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|Tuesday, March 22, 2011|
By Corey Paul
Just $10 million. That's all the CEO of ClearEdge Power told Senator Jeff Merkley that he needs to transform the Hillsboro fuel cell manufacturer into a billion dollar company. The CEO, Russ Ford, guided Merkley through the ClearEdge plant on Tuesday, showing him a wall ready to be torn down and an assembly line ready to be extended. The renovations could boost capacity from 1,500 units a year to more than 10,000.
Before Merkley, all of the Congressional representatives in the state had paid a visit and praised ClearEdge's economic and environmental promise. During his turn, Merkley said the company represented a niche market and a technology that's ahead of the world curve, though he was unfamiliar with their financial structure.
Ford says the devices nearly halve monthly utility bills and through those savings, pay themselves off in four or five years, faster than solar or wind energy. The company expects to earn $60 million in sales in 2011.
But upfront, fuel cells cost a lot: up to $56,000. Which is why ClearEdge wants the government to offer tax credits to encourage people to buy enough fuel cells to lower their price through an economy of scale.
Korea has bought the most ClearEdge units, signing a $40 million, three-year deal last June to distribute 800 fuel cells to multi-tenant housing. That deal stemmed from a Korean mandate that 10 percent of the energy needs for new buildings must come from renewable sources as it tries to become less dependent on nuclear power. Domestically, California is the biggest consumer, with higher energy rates and a $12,500 state tax incentive — on top of the federal one. Oregon has no such incentive, but ClearEdge does benefit from the business energy tax credit (BETC).
Just a few weeks ago, the Oregonian published a series that questioned whether the state's green energy incentives — like the BETC — translate into jobs for the state and attract companies that wouldn't otherwise come. An IPO from ClearEdge would likely be seen as some validation for the state's expensive effort to brand itself as a green-energy state, an effort Merkley supports.
The senator adds that green energy is valuable for three reasons:
- It protects national security by lessening dependence on foreign oil
- It creates jobs
- It helps our environment with lower carbon emissions.
"So incentives have to be evaluated with those three important things in mind," Merkley said. "And now we're to the point where we can evaluate those incentives."
Corey Paul is an associate writer for Oregon Business.
Thursday, April 09, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR
An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY CHRIS HIGGINS
As digital security breaches skyrocket, a cybersleuth everyman takes center stage.
Monday, April 13, 2015
BY GRANT KIRBY | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
The mega-shift from technology-driven to data-driven organizations raises questions about Oregon’s workforce preparedness.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
On April 1 I attended a forum at the University of Portland on the sharing economy. The event featured panelists from Lyft and Airbnb, as well as Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. Asked about the impact of tech-driven sharing economy services. Hales said the new business models are reshaping the landscape. “But,” he added, “I don’t pretend to understand how a lot of this [technology] works.”
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