Energy Bill provisions expected to benefit fuel cell, biopower and coal-water fuel systems
Siemens, Ingersoll-Rand, FuelCell Energy among those lauding bill's passage. It includes first-ever federal tax incentive for stationary fuel cell power plants, which is expected to enhance U.S. market development and sales of FuelCell Energy's Ultra-Clean DFC power plants. Additional incentives for energy generated from wastewater, biosolids and low-rank, coal-water fuel systems...
DANBURY, CT, Aug. 9, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE/PR Newswire) -- FuelCell Energy Inc., a leading manufacturer of ultra-clean electric power generation plants for commercial and industrial customers, today publicly commented on the anticipated positive impact its business is expected to experience from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 signed into law by President Bush on Monday.
Among its provisions, the law specifically creates a 30% investment tax credit -- up to $1000 for each kilowatt -- for the purchase of fuel cell power plants. FuelCell Energy estimates this tax credit will translate to a savings of about 1.5-2.0 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in typical circumstances. This is effectively an additional 20- to 25-percent cost reduction that passes directly to purchasers of Direct Fuel Cell® (DFC®) power plants. Combined with state-level incentives, and the firm's successful internal cost reduction efforts, DFC power plants are expected to become even more economically attractive in the United States.
"We applaud the President and Congress for enacting a broad Energy Bill that recognizes the importance of fuel cells in the nation's mix of clean, efficient and reliable alternative power generating solutions," said Jerry D. Leitman, FuelCell Energy chairman and CEO. "This is the first tax incentive for fuel cell power plants at the federal level, and it provides a direct monetary benefit for customers who purchase our DFC power plants.
"Fuel cells provide firm, 24/7 energy and we believe the tax credit will stimulate interest in settings where intermittent power sources like wind and solar were previously the only choices," Leitman added. "Establishing a level playing field among clean technologies is good energy, good environmental and good tax policy."
The company's ultra-clean DFC power plants provide the highest electrical efficiency -- 45-47% -- and the lowest emissions of any firm power-generating source in its size range. In addition, the FuelCell Energy's DFC power plants can achieve overall energy efficiency of 70-80% for combined heat and power applications.
The bill also provides a production tax credit of 1.5-cents per kWh that would be available for fuel cell power plants operating on biomass renewable fuels such as digester gas from wastewater treatment plants.
Other provisions in the Bill include: about $2 billion in authorized spending over the next five years for research and development for hydrogen supply and fuel cell accounts program within the U.S. Department of Energy; about $1.3 billion in authorized spending over five years for hydrogen and fuel cell demonstration projects that includes vehicles, stationary and portable applications; and a provision of about $450 million in market transition programs for stationary, portable and micro fuel cells as well as hydrogen energy systems. FuelCell Energy believes these and other authorizations for fuel cells in the Energy Bill will benefit the industry overall.
The bill also includes language that specifically authorizes the Secretary of Energy to "conduct a program of technology ...demonstration and commercial application for coal and power systems, including programs to facilitate production and generation of coal-based power through... liquid fuels derived from low rank coal water."
"The energy bill will benefit the environment, consumers and innovative energy businesses in the U.S.," said George Nolen, president and CEO of Siemens Corp. "For Siemens, the legislation touches sectors where the company does substantial work, including advanced clean coal generation, wind energy and electric transmission grid technologies. The bill will increase the nation's energy supply, promote environmentally friendly and efficient energy processes and reform and stimulate much needed investment in new technologies that improve the nation's energy infrastructure. We all stand to benefit from the initiatives laid out in this bill."
Ingersoll-Rand was excited about new and expanded tax credits use of microturbines in renewable electricity production, i.e., designated for electricity produced from municipal solid waste and agricultural livestock waste.
"In light of the soaring worldwide demand for energy along with our nation's aging power infrastructure, it is clear that there has never been a greater need for clean, reliable, energy-efficient technologies," said Chip Bottone, president of Ingersoll-Rand's Energy Systems business. "The Energy Policy Act of 2005 will help foster the implementation of innovative energy technologies, such as microturbines, which are playing a vital role in providing environmentally friendly, cost-effective energy solutions for a wide range of environmental, commercial and industrial businesses, as well as for public utilities, to help reduce demands on the nation's increasingly overburdened power grids."
FuelCell Energy (www.fuelcellenergy.com) develops and markets ultra-clean power plants that generate electricity with up to twice the efficiency of conventional fossil fuel plants and with virtually no air pollution. Fuel cells produce base load electricity where commercial and industrial customers face cost, reliability, security or environmental issues with their existing energy supplies. Emerging state, federal and international regulations to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions consider fuel cell power plants in the same environmentally friendly category as wind and solar energy sources -- with the added advantages of running 24 hours a day and the capacity to be installed where wind turbines or solar panels often cannot. Based in Danbury, Conn., FuelCell Energy services over 40 power plant sites around the globe that have generated more than 70 million kWh, and conducts R&D on next-generation fuel cell technologies to meet the world's ever-increasing demand for ultra-clean distributed energy.
Siemens AG (www.usa.siemens.com) is one of the largest global electronics and engineering companies with reported worldwide sales of $91.5 billion in fiscal 2004. Founded more than 150 years ago, the company is a leader in the areas of medical, power, automation and control, transportation, information and communications, lighting, building technologies, water technologies and services, and home appliances. With its U.S. corporate headquarters in New York City, Siemens has U.S. sales of $16.6 billion and employs 70,000 people. Thirteen of Siemens' worldwide businesses are based in the United States. With its global headquarters in Munich, Siemens AG and its subsidiaries employ 440,000 people in 192 countries.
Ingersoll-Rand Energy Systems Inc. (www.irenergysystems.com), a business of Ingersoll-Rand Company Limited, is a developer of distributed-generation power technologies that produce electrical energy that is cost-effective, reliable and safe for the environment. The company specializes in developing microturbines (70- and 250-kilowatt) for energy applications that supplement utility grids. Energy Systems also provides microturbine-based solutions for transforming harmful waste gases produced by wastewater treatment facilities, landfills, agricultural livestock waste and oil and gas production facilities into cost-efficient energy produced on site with comparatively few emissions. With an emphasis on developing solutions that will enable its customers to fulfill specific business goals, Energy Systems offers the most comprehensive maintenance, service, lease and financing programs available in the microturbine and generator markets.