While researching our Trophy Jobs cover story for this issue (page 14), I ran across quite a few federal incentives and rebate programs that will financially support construction projects and create demand for newer technologies like renewables, connected lighting and EV charging stations.
EW has for many years reported on utility rebate programs for the latest lighting technology and various federal grant programs funded by the U.S. Department of Energy for the installation of green technologies. But I can’t remember ever seeing so many humongous financial incentives across such as wide range of technologies and industries. Want to follow the money? Here are some of the larger incentives.
$1.2-trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Funding should start trickling down to local markets in 2022, with billions of federal dollars directed at high-speed broadband installations; the modernization of the U.S. electric grid; a nationwide electric-vehicle charging network; ports and waterways; mass transit upgrades; and energy-efficient retrofits of existing schools and federal buildings.
You may have to dig deep to find the details of exactly where this funding is headed, but information is usually available on various federal websites. For example, at www.maritime.dot.gov, you can learn about the $230 million the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration will be doling out in its Port Infrastructure Development Program.
Quite a few ports will benefit. For example, the Port of Oakland will receive $5.2 million to “replace an existing electrical substation and circuit located within the port facility.” The Maritime Administration said the project will include the construction of a “new on-site fuel cell facility and a solar array with battery storage and establish a direct connection between the port’s substation and the local electric utility’s biomass-fuel generator.”
On the East Coast, two of the winning ports were Portsmouth, VA, which was awarded $20 million to create “a wind turbine generator staging area,” and Albany, NY, which got $29.5 million for its Offshore Wind Tower Manufacturing project on the Hudson River that will support the wind farms to be built off Long Island, NY.
Rebates for electric-vehicle charging stations
Along with the $5 billion provided by the infrastructure bill, many utilities now offer rebates for EV charging stations in commercial, multi-family and residential applications. Leendert Jan Enthoven, a long-time lighting executive who founded BriteSwitch to track lighting rebates, now helps customers manage EV rebates, too. You can learn more about these rebates in Leendert’s feature article about them on page 24.
Subsidies for construction of semiconductor plants in America
Both houses of Congress are expected to pass legislation in 2022 that would offer semiconductor companies financial incentives to build new U.S. plants. The world’s semiconductor companies plan to invest billions in these factories. Intel recently announced plans for a $20-billion expansion of its existing semiconductor facility in Chandler, AZ, and a new $20-billion manufacturing campus in Licking County, OH. In addition, Samsung plans to build a $17-billion plant in Taylor, TX, and Taiwan Semiconductors wants to build a $12-billion plant in Phoenix.
Building Performance Standards Coalition
Funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this is a $1.8-billion program that 33 states and local governments will utilize to retrofit buildings for energy efficiency and develop and implement new building codes. The participants account for nearly 20% of the nation’s building footprint (more than 15 billion sq ft of floor space).
The top-line budget figures for this legislation do make your eyes glaze over, and they remind me of the famous quote from Illinois’ U.S. Senator Everett Dirkson: “A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”
When you consider that electrical products make up roughly 10% of the typical construction project, there will be some serious cash flowing into the electrical market for those electrical distributors, manufacturers, independent manufacturers’ reps, contractors and design firms that get involved with these projects.