WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. federal government announced on Thursday that it had 150 million U.S. dollars in tax credit for clean energy manufacturers, which aimed to strengthen its global competitiveness.
The available funds are not a fresh grant from the U.S. Congress but the left-over of the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program that started in 2009, said the Department of Energy and the Treasury in a statement.
The program was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support investment in U.S. domestic, clean energy and energy efficiency manufacturing facilities through a 30 percent investment tax credit. The initial round provided 2.3 billion dollars in credits to 183 projects across the country. And the 150 million dollars announced Thursday went tapped by previous awardees.
Over the past four years, the U.S. has more than doubled clean, renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources, and has strengthened its position as a global leader in the clean energy race.
U.S. President Barack Obama had described clean energy as a top priority of his second term and an important part of his all-of- the-above energy strategy. But it is still unclear whether he can obtain more funding from the Congress as spending cuts talks are expected to go on throughout the year.
Besides government subsidies, the U.S. also leveraged trade protectionism practices to support its domestic industry. It has levied steep duties on solar products from China.
The U.S. also filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday to challenge India's solar products imports restriction. India hit back saying it doesn't discriminate against foreign equipment makers.
The U.S. action highlighted the importance of clean energy development. Many governments are encouraging their own suppliers to gain advantage against others.