Green Energy Details of Economic Stimulus Package

Now that Congress has approved the economic stimulus package (aka the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act) with Obama expected to sign it into law on Tuesday I thought I’d give a run down of what’s in this bill related to green energy initiatives. 

Overall, nearly 10% of the entire bill provides funding and tax credits for green energy related projects.

* $11 billion in spending and loan guarantees to build a “smart grid” to move renewable electricity supplies and build 3,000 miles (4,800 km) of transmission lines.

The big barrier to an alternative energy future is getting the renewable energy power through the grid and/or stored in batteries, so it’s no surprise that it receives most of the funding.  However, $11 billion isn’t going to be nearly enough says Jon Wellinghoff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: “(It’s) seed money…but it really isn’t enough money to make huge advances in the overall backbone grid that we’re talking about to integrate substantial amounts of wind.”  He estimated the total cost could be as high as $200 billion and that between 200 – 300 GW of drafted wind projects remain stranded because their isn’t enough transmission capacity to link them to demand.

Smart Grid Stocks (in no particular order):  EnerNOC (ENOC), Itron (ITRI), Comverge (COMV), Echelon (ELON), Digi International (DGII)

Interesting Startup: GreenBox

* $8.4 billion in public transit, which will save 10.3 million barrels of oil and create or preserve 252,000 jobs, with $1.5 billion set aside for expanding capacity and upgrades to existing transit systems

* $8 billion for new high speed rail projects.

* $6 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy projects and electricity transmission projects.

* $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program for low income families

* $4.5 billion in green building funding to improve energy efficiency of the federal government (estimate of $2 billion/year in energy savings)

* $3.4 billion in funding for “fossil energy” research (ie clean coal)

* $3.1 billion to help citizens and businesses save energy;

* $3.2 billion in block grants for local government energy efficiency and renewable energy projects

* $2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research

* $2 billion for grants to advanced batter manufacturers

* $300 million for federal fuel efficient vehicles

* Extends for three years through 2012 the tax credit for producing electricity from wind and through 2013 for electricity generated by biomass, geothermal, hydropower, landfill gas and ocean currents.

Wind farm developers who previously receiving a production tax credit (which was set to expire this year, now extended to 2012) paid out slowly over time can now choose to take a 30% tax credit the year in which they open for business

* Grants of up to 30 percent of the cost of building a renewable energy facility for the production of solar cells, wind turbine blades and advanced batteries

* $500 million for green jobs over 2 years which will train 70,000 workers in renewable energy and energy efficiency jobs

* $300 million for state matching grants for rebates to consumers buying higher-tier energy-efficient appliances

* service station owners credit for 50 percent of cost (capped at $50,000) for installing pumps that dispense alternative fuels, such as gasoline made of 85 percent ethanol.

* tax credit of at least $2,500 for purchases of plug-in hybrid vehicles with a max credit of $7500

If you have some more details of what’s in the package (or a revision) related to green energy initiatives please put them in the comments section below.

Environment America

4 thoughts on “Green Energy Details of Economic Stimulus Package”

  1. Any insights as to how the money will be distributed by local government? This seems like an enormous bureaucratic task.

  2. I don’t but I’d imagine most states would have this information up on the state government sites.. at least I would hope so. I just hope there is lots of transparency about where exactly this money is going and how it’s spent. Lots of room for corruption and waste. Here’s an interesting map that shows what each state is getting:

  3. We like to promote the installation of geothermal cooling and heating in Texas because it can deliver cost efficient energy reduction for the largest part of any business or home energy bill, which is cooling here in TX. What is the latest on Geo incentives.

  4. hey Carmen, the CEO of Raser Technologies had this to say recently:

    — Grants for up to 30% of the development cost of renewable energy power plants

    — Extension of the production tax credits for geothermal power plants for an additional 3 years, now through 2013

    “We applaud the vision of our leaders in supporting the development of our vast renewable resources,” said Brent M. Cook, CEO of Raser Technologies. “Many of the provisions in this bill open up new sources of funding for our geothermal projects and energy infrastructure. Not only will new funding channels open, but the geothermal industry may also be able to utilize new structures and funding instruments.

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