European utilities dominate US renewable energy stimulus grants

23 September 2009 - European companies led by Germany's E.ON and Iberdrola of Spain won more than half the $550m in grants for renewable electricity projects that the US announced on Tuesday.

According to Bloomberg, E.ON got $121.9m to develop the Pyron Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas. Iberdrola, the world's largest owner of wind parks, received $85m for the Farmers City Wind Farm in Tarkio, Missouri.

Enel, Italy's largest electricity producer, was awarded $61.5m for two geothermal energy projects in Fallon, Nevada.

The money is part of President Barack Obama's stimulus plan. The recovery act provides about $3bn to be given in lieu of tax credits to support about 5000 biomass, solar, wind and other types of renewable energy production facilities.

In total, Iberdrola will receive $295m of $500m in economic recovery funds for wind projects in four states.

Robert Gramlich, vice president of public policy at the American Wind Energy Association, said that the European firms filled out the forms to get the grants early in the process, and the announcements so far are not a reflection of European dominance over the U.S. wind industry.

"It doesn't mean anything that some projects were in or out," Gramlich said. "All of the projects are being built in the US and they are putting Americans to work."

He said US companies such as Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings, Nextera Energy Resources LLC, the renewable unit of Juno, Florida-based FPL Group. and AES are likely to seek and receive grants in future awards.

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