell of fossil fuels in this nation. But Big Oil and Big Coal are not going gently into the New Energy economy. They are flailing back with all their skill.

    Their most effective flail is a big lie. Sounding eminently reasonable and patient, they repeat over and over that there is not enough of New Energy. Not enough sun? Not enough wind? Not enough flowing waters and deep earth heat? No, that would be absurd to argue. They mean there is not enough New Energy infrastructure. But WHY is that?

    Because in the 1970s when there were two oil embargoes and far-sighted people clamored for New Energy, the so-called wise men of the fossil fuel industries said, “well, we’d like to use the sun and the wind but there just isn’t enough of it.”

    In the early 1990s, Saddam Hussein acted out, threatened the flow of civilization’s oil, brought the wrath of the world down on himself, and then retreated, burning the oil fields and turning the Arabian Gulf into an ecological horror behind him. Those same far-sighted people, a decade older, clamored again for New Energy. Once again, the answer was “there just isn’t enough of it.”

    The clarion call for New Energy was heard again after September 11. The answer was the same.

    Though many of the great ones who first envisioned the New Energy economy in the 1970s are gone, they left behind a movement and incipient New Energy and Energy Efficiency industries and their heirs are once again raising the clamor, in response to this spring’s heartbreaks in the mountains of West Virginia and along the Gulf Coast.

    The fossil fuel industries’ response is unchanged but this time there a question rising from the hollow futility of the endless debate. It is a question being asked by everyday people all over the nation, young and old, rich and poor, of every color and political persuasion: “Why ISN’T there enough New Energy?”

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    To that question there is a very good and very specific answer: Politics. When a charismatic champion emerges, politics can seem very exciting. But real politics is anything but exciting. It is as slow as paint drying and about as stimulating. It inevitably alienates the idealistic and empowers the cynical. Through such politics, Big Oil and Big Coal have maintained huge subsidies for themselves and prevented the New Energies from winning the incentives they desperately need to make the playing field with the Old Energies level.

    Case in point: U.S. Solar Policy Impact Analysis: Economic Impact of Extension of the Treasury Grant Program (TGP) and Inclusion of Solar Manufacturing Equipment in the Investment Tax Credit (MITC), from EuPD Research, documents the enormous value that would come in the solar energy industries from simply sticking with two policies that have already proven their effectiveness at supporting the growth of solar energy capacity, policies that are on the verge of being defeated by a Congress controlled by fossil fuels money and committed to sustaining fossil fuels subsidies instead.

    Extending the Treasury Grant Program created in the 2009 Recovery Act for two more years would bring $21 billion to the 2010-to-2016 investment in U.S. solar electric technologies, add 67,000 jobs by 2015 and grow solar capacity by 5,100 megawatts (MWp). Funding the Recovery Act’s Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit (MITC) could make the U.S. solar industry more competive, cut the price of solar and grow demand. It is calculated to bring increased investment of $22 billion, add 158,000 jobs by 2016 and up U.S. solar capacity by 5,600 megawatts (MWp). Together they would up investment $39 billion, add 207,000 jobs and grow capacity by 9,800 MWp.

    It remains an open question whether Congress will make such incentives available to solar and the other New Energy industries. The Old Energies will be exerting the political power of Big Money to prevent it, as usual. Political action anyone?

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    THE DETAILS
    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) included (1) a Treasurey Grant Program (TGP), that allowed the conversion of tax credits for renewable energy projects to cash grants, and (2) a Manufacturing Investment Tax Credits ((MITC) for renewable energy manufacturing investments. Though U.S. unemployment remains high, the TGP will expire in December 2010 and MITC funding is expended.

    The U.S. solar electric (PV and CSP) market has grown significantly in the last decade and especially in the 2005-to-2008 boom years and is expected to continue growing in the next five years.

    The baseline expectations that would likely come regardless of policies:
    (1) 463,000 jobs in 2016 including 113,000 direct solar jobs.
    (2) U.S. investment of ~$180 billion.
    (3) The baseline scenario forecasts California to create the most new solar jobs, 142,000 solar direct, indirect and induced jobs 2016. Michigan’s strong manufacturing base will generate 41,700+ jobs in 2016 and Texas will have 27,000+ jobs in 2016.
    (4) California will also remain the installed capacity leader, with 20,000 MWp. Because of its strong CSP potential, Arizona will reach 3,800 MWp New Jersey, Florida and Colorado will also see significant solar deployment.
    (5) The federal investment in jobs and capacity will produce a net savings between 2010 and 2016 because the cost will be offset by avoided unemployment costs and additional tax revenue. The return on investment in solar will be especially large in 2015 and 2016.

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    The study estimates the economic impacts in the period 2010-2016 from (1) extending the TGP two years to December 31, 2012, (2) providing a solar manufacturing income tax credit for 30% of expenditures under the current Section 48, and (3) doing both.

    If only the TGP is extended for 2 years:
    (1) U.S. investment (2010-2016) in the solar electric industries would increase by $21 billion.
    (2) 67,000 new jobs would be generated in 2015.
    (3) 5,100 additional megawatts (MWp) of solar electric capacity will be installed between 2010 and 2016.

    If only the Section 48 30% MITC is provided:
    (1) U.S. CSP and PV manufacturers will be more competitive, their prices to consumers will fall and that will drive demand.
    (2) U.S. investment between 2010 and 2016 in the solar electric industry will increase by $22 billion.
    (3) 158,000 more ne jobs will be generated by 2016.
    (4) 5,600 megawatts (MWp) of additional installed capacity will be added between 2010 and 2016 5,600.

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    If the TGP is extended for 2 years AND the 30% MITC is funded, U.S. investment in solar technologies from 2010-to-2016 would grow by $39 billion. 207,000 new jobs would be created in 2016. There would be 9,800 MWp of new installed solar capacity.

    PV would benefit most from the MITC, cutting the price of solar to consumers, making U.S. solar competitive with overseas competition and driving innovation. CSP would benefit most from the TGP because its 2-year deadline would force the start of more projects sooner.

    Comparing 2010 and 2016, the gains from not paying for unemployment plus the tax revenues from increased business activity would be higher than the cost of the policies. Net savings to the government through 2016 would likely be ~$0.4 billion for the TGP, $2.1 billion for the MITC and $2.5 billion for both.

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    Baseline total employment in 2016 is expected to be 463,000 jobs, with 113,000 direct solar jobs. The extended TGP should raise those numbers to 521,500 total jobs in solar and 127,000 direct solar jobs. The MITC would produce a total solar employment of 622,000 in 2016. With both incentives, the total jobs would be 670,000 and the direct solar jobs would be 161,000.

    Together, the extended TGP and the funded MITC are expected to result in an additional 3,700 megawatts of installed U.S. solar capacity in 2016 and a total of 9,800 megawatts of cumulative added capacity in the 2010-to-2016 period.

    The extended TGP should increase the expected baseline investment in U.S. solar from $180 billion to $200 billion. This is approximately the same as the expected increase from the the funding of the MITC. It is estimated they will together increase investment to almost $200 billion.

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    All 19 states evaluated are expected to see more than a 20% increase in job generation over the baseline as a result of the incentives.

    16 of the 19 states are expected to generate 10,000+ solar related jobs in 2016 and the others will create almost that many.

    The same states that lead the U.S. in installed solar capacity in the baseline scenario would continue to do so with the incentives. All would increase their capacities with the TGP and or the MITC extension. The biggest installed capacity increases would come in states with a high potential for CSP (Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, etc.)

    All 19 analyzed states would see a 10%-to-20% growth increase of cumulative solar capacity.

    For PV, the MITC will create an additional 145,000 jobs in 2016. The impact of the TGP on job creation will be smaller. Both together will add 166,000 PV jobs over the baseline. Together, they will grow PV installed capacity 2,600 megawatts in 2016 and 6,200+ megawatts in the 5-year period.

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    The MITC will strongly increase U.S. PV production, adding 4,000+ megawatts of manufacturing capacity in 2016.

    Investment in solar PV installations is expected to be 3 times as great as that in PV manufacturing in any case. The TGP would increase the expected total investment of $128 billion by $6.6 billion. The MITC would increase it by $15+ billion. Together, the benefit would be $20+ billion.

    In the baseline scenario, the cost of each new PV job will be ~$10,000-to-$20,000. With a TGP, an MITC or both, there will be a return on the investment. For the TGP, it will be $0.5 billion in 2016. For the MITC, it will be $2.3 billion. For the combination, it will be $2.4 billion.

    For CSP, the TGP will add 45,000 jobs in 2015. The impact of the MITC will be smaller for CSP. Together, they will add 56,000 jobs in 2015. They will add 1,000 megawatts of CSP capacity in 2016. The TGP adds investment of $14 billion, the MITC adds $6.5 billion and together they add $18.5+ billion.

    The cost of each new CSP job is expected to be ~$20,000. With both incentives, the return on investment from saved unemployment expenses and tax revenues is estimated to be $0.6 billion for the 2010-to-2016 period, growing larger in the 2014-to-2016 period.

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    QUOTES
    - From the report: “There are additional costs involved for the government for both policy changes. However, when comparing 2010 and 2016 in terms of government stimulus, increased employment and the unemployment alternative we find that in five years the saved unemployment benefits and additional tax revenue are higher than the government stimulus for all three scenarios. The net savings to the government through 2016 is expected to be $0.4B, $2.1B and $2.5B, for the TGP, MITC and TGP & MITC modifications, respectively. Therefore, the analyzed policy modifications in solar electric stimulus would be an attractive investment for the U.S.government.”

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    - From the report: “When comparing 2010 and 2016 in terms of government stimulus, increased employment and the unemployment alternative we find that in five years, the saved unemployment benefits and additional tax revenue are higher than the government stimulus for all three scenarios. The return on stimulus investment is forecast to reach $0.4B, $2.1B and $2.5B, for the TGP, MITC and TGP & MITC modification, respectively…Overall, this makes solar electric stimulus an attractive investment for the U.S. government.”

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