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Website, Reports Stress Importance of States' Fuel Cell Incentives

June 07, 2004

While the federal government supports fuel cell research, nearly every state across the country has taken a more active role in advancing the development and commercialization of fuel cell and renewable energy technologies, according to two recent reports from the North Carolina State University Solar Center. A web-based directory of more than 875 state and federal initiatives managed by the center helps prove that point.

In order to expand the market for stationary fuel cells in the U.S., the center feels, it is important for industry leaders, policymakers and researchers to be aware of the existence, scope and depth of state-level incentives and polices. The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) was established in 1995 through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to track financial incentives, programs and policies to promote the use of renewable energy.

Financial Incentives for Stationary Fuel Cells: A Report on State-Level Policy in the United States provides a summary overview of the state-level incentives and policies that are listed on DSIRE. Such incentives include: industry recruitment incentives; corporate tax credits; net metering; grant, rebate and loan programs; production incentives; personal tax credits; tax exemptions; and other state-level policies. Each category provides a listing of states that offer corresponding incentives as well as an outline of how the incentive or program works.

To update a March 2003 report from the Solar Center, which catalogues states’ efforts regarding fuel cell technology, Developments in State-Level Financial Incentives for Stationary Fuel Cells in the United States, 2003-2004 highlights newly formed state programs and incentives in 2003 and early 2004. Summaries are given for 10 new incentives for which fuel cells are eligible. States with added programs or incentives include Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. Three of the states' programs also expired during this time period and two states restructured their existing programs. Since the previous report, the author notes, there has been a net increase in fuel cell incentives created by the states, which is encouraging considering the unstable condition of most state budgets.

The creation of the Public Fuel Cell Alliance (PFCA) also was noted as a significant effort in 2003. The coalition of state, federal and international stationary fuel cell programs were joined to collaborate on the acceleration of widespread adoption and commercialization of fuel cell technologies, the report indicates.

Among recommendations from the author is a call for PFCA to conduct research to determine and analyze the success of state-level programs promoting stationary fuel cells and renewable energy resources. The author also suggests that agencies conducting future research on state-level policy regarding fuel cells should consider partnering with PFCA for maximum results.

Both reports are available from the North Carolina State University Solar Center at: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu/news/news_story.cfm?ID=155