Clean Energy Program worth $90M announced in Calif.

The California Energy Commission announced the $90 million Clean Energy Manufacturing Program intended to strengthen California's leadership in clean energy by providing financing to manufacturers.

"California's manufacturing base has eroded 32 percent since 2001, a loss of over 600,000 manufacturing jobs," said California Energy Commission Chairman Karen Douglas. "In these challenging fiscal times, clean energy products development has become an economic bright spot. Unfortunately, many energy businesses find it difficult to raise the capital required to produce new energy efficiency and renewable energy products and technologies, to create alternative and renewable fuels, and to build new vehicles and vehicle components. Now, with the help of state and federal stimulus funds, we will be able to offer funding to support the return of manufacturing jobs to our state."

The Clean Energy Manufacturing Program will combine two programs that offer California-based clean energy businesses a combination of financing options including grants, loans, loan guarantees, tax-exempt financing, production incentives, sales tax incentives and credit enhancements.

The Clean Energy Business Financing Program uses the remaining American Recovery and Reinvestment Act State Energy Program funds to provide $30.6 million in low-interest loans to private businesses that improve or expand their energy efficiency or renewable energy manufacturing facilities in California. The Energy Commission received $226 million under the State Energy Program to implement public and private sector programs.

The second program, the Energy Commission's existing Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, offers $59.5 million in state funding to companies developing alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies.

The Clean Energy Manufacturing Program leverages public and private funds and provides opportunities to help business and industry to embrace new technologies and innovative products that build a clean energy economy. These innovative projects will rebuild our electricity grid, sustain jobs, retrofit homes and businesses and eventually produce the future of the State's transportation fuels and the vehicles powered by them.

The Clean Energy Business Financing Program is in the final stages of development and the Energy Commission expects low-interest loans to be available by late spring. The Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program provides funding in four areas for 2010: Biomethane Production ($21.5 million), Ethanol Production Incentives ($6 million), Vehicle and Component Manufacturing ($19 million), and Advanced Biofuel Production ($13 million). The Biomethane Production solicitation notice of award will be announced in March. The remaining three solicitations will be released in April/May 2010.

Douglas noted that the loss of manufacturing jobs since 2001 has cost California nearly $75 million a year in lost wages and $5 billion annually in lost tax revenue - dollars that once helped pay for schools infrastructure and other services.

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