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.
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.
Source: Christian Science Monitor
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Susan Kraemer writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate and GreenProphet and has been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design she 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 @dotcommodity on twitter.