How the Obama administration could help spur renewable energy production
By Michael CrowleyMarch 17, 2020 12:18:42The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is in a strong position to make a significant contribution to the growth of renewable energy technologies, but the Obama Administration needs to move quickly to make this happen.
The DOE, which oversees energy infrastructure, has a number of incentives that it can help provide to energy companies, including financial support for research and development and grants for new technologies, according to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAA).
These incentives are intended to support companies that have advanced technology and are ready to commercialize, and DOE can provide financial support to these companies through the Energy Assistance for Small Businesses Act (EASBA).EASBAs can be extended through 2021, meaning DOE can extend incentives for a limited number of companies that will have to compete for funding.
The Obama administration is also considering a number policy changes that would make the EASBA more attractive for companies that are looking to expand.
The White House released a list of policy proposals, including extending the EAsBA’s funding through 2021.
“The EAsBAs will become even more attractive to new technologies that can support a significant portion of our Nation’s energy needs in the future,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who was at a meeting of the National Energy Technology Board (NESTB) earlier this month.NESTLBS and DOE officials say the government is not obligated to extend these incentives, but if it does, it could help bring the incentives to the point where they can be fully utilized by companies.
“In some instances, companies are using these incentives to meet their existing business requirements, and they can apply for federal loans to expand,” said Beth M. Schilling, executive director of the NESTB.
“We’re encouraging companies to use these incentives and use the opportunity to expand.”
Companies will be able to apply for funding through EASB as long as they are eligible, and the government can take advantage of these incentives as long it takes.
For instance, the Eases for Small Enterprises program can offer a loan of up to $50,000 to a company that has advanced technology, and a loan up to 20 percent of its gross income up to a maximum of $50 million, up to 10 years.
The administration has already released a proposal for funding this year’s EASBIA program, which will provide incentives up to the end of 2019.
If the proposal is approved, DOE will be obligated to use the funds.
“We want to encourage new energy technologies that will help the economy grow and create jobs,” Chu said.
“In the future, we can make a real difference by creating a climate-friendly economy that helps all Americans.”
As a result of the DOE’s commitment to the EASE program, Chu is working with the Treasury Department to establish a new loan program that would help companies apply for financial support.
“This will enable companies to expand their capabilities, develop new technologies and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future,” Chu wrote in a memorandum to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Schilling said that DOE should work with the federal agencies that run these programs to make sure they have the best incentives possible.
“This includes the Energy Information Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Office of Management and Budget, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.N. Development Program,” she said.