Intel grabs away US$8.5 billion CHIPS Act money and a US$11 billion loan

Judy Lin, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

The Biden-Harris Administration announced that the US Department of Commerce and Intel Corporation have reached a non-binding preliminary Memorandum of Terms (PMT) to provide up to US$8.5 billion in direct funding under the CHIPS and Science Act to strengthen the US supply chain and re-establish American leadership in semiconductor manufacturing.

In addition to the proposed direct funding of up to $8.5 billion, the CHIPS Program Office would make up to $11 billion in loans – which is part of the $75 billion in loan authority provided by the CHIPS and Science Act – available to Intel under the PMT. The company has indicated that it plans to claim the Department of the Treasury's Investment Tax Credit, which is expected to be up to 25% of qualified capital expenditures.

The press release pointed out that over the next five years, Intel expects its investments in the United States to exceed $100 billion, as it expands capacity and capabilities in Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oregon, estimated to directly create over 10,000 manufacturing jobs and nearly 20,000 construction jobs.

The PMT also includes approximately $50 million in dedicated funding to develop the company's semiconductor and construction workforce. This builds upon Intel's workforce investments, totaling over $250 million in the past five years, and its strong partnerships with local communities, community colleges, universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and apprenticeship programs.

This proposed investment would deliver on the Administration's commitment to developing a robust domestic semiconductor ecosystem by reinforcing Intel's decades-long history in the United States. The investment will also enable the company to support industry-leading, US-based fabless semiconductor companies with US-based leading-edge production. The proposed CHIPS funding would strengthen all major technical processes for leading-edge chips to occur in the United States, including proposed investments in:

Chandler, Arizona: Construction of two new leading-edge logic fabs and modernization of one existing fab, significantly increasing leading-edge logic capacity, including high volume domestic production of Intel 18A – the company's most advanced chip design that enables higher performing, leading-edge chips through RibbonFET gate-all-around transistors and PowerVia backside power delivery. The company will produce the first Intel 18A product, called Clearwater Forest, at its Arizona facilities. In 2022, Intel partnered with Maricopa County Community Colleges to launch a first-of-its-kind program with Intel employee instructors to provide students an entry point into semiconductor technician careers. This investment will support 3,000 manufacturing jobs and 6,000 construction jobs.

Rio Rancho, New Mexico: Modernization of two fabs into advanced packaging facilities to close an important gap in the domestic semiconductor supply chain. When in full production, this facility will be the largest advanced packaging facility in the United States. To support engineering students in New Mexico, Intel established endowment scholarships at five colleges and universities and has supported STEAM education through investments, annual grants, and hands-on learning kits benefitting students living on indigenous lands. This investment will support 700 manufacturing jobs and 1,000 construction jobs.

New Albany, Ohio: Creation of a new regional chipmaking ecosystem, anchored by constructing two leading-edge logic fabs, expanded leading-edge foundry capacity, and supply chain diversification. Intel has devoted significant resources to developing a pipeline of skilled workers in Ohio, funding over 80 higher education institutions across the state, including community colleges, HBCUs, and universities. As part of this investment in Ohio, Intel's design and build partner Bechtel signed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the North America Building Trades Unions for building the two facilities. This investment will support 3,000 manufacturing jobs and 7,000 construction jobs.

Hillsboro, Oregon: Investment in the premier hub of leading-edge development in the United States through the expansion and modernization of technology development facilities that will utilize the world's first High NA EUV lithography equipment. The Gordon Moore Park campus at Ronler Acres in Hillsboro, Oregon is the heart of Intel's innovation hub for leading-edge semiconductor research and technology development in the United States. These investments will further the company's technological leadership and enable the continued development of innovations. In 2022, Intel spent over $4 billion with more than 500 suppliers across Oregon. This investment will support several thousand manufacturing and construction jobs.

Intel currently uses 100% renewable electricity in US fabs and has achieved net-positive water status in its US operations through efficient water management, water reuse, and, in collaboration with local communities, investment in water restoration in local watersheds. In addition, as part of its broader workforce investment program, Intel has committed to providing affordable, accessible, high-quality child care for its workers across its facilities. For US employees, Intel will be increasing the reimbursement amount and duration for its backup care program, additional access to discounted primary childcare providers, and access to a vetted network of childcare providers. In addition, Intel will pilot a primary childcare reimbursement program for non-exempt employees.