Hydroelectric projects received about 24 percent of the $2.2 billion in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds allocated recently to renewable energy developers, according to the National Hydropower Association.
“By providing more than $531 million in funding for hydropower projects, the federal government is supporting efforts that will create jobs and add to the country’s domestic, affordable electricity generation resources,” said Jeffrey Leahey, NHA’s senior manager of government and legal affairs.
The U.S. Treasury Department allocated the bonds to more than 800 companies and cooperatives nationwide. The funding was authorized by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
In the past, the federal bonds program often overlooked promising hydroelectric projects, Leahey said. The latest allocation was based on a pro rata basis, a change the NHA had been pushing for.
“NHA salutes the legislators and policymakers who have improved the CREBs program, so that it recognizes the extraordinary energy, environmental, and economic benefits that can come from hydropower,” Leahey said.
The CREBs program is designed to help renewable energy developers access lower-cost credit for renewable energy projects. The bonds are tax-credit bonds, which means the company does not pay full interest. Instead, the federal government provides the company a tax credit covering 70 percent of the interest earned.