Preliminary evaluation of the Section 1603 treasury grant program for renewable power projects in the United States
This article evaluates the first year of the Section 1603 Treasury cash grant program, which enables renewable power projects in the US to elect cash grants in lieu of the federal tax credits that are otherwise available. To date, the program has been heavily subscribed, particularly by wind power projects, which had received 86% of the nearly $2.6 billion in grants that had been disbursed as of March 1, 2010. As of that date, 6.2Â GW of the 10Â GW of new wind capacity installed in the US in 2009 had applied for grants in lieu of production tax credits. Roughly 2.4Â GW of this wind capacity may not have otherwise been built in 2009 in the absence of the grant program; this 2.4Â GW may have supported approximately 51,600 short-term full-time-equivalent (FTE) gross job-years in the US during the construction phase of these wind projects, and 3860 long-term FTE gross jobs during the operational phase. The program's popularity stems from the significant economic value that it provides to renewable power projects, relative to the otherwise available tax credits. Although grants reward investment rather than efficient performance, this evaluation finds no evidence at this time of either widespread "gold-plating" or performance problems.
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