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Published on February 24th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer

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USA to Get 16 Gigawatts of Renewable Energy from the Recovery Act



By the end of last year, nine months after passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $263 billion had been disbursed of the $787 billion available.

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While Fox News disagrees, independent economists do agree that 1.5 million to 2 million people are now working as a result of stimulus funds disbursed to businesses and city, county and state governments so far, but the bulk of ARRA funds will be disbursed in 2010. What is less discussed, but important, is: just how much green energy are we getting for our green? When all spent – we will have added 16,000 MW (that’s 16 Gigawatts!) of clean energy  to the grid.

To grow the clean energy economy – $90 billion was set aside, with one third being disbursed by the end of 2009. Of that total, $60 billion will be in direct spending and $29.5 billion ii tax incentives to build renewable energy. How that is allocated is in this graph:

The previously near-moribund Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy had to ramp up its approval process to deal with this sudden funding; with enough new hires to speed up the technology review process. The remaining $60 billion for clean energy and efficiency should be out in the economy by this September.

What will we get for this historic investment in clean, safe, permanent renewable energy?

Once spent, the funds set aside for renewable energy will have bought us 16,000 megawatts of wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy capacity propelled by the stimulus.

That is enough to permanently take 4 to 5 million homes 100% off the dirty grid. Not just for a week. Forever. This use of the stimulus funding is a good investment for America. Not only will it make energy cleaner, but in the long run, it makes energy cheaper (and healthier) for all of us.

Image: Allianz

Source: Christian Science Monitor

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Dr. Bruce Atwood

    The take-away from this article can not be correct. We have not produced 16 GW of new generating capacity with an investment of 26 G$. That implies that solar is about 1/2 the cost of coal fired plants, which is silmply put, wrong. Perhaps it is the case that we have made and additional 16 GW peak capacity, on the sunniest and windiest day, but that would translate into about 1/4 that much on average. Further, I also doubt that the 26 G$ is in fact the total cost of the generating capacity but, perhaps, just seed money.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

      The government is not paying the full cost of new infrastructure in clean energy. Private investors are encouraged by this level of government support (in the form of tax credits, cash in lieu of tax credits or loan guarantees) to invest additional money to complete the investment.

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