Nov. 18, 2021
Small businesses investing in certain energy technologies are eligible for a new federal grant program under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act ( H.R. 3684) (IIJA), signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021, establishes the Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program for small businesses investing in certain advanced energy technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Advanced Energy Grant Program). This new grant program, described in Section 40209 of the IIJA, is modeled after the advanced energy manufacturing tax credit (IRC Section 48C), which was first authorized in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA) and could be extended under the Build Back Better Act ( H.R. 5376) pending before Congress.
Beginning in 2022, the Advanced Energy Grant Program will allocate $750 million over five years on a competitive basis to small businesses that undertake eligible projects in communities that have been impacted by closures of coal mines or coal-fired power plants.
To be eligible for this grant program, manufacturers must meet the following requirements:
- Have gross annual sales of $100 million or less
- Have less than 500 employees at the plant/site where the eligible project is being implemented
- Have energy bills of at least $100,000 and no more than $2.5 million
- Undertake a Qualifying Advanced Energy Project
Qualifying Advanced Energy Projects are defined as projects that: (1) re-equip, expand or establish a manufacturing or recycling facility to produce certain types of advanced energy property; or (2) re-equip a facility with equipment designed to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To be eligible under the first type of qualifying project, the manufacturer must produce “advanced energy property,” which includes:
- Property that produces solar, wind, hydrothermal, geothermal or hydroelectric energy
- Fuel cells and microturbines
- Energy storage systems and components
- Electric grid modernization equipment and components
- Carbon capture and sequestration property
- Equipment designed to process any low-carbon and low-emissions fuels or chemicals
- Property to produce energy conservation technologies
- Electric or fuel cell vehicles and equipment and related components, materials, and technologies
- Hybrid vehicles with a gross vehicle rating of more than 14,000 pounds and related technology or components
The qualifications for the second type of eligible project are more broadly targeted at manufacturing and industrial facilities that are implementing energy efficiency and waste reduction technologies or any other technology that substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Both types of eligible projects must be in a census tract in which a coal mine closed after January 1, 2000, or a coal-fired power plant closed after January 1, 2010. Entities with a project in an adjacent census tract may also apply under this program.
Application and selection criteria
Eligible entities must timely submit an application to the Department of Energy. Grant awards will be made on a competitive basis. Preference will be given to projects based on the following criteria:
- Greenhouse gas reductions related to the project
- Job creation
- Potential for technological innovation and commercial deployment
- Cost of energy creation or storage
- Project time, with a preference for a shorter timeline
- Whether the eligible entity is minority-owned
Selected projects must be completed within three years of the award date.
The Department of Energy is expected to release guidance and application materials for this program within 180 days of the IIJA’s enactment (i.e., approximately May 16, 2022).
The Advanced Energy Grant Program creates a unique opportunity for small businesses that are creating innovative, emissions-reduction technologies in coal communities that have felt the greatest economic impacts of plant closures. This program is expected to apply broadly, from electric vehicle component manufacturers to industrial facilities that are installing state-of-the-art emissions-reduction technologies.
Find out if your company meets eligibility requirements by reaching out to an Ashmore Consulting advisor today.
The information contained herein is general in nature and is not intended, and should not be construed, as legal, accounting or tax advice or opinion provided by Ashmore Consulting LLC to the reader. The reader also is cautioned that this material may not be applicable to, or suitable for, the reader’s specific circumstances or needs, and may require consideration of non-tax and other tax factors if any action is to be contemplated. The reader should contact Ashmore Consulting LLC or other tax professional prior to taking any action based upon this information. Ashmore Consulting LLC assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.